In the world of digital products, the role of a product manager is crucial to ensuring the success of a product. Product managers are responsible for guiding the product from ideation to launch and beyond, and they play a pivotal role in coordinating and communicating with cross-functional teams, stakeholders, and customers.
Every role is tailored to the needs of the product managed, but during my career, I have experienced two types of products: User applications behind authentication, which are the actual thing customers are using and paying for, and marketing/storefronts websites which are public, and made to attract new customers.
In the article, I am going to discuss the ins and outs of working as a product manager on these two categories of digital products.
The Generic Role of a Product Manager
A product manager is responsible for identifying customer needs, defining the product vision, and creating a roadmap for the product’s development. They collaborate with cross-functional teams, including designers, engineers, marketers, and salespeople, to bring the product to market and ensure its success.
Product managers are also responsible for gathering and analyzing data on customer behavior and feedback to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions. They need to have a deep understanding of the market, the competition, and the user experience to create a product that meets customer needs and solves their problems.
Common Points Between Marketing Website and Application Product Managers
While product managers in charge of a marketing website and those in charge of an application have different focuses, they share some common points:
Both product managers need to be user-centric and focused on creating products that meet the needs of their target audience. They need to understand their users’ pain points, motivations, and behaviors to create features that address their needs.
Both product managers need to work closely with cross-functional teams, including designers, engineers, marketers, and salespeople, to bring the product to market. They need to communicate effectively and collaborate to ensure that the product is meeting the needs of the users and the business.
Both product managers need to have a deep understanding of data analytics to measure the success of the product and identify areas for improvement. They need to be able to gather and analyze data on user behavior and feedback to optimize the product for conversions and ensure that it is meeting its goals.
One important skill for a all product managers is the ability to work closely with cross-functional teams, including designers, developers, and QA engineers, to ensure that the product is built to meet user needs and requirements. This involves developing clear product specifications, defining user stories and acceptance criteria, and conducting regular testing and feedback sessions to ensure that the product is meeting user needs.
Differences Between Marketing Website and Application Product Managers
While product managers in charge of a marketing website and those in charge of an application share some common points, there are also some key differences between the two roles:
The primary focus of a product manager working on a marketing website is to drive signups and paid subscription billings. They need to be aware of the latest marketing trends and techniques to create compelling content and optimize the website for search engines. On the other hand, a product manager working on an application is focused on providing value and solving user problems. They work to identify user needs and pain points and create features that address those needs.
Product managers in charge of a marketing website typically work with web platforms, whereas those in charge of an application can work with a range of platforms, including mobile apps, web apps, and desktop apps. The platform chosen depends on the user’s needs and the goals of the product. A product manager needs to be familiar with the platform they’re working with and have a deep understanding of the user experience.
In contrast to a marketing website, a user-centric product manager’s main focus is on solving a specific user problem. This requires a deep understanding of the user’s needs, pain points, and behaviors, which can be gathered through user research, user feedback, and data analysis. The product manager must be able to translate these insights into product features and design decisions that prioritize the user experience and help solve their problem.
Another key area of focus for any user-centric product manager is to ensure that the product is scalable and adaptable to changing user needs and market trends. This requires keeping a close eye on industry trends, as well as tracking user engagement and feedback to identify areas for improvement and feature development.
With the increasing use of mobile devices, it’s essential for a marketing website to be mobile-responsive. A mobile-responsive website adjusts its layout to fit the screen size of the device being used, making it easy for users to navigate and access content. A product manager working on a marketing website needs to ensure that the website is optimized for mobile devices to provide the best user experience possible. This is not a concern for a product manager working on an application since the platform is chosen based on the user’s needs and the product’s goals, and can range from mobile apps to web applications.
Platforms that a user-centric product manager might work with can range from mobile apps to web applications, depending on the product’s target audience and goals. In recent years, mobile apps have become increasingly popular as more people use smartphones and tablets as their primary means of accessing the internet. As such, mobile app product managers must have a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities presented by mobile devices, including smaller screen sizes, touch-based interfaces, and the need for responsive design.
Wrapping it up!
Overall, while there are certainly differences between product managers working on marketing websites and those working on user-centric applications, both roles require a strong focus on understanding and meeting the needs of their website visitors or app users. By taking a user-centric approach and working closely with cross-functional teams, both types of product managers can help ensure that their digital products are successful in meeting both business goals and people needs.