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Marketing Career Focus: Product Management

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Marketing Career Focus: Product Management

Each of these weekly career posts will cover a specific MS Marketing track or specialty track. Indeed.com is a good job search site because at a glance it shows you average salaries, years of experience for many mid-level positions, quantity of available jobs, as well as locations. I looked at 10 to 15 job descriptions from major companies and the skills most frequently mentioned at such employers as JCPenney, Verizon, Lennox, AT& T, Citibank, and others. However, there is NO substitute for your doing your own searches and analyses.

What does a product manager do? In his book, Inspired, Marty Cagan, software engineer and founder of the Silicon Valley Product Group, defines the job of the product manager as ‘to discover a product that is valuable, usable and feasible.’

Martin Eriksson, a 20-year product manager veteran in the U.S. and Europe, describes product management as “the intersection between business, technology and user experience (hint – only a product manager would define himself in a Venn diagram). “ He illustrates this relationship with the following graphic:

Diagram © 2011 Martin Eriksson


Business – Product Management is a business function, focused on getting greater business value from a product. Product Managers should therefore focus on optimizing a product to achieve business goals while also increasing ROI.

Technology – This doesn’t mean a product manager must know coding. However, he or she must understand “the technology stack” and the level of effort involved--this is crucial to making the right decisions. And it’s vital in an Agile world where product managers spend more time dealing with the development team than with anyone else.

User Experience – Inside the business, the product manager is the voice of the user. He or she must be “passionate about the user experience” (Martin Eriksson)


Learn more about product management

Here are some articles recommended by Martin Eriksson to help you understand the role, be an effective product manager, and offer products that people love:

How to Make Products People Love by Marty Cagan

Focus on the Problem, Not the Solution by Martin Eriksson

Enter the Matrix--Lean Prioritisation by Andy Wicks

Why Your Road Map Should be Flexible by Janna Bastow

20 Years of Product Management in 25 Minutes by Dave Wascha

MS Marketing –Product Management specialty track. This degree plan is effective Fall 2018. (If you started with another degree plan, you can follow that previous plan or this new one.)

Core Courses (15 credit hours):

MKT 6301 Marketing Management

MKT 6309 Marketing Research

MKT 6310 Consumer Behavior

MKT 6339 Capstone Decision Making or MKT 6350 Competitive Marketing Strategy

OPRE 6301 Statistics and Data Analysis

Product Management Core Courses (9 semester hours):

MKT 6329 New Product Development

MKT 6330 Brand Management

MKT 6336 Pricing Analytics

Product Management Elective Courses (any four of the following classes-12 credit hours):

ENTP 6360 Startup Launch I

ENTP 6370 Innovation and Entrepreneurship

ENTP 6375 Technology and New Product Development 

ENTP 6388 Managing Innovation Within the Corporation 

ENTP 6390 Business Model Innovation

IMS 6310 International Marketing 

MIS 6360 Agile Project Management

MKT 6331 Building and Managing Professional Sales Organizations 

MKT 6332 Advertising and Promotional Strategy

MKT 6334 Digital Sales Strategy

MKT 6340 Marketing Projects Lab

MKT 6341 Marketing Campaign Management Lab

MKT 6342 Marketing Customer Insights Development

MKT 6350 Competitive Marketing Strategy 

MKT 6380 Market Entry Strategies

MKT 6V98 Marketing Internship and MKT 6V99 Special Topics in Marketing

OPRE 6362 Project Management in Engineering and Operations

Average years of experience & salary average

For product manager with three years of experience, salaries in DFW range from $60,000 to $80,000. (Note: job candidates requiring visa sponsorship tend to receive less money. There are not many sponsorship opportunities in product management for international students)

What is the size of the job market? 

“Product Manager” returns more than 150,000 jobs on Glassdoor.com. Broadening the search to “Product Management” yields fewer jobs—44,365—but these tend to be better-paying and at higher levels, such as “Director of Product Management” and “VP of Product Management.”

Typical product manager job description (from a JCPenney Corporation posting for a “Product Manager”)

The Product Manager is responsible driving customer-facing and back-end projects for designated product line on JCPenney.com. The Product Manager will also support in-depth business reviews, present to senior management, and support initiatives with the site merchandising, marketing, and technology teams. The product manager must be able to work at the strategic level to drive ideas for growth, and at the tactical level analyzing data and solving problems. The Product Manager will monitor and drive the business on all aspects of demand, customer experience, and conversion.

Responsibilities and Key Accountabilities include:

-Consult with various business units to determine needs and identify new opportunities to improve the customer shopping experience and drive competitive advantage

-Continually monitor competition and industry developments to deliver site features that provide JCPenney customers with an exceptional shopping experience

-Drive functional capability roadmap for the desktop shopping experience

-Product functionality prioritization and backlog grooming

-Define Epics and User Stories for delivery and test case traceability

- Conduct requirement gathering sessions, and effectively elicit and prioritize requirements Ensure business needs are captured in a clear, concise, and unambiguous way, ensuring both functional and non-functional requirements are documented

-Facilitate change management activities by performing impact analysis of changes and supporting launch activities, including documentation and training

-Responsible for operational readiness tasks and performs product demos to stakeholders

-Work closely with developers and end users to ensure technical compatibility and business process uniformity of current and future state systems

-Identify and assess value of technology licensing with new vendors to deliver on innovative customer experience features

Core Competencies & Accomplishments: 5-10+ years’ experience in digital product management

-Retail ecommerce experience required.

