The Product Manager and Portfolio Marketer . . . A Valentine’s Love Story
- Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to assess and measure the relationship between product management and portfolio marketing
- Standard processes, role clarifications and consistent communication are key elements of a great relationship between portfolio marketers and product managers
- Collaboration improves innovation and the leaders’ ability to successfully bring offerings to market
Valentine’s Day: People are super passionate about this holiday; they either love it or they hate it! Maybe it’s because folks tend to use this day to assess and measure their relationships. Most often these are personal relationships, but it may be a good time to address your professional relationships, too. For the portfolio marketers we work with, this often means assessing the relationship between portfolio marketing and product management.
This Valentine’s Day, consider taking your portfolio marketing and product management relationship to the next level – whether you’re madly in love with your counterpart or your relationship is strained (to put it mildly). I enlisted my colleague Jeff Lash, who leads our Product Management research service, to make sure that I – a portfolio marketing analyst – am aligned with my product management counterpart. Here are our recommendations for improving the relationship between portfolio marketing and product management:
Agree upon and document a standardized process. There must be a process that everyone understands and buys into. The biggest sources of frustration we see between these two functions can be traced to lack of communication or differences of opinion about the activities, deliverables, steps, and overall approach to innovating, bringing a product to market and managing it throughout its lifecycle. This is where the Product Marketing and Management (PMM) Model a best-in-class workflow process framework for innovating and marketing B2B offerings, can help. This model can be used as a starting point for product managers and portfolio marketers to collaborate on a process that will work best in their situation. An important part of aligning these two functions is understanding where conflict exists and working together to reduce that conflict. The first step may be to conduct a PMM Model Assessment to identify any confusion and gaps (think of it as a personality test that shows how you and a potential mate are compatible and where you may need to address your incompatibilities).
Clarify roles and create shared goals. Set up each role for success; this goes far beyond just defining the role itself. Product and marketing executives need to ensure they are communicating the value of each function, which is as important as what the role actually does! Here’s a hint: Neither element is more important than the other. One huge challenge is that organizations are not properly articulating the responsibilities and expectations of product management and portfolio marketing. Here are some tips to ensure role alignment and teamwork:
- Create clear job descriptions that delineate the differences between the roles.
- Ensure that objectives, goals and targets for each offering are developed jointly and that portfolio marketers and product managers are evaluated in the same way against the same shared goals.
- Establish required deliverables and assign clear responsibility (e.g. clients of our Portfolio Marketing and Product Management research services have access to a responsibility assignment – or RACI – matrix for the Product Marketing and Management [PMM] Model).
Schedule ongoing communication. An effective relationship requires communication. In a perfect world, we would encourage product management and portfolio marketing teams to work in proximity to one another. But in reality, teams are often spread out among multiple physical locations. Communication must be regular, consistent and scheduled. Think about people in management roles; most managers have weekly check-ins or one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. The same cadence should be applied to product management and portfolio marketing roles, which truly depend on one another.
Lastly, in a good relationship, the two people are better together than they are apart, because they support one another and because they make each other a better person. Product managers: Help portfolio marketing improve by highlighting some key elements they should consider to make 2019 a success. Portfolio marketers: Help your product management counterparts establish a culture of product management excellence. If you’re not into buying chocolates or flowers, might we suggest access to our SiriusDecisions learning opportunities? Check out the SiriusDecisions Product Management Learning Library or the SiriusDecisions Portfolio Marketing courses.
Take this opportunity to measure your relationship health and make a commitment to work together more closely throughout the entire year. Not only will it improve team collaboration, but it will also improve your ability to impact innovation and successfully bring offerings to market. Happy Valentine’s Day!