The product manager role is a general and broad term. The job of a product manager is to discover a valuable, usable, and feasible product.
Most people go online looking for product management roles, never realizing that there are so many different flavors and types of product managers hidden underneath every title. Various categories of PMs branch from this term, each with its unique roles, responsibilities, and qualifications.
In this episode, we give you a detailed breakdown of various categories of product management roles. We highlight their roles, responsibility, and who best fits that position to help folks considering being PMs but don't know which category fits them best.
Tune in to listen to this and more!
[1:12] Consumer PM role
[2:00] Roles of Consumer PM
[5:10] Enterprise PM role
[5:31] B2B and B2C products
[9:40] Platform PM/Technical PM role
[12:26] Is having an engineering background vital in communicating with the engineering team?
[14:40] Data PM/AI PM role
[17:04] Responsibilities of data PMs
[21:48] Machine Learning
[23:02] Growth PM role
[24:00] Roles of Growth PMs
[27:45] Alex working as a PM
[29:55] Alex's favorite book - Traction
[32:00] Product Marketing Manager
[32:53] How the PMM role overlaps the PM role
[34:44] Operations PM
[37:58] The potential Blockchain PM role
[39:36] Which role Parv would switch to from Consumer PM in the future
Connect with Parv:
Connect with Alex:
Send us Questions
Traction - Gino Wickman
Episode 3 - Types of PM's edited (1)
Sun, 4/24 5:47PM 40:03
pm, product, consumer, data, pms, growth, product managers, roles, users, optimizing, people, products, enterprise, product marketing manager, build, blockchain, machine learning, marketing, understand, engineering backgroundSpeaker:
Product Management often starts and ends with a single word product. We go online looking for product management roles, never realizing hidden underneath every title are so many different flavors and different types of product managers. So as we talked about earlier episodes, the job of a product manager is to discover a product that's valuable, usable and feasible, who ends up being important is that product. So there are many different types of product management roles out there. And they each have different responsibilities and different products they create. So I think here, in this episode, we're going to dive into a bunch of these different product roles, and go through what their responsibilities are, and then also maybe who would be a good fit for that, as well as some of the products that they create, based on our own experience. So first one is consumer PM Parv. Did you want to speak to kind of the rules and what a consumer product manager will do?
That's a good one. I like to start with, I think everyone usually sort of sees online, the consumer pm, I think that's the one that already is in someone's mind when they're thinking about product management. I know you're a consumer PM, and I think you've always been a consumer PM, right? Yep. Yeah. I've fluctuated. I do enjoy being a consumer pm a lot. But yeah, I think that one is you see a lot of these iOS apps, Android apps, web apps, all of them and the consumer pm, I think, is the one that's actually responsible for the experience that our users see, like the web application that you see, for example, your iOS Android apps, like let's say you go online, you look at Snapchat, so the consumer PMS focused on making sure that how do we get engagement retention on the application focusing on that member or the user experience for a consumer product? So I think the consumer pm really focuses on a lot of those user touching features and experiences that consumers would end up using. What do you think?
Yeah, I think absolutely, I think anything that you as a, just a normal person, so not in a work environment, or not, maybe in a school environment, even just like Snapchat, YouTube, any of these products that you use every single day, even like iMessage, or the text messaging on
your phone, that's something that a consumer premium does. So essentially, almost everything you as a normal person are using every day. That's something that a consumer pm makes. Yeah,
it is fine. I think that one, to me seems to be the most frequently seen online terms of roles. I think a lot of companies hire consumer PMS, especially because the experience is so important. And if it's not good, then we can see a lot of users end up dropping off the product. But yeah, I feel like that's also so critical. In terms of like understanding design, user experience, things like that. Man, I think from a background perspective, I know we both enjoyed design, and I think that kind of connected us to consumer PM, would that be true for you as well?
Yes, I always wanted to be a designer, that wouldn't even be an architect. So even back, like, when I was a teenager, I was always on Photoshop, and sketch up and always doing that kind of stuff. So I always kind of gravitated towards the design side. And so even if you're not like a world class designer, like I'm definitely not, you can kind of have user input, you can make mock ups, you can have a pretty substantial influence on what the end design is going to be for consumer apps. I think also for consumer, like there's the design side, but it's also just showing off what you make, because you can go to your friends, you can say, hey, like, this is what I made. And it's something that that you can actually show people and they'll actually understand what it is.
