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What Is A Director Of Product Marketing?

Science believes that the positioning of your product will make or break your business idea. More than 95% of new products launched by established brands will flop when introduced to the market. This is more than 25,000 individual product lines in the United States alone.

No matter what you sell or where you sell them, product marketing will be an enormous part of your brand’s success story. While not every company uses flashy billboards or video ads to solicit customers, having a solid advertising strategy can turn the tide between a product failure and a product success. For many brands, this boils down to a director of product marketing.

Directors of product marketing are key players for any business, creating and implementing strategies that are custom-tailored to your needs. While the role is fairly new in the marketing industry, the work they produce is indispensable for companies all over the world. But how exactly do they do this? And are they a good fit for every organization?

We’re going to take a closer look at directors of product marketing, including what they are, what they do, and whether or not they’re a good investment for your company. This includes:

  • What is product marketing?
  • What does a director of product marketing do?
  • When to hire a director of product marketing
  • Is hiring a director of product marketing worth it?

What Is Product Marketing?

Product marketing refers to creating, implementing, and testing a marketing process on products, a line of products, or products not yet released. A/B testing with packaging, pricing, and positioning are common elements of this strategy, along with various content marketing processes for greater visibility.

Product marketing is all about customer positioning, and finding ways to resolve pain points through advertising, marketing, and product implementation. When used correctly, long-term strategies lead to lifelong customers, brand ambassadors, and of course, a successful product.

Pepsi’s approach to product marketing is a great example of this. By constantly positioning their product as a highly desirable drink, the Pepsi brand is heavily targeted toward younger demographics. Very repetitive advertising creates a consistent brand voice and USP, urging consumers to buy again and again. When new products are introduced (i.e. Pepsi Mango), the company can lean on prior data and brand interactions to make new sales.

As a process, product marketing is primarily focused on selling product. Directors of product marketing, then, are charged with the creation and implementation of said strategy. Think of them as brand scientists, or the liaisons between hard data and creative imaging. In order to make the magic happen, these professionals work hand-in-hand with a number of back-end experts, including:

  • Product marketing managers (PMMs)
  • Content marketers
  • Advertising and creative specialists
  • Market research analysts
  • Product developer
  • Consumer behavior specialists

By seamlessly bringing both marketing and sales teams together, product marketing professionals are completely invested in the success of your flagship products.

What Does A Director Of Product Marketing Do?

Directors of product marketing are responsible for marketing processes at all stages of inventory development. Strategy and planning are their primary objectives, followed by data analysis after products hit the shelves. Contrary to popular belief, they can take leadership and supervisory roles during both go-live and post-reception phases of product development.

If you’re planning on hiring a director of product marketing, or if you’re interested in taking a job in the field, you might expect to be tasked with some of these marketing responsibilities:

  • Developing solid product positioning and consistent messaging for customers.
  • Overseeing product launches, as well as customer movement from awareness to adoption.
  • Collaboration with C-level executives and experts, including the head of marketing and head of growth.
  • Absorbing and sorting data to develop meaningful analytics for future use.

Directors of product marketing typically have some level of experience in both sales and marketing, especially as they move upward in a company. Research and analytical skills are extremely important, as well as a showcased history of successful strategy implementation.

The most frequently requested skills in product marketing job descriptions include:

  • SaaS
  • Product management
  • Product marketing
  • CPG
  • Product development and implementation
  • Marketing campaigns

Thanks to their prowess with data and an ability to work under pressure, directors of product marketing are paid top dollar for their services. Depending on where you live, you might expect an average annual salary of $167,390. The lowest end of the spectrum typically touches $116,000, while the highest earners gross over $500,000 per year. As product-led marketing begins to normalize throughout multiple industries, these numbers will only continue to rise.

When To Hire A Director Of Product Marketing

Before we talk about reasons to hire these marketing powerhouses, it’s a good idea to understand the types of brands and industries that need them most. Product marketers are heavily associated with B2C organizations, but B2B and SaaS also have a need for highly trained experts. After all, software programs, IT platforms, and managed solutions still need to be sold to customers.

Product marketers have the skills necessary to speed up the awareness and acquisition process, carefully measuring outcomes to refine solutions in the future. There’s currently an enormous industry for product marketers at organizations like:

  • ScreenCloud
  • Remote
  • Unbounce
  • Auctane
  • HackerOne
  • PayPal
  • Highspot
  • Momentive.ai

Any organization should consider consultations with a product marketer, especially in its beginning phases. However, if there is any doubt about overhead or size, or if your business is struggling to allocate funds into different areas, you may want to hold off until a future date. Your company might be in desperate need of a product marketing director if:

  • You consistently struggle to launch new products at scale
  • You need better insight into customer awareness and acquisition
  • You can’t leverage enough data to make meaningful insights
  • You require a secondary marketing team specifically for products
  • You plan to release a flagship product within the next few years

Keep in mind that these aren’t the only reasons why you might consider hiring a director of product marketing. Complex products that require better positioning might warrant a full-time position, while rapid innovations and frequent product releases may be best left in the hands of an experienced professional. If you operate in a highly complex market, or if your leads generally require a very long sales cycle (think B2B), directors of product marketing will be an excellent partner.

Directors of product marketing aren’t necessarily the best fit for every business. If you don’t yet have a stable product management team, it might make sense to wait for a while before making the leap. Newer organizations or startups with limited capital might find it hard to justify more than $100,000 per year (plus benefits) on a full time product marketer.

If your team is still relatively small, and if your business does not expect to launch a frequent stream of products, you might opt to wait before making your next hire.

Is Hiring A Director Of Product Marketing Worth It?

No matter how you look at them, product marketers are an overwhelming net positive to modern businesses. These experts come alongside marketing and sales teams to develop winning product strategies, monitoring customer feedback, and implementing data into future efforts. By A/B testing various solutions and performing regular social listening, directors of product marketing take sales rates to the next level.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should hire a product marketer at this very moment.

If your organization is still in the formative phases of development, rarely releases new goods, or is less established, directors of product marketing might be less efficient than an in-house team. What’s more, startups with limited sales and marketing teams need some additional growth before making new hires.

It’s clear that a director of product marketing is a powerful element of any late stage marketing strategy – keyword being late stage. If you’re a startup, a small business, or a company that doesn’t deal with high volumes of product, it might not make sense to hire a full time employee right away. It might be more economical to consider managing things in-house, using freelancers, or with a team like Draft.dev.

Learn more about marketing careers and job titles.

Meagan Shelley

By Meagan Shelley

Meagan is a professional writer in VA that specializes in content marketing, research, and SEO. If she's not helping people craft their own stories, she's working on some of her own. When she takes time to step away from the laptop, she enjoys hiking, farmer's markets, and occasional thru-hikes.