Harnessing the power of products has the potential to be an extremely lucrative and fulfilling career.
That’s why degrees in Product Management have become more popular over the years, and also why the salary of a product manager commands just under $100,000 a year on average. Additionally, aspirational product managers — from Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp, to Josh Elman, former Senior Product Manager for LinkedIn — have put the job in the spotlight, making it incredibly popular.
In this guide, we will lay out the different responsibilities that a product manager has, giving you the essential overview of this fascinating role. Read on below to learn more.
Managing Every Stage of a Product Lifecycle
Before understanding what a product manager does, it’s important to fully understand the product lifecycle. This is its path from mere idea to being out in the market, something you would become fully acquainted with after studying a Product Management Program. These steps include:
- Introduction: marketing and advertisement to get people aware of the product and to attract investment
- Growth: characterized by increasing demand, production and investment
- Maturity: overhead costs decline as profits go up
- Decline: the market becomes oversaturated and the company cannot compete.
Decline is the nightmare of any major company. It is up to the project manager to take whatever steps are necessary to keep their product in the spotlight, introducing new iterations of the product or new models for customer interaction every now and then in order to keep people interested. This can be seen best with Apple and its introduction of a new generation of iPhone every year or so. This is something that should be thought about right at the beginning of the lifecycle process, including:
Generally speaking, there are four parts to the Product Planning Process. Read them below.
1. Developing the Concept
This is about being absolutely clear what the product does and how it functions. A product manager might not be directly involved in creating the technology, but they will help to guide it to the market.
2. Competitor Research
Does the product already exist? How does it stand out from the crowd? Competitor research is essential to figure these problems out.
3. Market Research
Is there customer demand for the product? If you can identify the spot in the market, then you can entice investors to bring the product to launch!
4. Product Introduction
When the product is ready, it’s time to launch. Usually it can be launched in just a few small places, in order to gauge market interest and track sales. Afterwards, for the wider launch, the product can be promoted through advertisement across media platforms.
After the product is out, a product manager has to make sure it remains in the public eye and keeps investors interested. The marketing process answers key questions, including:
- Customer Needs
- Data Analysis
- Market Testing
- Product Validation
Then armed with the correct knowledge, a product manager will devise a marketing strategy to help reach the right customer. This will stop the product, and brand, from entering the decline phase of the product life cycle, such as the famous demise of Woolworths in the USA and the UK.