I think that's what makes it more desired by a lot of people trying to break into product management is that the ability to go and show that this is what the team has built. But I mean, there's just so much more happening under the hood. And as we'll talk through in the episode, all the different type of product managers that support that, there's just so much no consumer Pm is just the tip of the iceberg. And I know we talked about like design being a big thing to support consumer PM, but even engineering knowledge or technology knowledge can be really helpful. It might not be the biggest necessity sometimes when you're looking at the consumer flow. But just understanding how we're building stuff on the back end, in terms of logic API can be really helpful. It might not be the most useful thing sometimes. But I don't know, I think it can be really beneficial if you have some of that knowledge as well.
Yeah, absolutely. Especially like when you notice like performance issues. And when you want to do something a little bit fancier, having that engineering background, especially on animations and a lot of things that like someone who doesn't have that background, shouldn't even know exists. So it comes in handy in a lot of different areas.
In terms of consumer PM, there is another sort of consumer ish pm product role out there. And I think enterprise product management is also a big one that you see out there, especially given how we're building technology right now with so many products being b2b rather than b2c. And for those out there, b2b is essentially business to business, and b2c is business to consumer. So for an example, Snapchat, YouTube, the ones that Alex mentioned, those would be b2c, any good b2b ones you have Alex that we can share,
I think we're kind of seeing a renaissance in the b2b space. So slack, zoom, these are all b2b products that have kind of broken into the consumer realm, especially during the pandemic, just because of how great they are. So traditionally, is really awful products like Jira, and even more awful ones, like the Oracle Cloud that people would use. And it's just all these like, really ugly spreadsheets and really atrocious software that you wouldn't want to use.
I enjoy now just you? I do I do. I'm one of those folks who enjoys Jira, I don't know why. Okay, I'm on Monday. Anyways,
it's like back in the day used to be a lot slower, kind of clunky, or software. And now, in the b2b space, essentially, instead of trying to sell to a company, a lot of folks are trying to sell to the employees of the company and have them go bottom up. So you're seeing like Slack and zoom, doing a really good job of actually making a really user friendly product that then employees are trying to get into their org.
Yeah, even products, like, you know, for example, Splunk, like that's a b2b product, right? Any of these sorts of tooling systems that companies provide for other systems or other enterprises to use within them, those are all examples of enterprise. Now, you could argue that those are consumer roles as well, with the users actually being the people in the organization. But I do think like, thinking about an enterprise product management roles, there is a slightly different flavor of the user experience that you need to think about. I think that's true for a lot of enterprise roles.
Yeah, absolutely. I think just because consumers using it basically, in their personal time, and then the same person just using it at their work.
Yeah, I think in terms of like, thinking about the flow and the experience, and just gathering requirements, not only thinking about the consumer experience for the users within the organization, but also sort of integration requirements, right, with what is the organization that you're trying to sell to want to embed your enterprise product into their systems? So I think that becomes a huge thing that you have to think about. So where sort of that technical knowledge and understanding of integration systems sort of picks up as compared to a consumer PM?
Oh, yeah, absolutely. It's, it's actually a lot more technical, especially when you bring in other things such as data and different API's, especially for the engineering things like there's all these different engineering products that the engineers you'd like GitHub is like, it's one example. But there's so many more different tools that the engineering team is using so and they're always being sold directly to businesses, to help the tech stack.
And even like consumer PMS, even in within Enterprise product management, you could find roles that lead a iOS and Android native app teams, potentially, because some of those products are in native format for the enterprise as well. So it's not uncommon to see that. But I think usually they are more web systems that get integrated into enterprises. So that's one thing, which I also noticed recently is a lot of uptake in mobile, enterprise product management roles
as well. Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's something that so many companies are now rolling out their own apps, because everyone's mobile are not necessarily mobile, but they don't want to actually be at their computer all day, and support that. Or they're not, especially for a lot of these cable providers and folks with a team on the go. A lot of them have apps now, where they check off all the different tickets for view tickets.
I think October is a good example of that as well. Right? I think they launched with a web version. I think it's been a while, but they also have like mobile apps that support Okta to FA as well.
