The 5 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2012: Product Management

Today I’m discussing Product Management. The Inc.com article I’m basing these posts on describes today’s product manager as “someone who interfaces with customers and defines product strategy and use cases.” I’d go a few steps farther.

Early in my career I was an Assistant Product Manager for a collectibles marketer, later promoted to Product Manager for the flagship product which was First Day Covers (first day of issue postage stamps affixed to an envelope featuring custom artwork and a description of the stamp being commemorated).

I’m thankful to have had that early product management experience. It taught me a lot.

But I think for many companies, product manager responsibilities goes beyond “interfaces with customers and defines product strategy and use cases.” At least it did for me.

I think product management is more expansive and can include:

Strategic product strategy (as stated above) Tactical marketing plans Media plans Internal coordination of everything it takes to get the product created Interface with manufacturing Interface with new product development Interface with creative development

For some organizations, it could go beyond this list, but that is the scope of responsibility that I was trained to handle as a product manager.

At any rate, it was great experience, and experience that serves me well as we deal with our clients.

Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.