-Experience in managing product capability for ecommerce and omni-channel initiatives

-Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects across groups, including UX design, development, and QA Proven track record of taking ownership and driving results

-Knowledge of ecommerce business KPIs and technologies

-Experience in driving data-driven personalization in digital channels or experience in off-the-shelf personalization & recommendation engine is a PLUS

-Strong experience in requirements gathering, writing functional specifications, and user stories in an enterprise environment

- Experience with Agile Development Methodologies such as SCRUM

Product manager job description (from NBC-Universal)

Product Manager-Growth, NBC-Universal

• Lead a cross-functional team in discovery, design, implementation, and measurement of key features in acquisition and new user experience (e.g. organic referral, home page/category pages, registration, global nav).

• Partner with Marketing to deeply understand the opportunity in new verticals; integrate them into product strategy and ensure launch prioritization is well-understood.

• Continuously monitor, A/B test, analyze and report on key metrics for growth initiatives.

• Initiate usability studies, research, and market analysis to drive product insights into execution

Qualifications/Requirements

● Have 3+ years’ experience in growth marketing or product management at a consumer-focused technology company

● Are the one people come to for help with product analytics/tools (Google Analytics, Excel, SQL, R, STATA, Python)

● Have experience launching new products from 0→1 within established companies

Product manager job description (from Citibank)

Citi.com Product Manager

Key Responsibilities

• Partner with marketing to identify, consolidate, and integrate of customer and business needs, market trends, and customer insights to prioritize needs and evolve product roadmap.

• Interface with Legal, Compliance, Risk, and ensure strategies and execution for the set of features under their control are delivered flawlessly and meet key compliance, risk, and control need to protect both our business and customer interests.

• Partner with Market Research to define and implement customer research/customer co-creation, prototyping and testing to gain insights and identify customer needs and solutions.

• Drive an agile Scrum team to implement the build of a best in class digital experiences.

• Be a Web SME, providing actionable insights and knowledge sharing for how the Web channel is evolving. Makes recommendations on where the Web channel is going.

• Partner with Digital & Consumer Insights team to track usage and garner insights on the home page and other key pre-login pages like the account open front door.

Qualifications

Customer Centric and an engineering mindset. Significant experience using customer centric research and customer analytic tools (i.e., Voice of the Customer, NPS, Opinion Lab, Usability labs, Market Research) to identify customer mindsets and solutions.

Solid product management background, with the ability to concurrently manage and assess broad strategies and execute against multiple priorities in rapidly evolving, often ambiguous and complex situations.

Strong technical acumen, Angular, HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, etc. knowledge preferred.

Strong team player, with excellent interpersonal skills and ability to influence, collaborate and communicate across all levels and across lines of business, internal resources and external vendors.

2 years’ experience in Web product management.

2 years’ experience in digital product strategy role, digital product development, or technology Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree preferred.

Source: Indeed.com


Source: Glassdoor.com

Top skills mentioned by at least 10 major companies with this job title posting & Courses of special relevance – see course syllabi for exact line up of skills as not all covered in each instance

Bring new products to market. identify new opportunities, forecasting

MKT 6329 New Product Development

ENTP 6375 Technology and New Product Development

MKT 6342 Marketing Customer Insights Development

ENTP 6390 Business Model Innovation

Top skills mentioned by at least 10 major companies with this job title posting & Courses of special relevance 

Strong project management skills, able to use Agile and SCRUM (mainly in technology & software companies)

MIS 6360 Agile Project Management

OPRE 6362 Project Management in Engineering & Operations

Top skills mentioned by at least 10 major companies with this job title posting & Courses of special relevance 

Manage pricing, profitability, and margins

MKT 6336 Pricing Analytics

Top skills mentioned by at least 10 major companies with this job title posting & Courses of special relevance 

Work with sales teams to build profitability

MKT 6331 Building and Managing Professional Sales Organizations

Top skills mentioned by at least 10 major companies with this job title posting & Courses of special relevance 

Managing the brand & positioning

MKT 6330 Brand Management

Top skills mentioned by at least 10 major companies with this job title posting & Courses of special relevance 

Manage campaigns, maintain dashboards, interpret results

MKT 6341 Campaign Management Lab

Product Management Associations & Meet-Ups

Mind the Product

Product Camp Dallas

ProductTank Dallas

Texas Agilistas! (Agile project management)

I recommend you look at the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) website. The organization has a student membership and an online magazine that is free to members.

Certifications

New Product Development Professional (NPDP) Certification

The Association of International Product Marketing & Management

Blogs

Mind the Product

Roman Pichler

Product Talk

The Clever PM

SVPG-Silicon Valley Product Group

Recommended popular books on product management and Agile software

The Product Manager’s Desk Reference (2nd edition), by Steven Haines (Chicago: McGraw-Hill, 2014)

Portfolio Management for New Products (2nd edition), by Robert G. Cooper, Scott Edgett, Elko J. Kleinschmidt (New York: Basic Books, 2002)

The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing: A Guide to Growing More Profitably (6 th edition), by Thomas T. Nagle, Georg Müller (New York: Routledge, 2017)

A Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development, by Stephen Haunts (London: Stephen Haunts Ltd., 2017)

Managing Brand Equity: Capitalizing on the Value of a Brand Name, by David A. Aaker (New York: Free Press, 1991)

Alex Edsel

Alexander Edsel is the director of the MS in Marketing program and faculty member who teaches courses in digital marketing. Topics include e-commerce platforms, marketing automation, mobile apps, search-engine optimization, pay-per-click and web analytics Read more articles

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