Yep. Yeah, absolutely. So everyone's kind of moving in that direction, just because now on the consumer side, it's an expectation that something that's on the web is also going to be on your
phone. And that's also kind of leaked into the enterprise space, where, if there's like an app that you use on your computer for business, you're also expect to be able to have the same kind of level of access on your phone on the go.
Yeah, I've noticed this on Twitter. Every time there's an app that exists only on web, I think the most common tweet is when it is coming to iOS and Android. Yep. Yep. I might have done that myself, too. So just saying. So we've covered consumer, we've covered enterprise, which one's next, Alex, like what other product management roles are out there?
Yeah. So I think now we get a little bit off the beaten path. I think a lot of people are familiar with enterprise and consumer, but there's like four more. So there's platform PM. So typically, a platform Pm is working more on the kind of the service layer for the API's that the company is using. So internally, a lot of companies will have their own API's to get specific information, whether that's HR information for their employees, or it's different information from their own databases that they use to then do things internally. So whether it's a content management system, or optimizing different technical components across multiple products is all sorts of things on the platform side that these PMS are doing.
Yeah, that one, I feel like platform pm and I think some companies also refer to them as technical PMS. Man, that one is intense. Sometimes. I've seen people who really enjoy that role. Given the ability to drive a lot of the engineering and internal infrastructure pieces and platforms that support all those consumer experiences that consumer PMS build, for me, I've been there, I found it a little bit tough personally. But once you get the hang of it, I think you start to enjoy it a lot. It did take me a while to ramp up. But once I got into the thick of it was actually really fun. But you're so right, like, that's where an engineering mindset can be really, really helpful sort of understanding, you know, how API's work? How do you build a service layer so that consumer product experiences can interact with that? I think it involves so much more in understanding, how do you set up data layers? How do you set up pipelines? So much more knowledge of just engineering components?
Yep. Yeah. So I think this is when people ask, Are you a technical PM? Like, do you have like an engineering background? This is where you actually need that engineering background. Rather, it's really hard to effectively do your job. Yeah,
I think you could get by without an engineering degree. But
so I've actually had to do this a couple of times, for different products. And I've just never been that successful, I had to rely a lot more on the back end, folks, and then either ends up being something that I missed or something, it wasn't properly conveyed. And I'm not using the right terminology. So there's a communication issue. It just doesn't go as well, and so many different layers, I think communication is a big issue, but also just what are the capabilities, I think, I shouldn't make something with HomeKit. And I like, didn't quite understand that API well enough. And I wasn't like delving into it. So there's a lot of like features that I'm also missing, because I don't realize what the API is able to expose. So I think as a consumer pm trying to delve into the platform, pm side, I had a lot of trouble. And you say
you have a background in neuroscience? You wouldn't use that one. That didn't help you out here. Yeah, the
psychology of the how the brain of the backend, backend engineer works. No, that didn't help you here, that was not very useful.
Do you think having that engineering background can really help have better conversations with the engineering team? Do you feel that that's true.
So if you're gonna do this, I think you need to kind of go in with your eyes wide open, knowing that there's a lot of knowledge that you need, and then you have to, like specifically acquire that knowledge. So I was trying to do this back end part of the project and on top of like, 10, other things. So I didn't really have time to go deep on this. But if you're gonna do it, I think you just need to take like a quick course on like TeamTreehouse, or, I'm sure you just want like the basics of backend architecture, schema design, essentially understand what the vocabulary is, so that you can effectively research, like, if you're integrating with any other, if you have any dependencies, like researching and reading up on their on, like, what the capabilities are, the documentation that they have, just being able to focus a lot more on it, I think anyone can do it, you just have to understand that you're missing a lot of knowledge, you have to acquire the knowledge to effectively communicate and work with a team. If you have a good team, it's going to be a lot easier, because they're going to understand that you don't really know this that well. And they'll be able to help. I think there was a couple like so. Our backend engineer was also trying to learn a whole new programming language. So he was focused on that was
trying to figure out, what can we even do. So there's a lot of things, but I think anyone can do it. Any pm can do any of these different categories. It's just a matter of really focusing and trying to learn, learn the ropes and talk to the experts on your team.
That's true. That's actually a really good thing to say, you know, anyone can do it. You don't want to discourage anyone or say that if you don't have an engineering background, you can't. I think it's helpful. But in no ways. Does that limit you from trying this out? If this is something that excites you something that you're interested in, then it definitely is doable?
Yeah, absolutely. I think if you have the time, and you have a team that's able to work with you to kind of get through the initial onboarding hurdles, I think any of these pm roles can totally be done by just about anybody.
Yeah, 100%. And I think this one's a good sort of segue into what we are seeing now, which is, as the Terminator three movie portside Rise of the Machines, we are getting closer to cybernet days now. And with the rise of aI think data or AI, PMS have become a big thing. We've been seeing so many more machine learning specific artificial intelligence are basically data product managers out there. And I think that's one which has been really fascinating to see. I think that role has been really fun to see grow. Have you worked in the data space at all, Alex?
Oh, yeah. I think both of us have touched on products in this category. But yeah, one of my first products as a PM was actually making like a travel recommendation product that was using machine learning. I remember that I remember. Yeah. But I think this is like a good example of a pm being what to do anything. Yeah, it was like an incredible product. But I also had a really good team. And I was essentially working with the data scientists just every single day to actually like design this model to read up on it. So he was reading all the different books and like, because machine learning is still relatively new. are you actually trying to build your On algorithm, whereas now a lot more off the shelf solutions. But there's a good example of like, you can learn it, you can do it, you can start implementing products in the space that are just using some data so that it's being trained off of, and then using that to help your users in one way or another.
Yeah, that's true. So like, a data PM, essentially, is a translator between the user needs. And the problem or algorithms, or the AI models, sort of combining all of that and putting it towards into what product needs to be built. It's kind of taking the AI and machine learning models that
are available, and then understanding what problems they can solve and how do we map that to user needs? I think that's exactly what you were saying as well earlier in which you wanted to build recommendation system. So it's trying to figure out what's the need, and what's the intent and experience that you want to build? And then how do we achieve some of that with a machine learning model on the back end? And I think that's where a data pm really becomes key is to trying to translate and connect those two dots. Essentially, how do we use machine learning to solve those problems?
Yep. Yeah, absolutely. I think like, it's a lot of tweaking and a lot of just kind of refining the dataset. But I think like on the DM side, it's Yeah, again, like anybody can probably do this. It's just, it's a lot of working with your data scientists, and really working with the team. Because it's more of a team effort, where you have all these different tweaks, you have all these different people trying to find, like, essentially break whatever kind of algorithm you came up with. And then you're trying to constantly refine that to make it better. And I think
this one also, you know, it's not sometimes not just machine learning models, and interacting with data scientists, I think a lot of key aspects of this also include data management and analysis, and essentially even creating pipelines and dashboards that manage and display data effectively. I think that's a big thing as well, how do you take the large terabytes of data and sort of condense that into something that's usable, or even viewable by anyone else? And I think that also becomes a key part of your responsibilities as a data pm sometimes is, how do we just make our data useful? Yep.
Yeah, especially once you've launched and you're getting so much different data in and trying to be able to parse through all that and see where the trends are, is really important to continuing.
I think this one is actually a really fun one. For me, I did do a little bit of like NLP and machine learning in college. And I think I really enjoyed combining that side of my thinking, with product management, it was super fun to sort of play around with some of the models that we were building and trying to see how we can solve some of those problems that we want to solve. And I think for anyone out there that's excited by machine learning, but also has that product flair, I think this could be a fantastic opportunity to sort of bringing those skills together.
Yeah, I think one of the nice things also is that in a lot of different product roles, there's not
really a defined metric. Sometimes it's like growth is a has a defined metric. But a lot of things,
really a defined metric. Sometimes it's like growth is a has a defined metric. But a lot of things, just trying to increase the revenue user experience is not something that's that easy to define. But I think data is an aipm is a really good product area where you can actually see all your improvements. So as you get better data, you can see the percentage match directly with how many users chose something if it's a recommendation algorithm, or like how many users got through how many users understood, so there's a lot more data that you can kind of game which gets a little bit more fun, because now you're just optimizing specific metrics and thinking of interesting and unique ways to solve that problem.
That's so true. I think right now, this is one of the hot product management roles, especially with everything that's happening right now with AI, oh, yeah, booming. And I've seen this come up so many times where a lot of the duties and responsibilities on the job page include an understanding of AI and machine learning or a basic understanding of just how these models work.
The whole like machine learning ecosystem has become so much more robust now that it's not that it's so true trying to go find your own data, try to make your own models build your model from scratch. Now, like when I was doing this, like fortune 500, companies were working on this. But now anybody can really make a an effective model to do something from take all goats out of a image or remove a background like you're seeing this everywhere. Even on the much smaller end. We're just it's just like two guys or one programmer in a room. So it's a lot more accessible than it's ever been before.
You want to take this one level of inception here, and being an enterprise PM, where your product is an AI product
as a whole. Yeah, I mean, that's where all the money is right now. This is one banking company upstart that essentially he's getting all of this different banking data and seeing it's qualifying people for loans. So there's a credit score, which everybody uses, but they've made essentially their own system based off of all this different data. And they're just training based off of what the default rate is in all their different baking partners. So essentially, it's an enterprise product, but it's specifically targeting consumers and getting their like driver's license data, credit card data, houses like health history, like all these different kind of seemingly random data points, and then put dinner together. So then crunch numbers, what their loan should be?
Yeah, I mean, imagine being a product manager in a role like that, in an enterprise pm role
Yeah, I mean, imagine being a product manager in a role like that, in an enterprise pm role
where your product is data, not only are you thinking about a the customer experience of the people in the organization that are going to use your product. So that's one part of the requirements that you would think about. But then the second is also in terms of the product that you're building, what are the AI capabilities, and then understanding those requirements and figuring out how to build that AI piece of it and create and map that to an experience. So it's like, no wonder that's a hot piece right now, it is a difficult challenge, you know, being able to create a product based off of machine learning platform, and then also making that the platform for another organization. Yeah,
it's a huge challenge. But it's also an incredible opportunity for startups, because it's something that the older companies just don't have the ability to do. So now you're seeing I think, a firm, a firm has a similar product as upstart except it's more consumer oriented. Life insurance. Yeah, lemonade, for you're seeing like all of these insurance industries are being completely disrupted by loans. All these different industries are being disrupted, because the old guard just can't compete with machine learning and AI, because they just don't have that capability in house. So you're seeing like, incredible, incredible boom, especially in the startup area. In this, there's
so many more organizations that are also just supplying machine learning, modeling platforms, or just platforms that you can put in your own data? And does the machine learning for us? You don't even need to figure it out? Like how do you need to set up the models? What models to set up? How do we extract features, how to create those sorts of pipelines, they're just doing all of that for you?
Yeah. And there's other ones that are tagging all the data for you. So they'll have like teams of 1000s of people somewhere in a lower cost country, and they're just looking at all the videos are looking at whatever, and just tagging everything, tagging your data. So there's a whole ecosystem around this from making the models to tagging the data to actually putting all the different data sources together to run it through the algorithm. Yeah,
no, no, think about, I feel like consumer Pm is a smaller slice in this whole pizza of Product Management.
You could almost say that there's like two pillars. It's like the enterprise pillar and the consumer pillar. Under those you have all these subcategories, by platform data. That's true. That's true.
We've covered so far, so many different types of product management. And I think one of the other ones that I've seen come up lately is growth PM. And that one's always been something that I have a hard time understanding sometimes. But there is a thing, I've seen a lot of roles out there that focus on growth and call themselves growth, product managers. And you know, other terms that I've heard are growth hackers. But that just sounds not as cool as being a growth pm. I feel like a little more mature. Yeah, I don't know about you. But I think like the main focus of those product managers are the growth of the product, essentially, understanding how do we reach a broader audience and get the product in front of more people? How do we get more engagement? How do we increase the people coming through the front door for our product?
Yeah, I think it's also as popularized by Facebook. So when Facebook was first starting out, they had a growth team. And that growth team, they had the growth PM, and that's kind of the folks who made the playbook. So yeah, essentially, it's getting users to your product, but also retaining those users. It has all these different metrics. So it's acquisition, retention, and then the average revenue per user. So you're essentially trying to grow this whole set of numbers, because for instance, if you had a ton of acquisition, you were able to acquire users for super cheap, you got a million users. But then he looked two weeks later, they're all gone, because you weren't able to retain them. So it's looking at the whole kind of pipeline and lifetime of a user on the platform and how easily you can acquire, retain and then generate revenue from them.
Yeah, would you say in terms of those metrics, acquisition, onboarding, acquisition and sort of conversion into a paying member for some products, and those are the some of the key metrics that a growth team is looking at? To simplify that acquisition and activation? I think those are key terms for growth PM, you could see engagement, lifetime value and retention sometimes being sidelined by growth PM, potentially because there is a consumer product manager who's focusing on that. But I think for growth PM, it's just how do we acquire and activate people, and a lot of people who end up being growth, PMS, I feel like have an interest in marketing, understanding as marketing funnels and helping grow those funnels. also connected to this, you end up seeing a lot of product managers in the space of Search Engine Optimization, SEM, like a lot of those different fields where you're like, understanding how do we get the product optimized for search engines when people are searching how do we do ads or paid search, things like that? I feel like there's such a huge opportunity within growth itself.
Oh, yeah. And growth VM is working on so many different aspects and there's so many People are always hiring in this part, especially like the acquisition part, I think growth PMS are working on a specific product, but they're also working on potentially other products kind of go into that
on a specific product, but they're also working on potentially other products kind of go into that
growth hacker mindset where they're making other products to help get folks get users into that funnel for that product.
Would you agree like it's a growth Pm is like owning a metric, rather than that product?
I could see that depends, I think on the product, I like to think at least, that ruffians are doing more than just owning a metric maizing a product. I think they're trying to do whatever it takes to acquire users and to activate them. And that sometimes goes beyond the product. Sometimes it's a matter of working with a marketing team to ensure that the messaging is something that is aligns with what the users expectation is. So there's all these different places beyond just the product where the growth pm can work.
Yeah, and I think the growth theme ends up touching a lot of different aspects as well. You could see someone in the growth VM space, also working a lot with data scientists trying to figure it out or optimizing for the bidding process when you're looking at how do you rank for search in either Google or the App Store and things like that? So I think that becomes a huge part of growth VM as well, right?
Yeah, I think the data part is a lot of growth. VMs are having some type of data analytics or data science background? Because it is so fundamental to optimizing for all the marketing metrics.
I mean, I don't know. I feel like product managers within the growth set are just running so many short term experiments all the time trying to figure out what's working, what's not.
Yeah, I think a lot of people have this idea that the growth hacker the grift pm has like some great idea. And that's what ends up launching the company and making go viral and just having a dream really well. But the reality is that it's a lot of these small micro improvements, right point 5% that are just stacked. So you have like 2030 4050 things that worked that just
had like a point 1.3 point 5% improvement, but over time that stacks up to be like a 30% improvement on whatever that metric is that they're optimizing for. Yeah, that is so true. It's like just a bunch of AP tests that are being run and understood by these product, folks.
Did you ever do growth pm for any of your projects or products that you've worked on? I haven't, I haven't jumped into growth pm space. I'm wondering if you have,
yeah, yeah. So I think at the hardware company I was working out when we were doing actually I was hired as a designer and growth manager, marketer, of course. And, of course, you were hired as something else. Yeah. So actually, I had my own startup. And then essentially, we we launched a product, and then we just weren't seeing any lift. So I like went full force into marketing, read all the different marketing books started running ads running, Google Facebook, ads back in like 2017, when those were the two main popular ones, and just like nothing was working. So I ended up getting this job to try to use their money to learn marketing. So I was using all these different tactics that I've kind of picked up trying to market my own product, to then market there's so it ended up being like, we're trying to essentially
sell more units also trying to improve the acquisition funnel. So there's different ways that we had like a different, I guess, in terms of our funnel, we had top of the funnel was like the PR, and then we had people come into our app. So we had a free app that would tell people air quality. So then how can we move people from the air quality app into our paid hardware? So then what if we put an ad there, we put an ad there, what percentage conversion? Do we get to our hardware, so essentially optimizing throughout the entire funnel, especially because it's a startup. So one person can look at entire funnel from someone clicking on a link to downloading a free app to downloading a paid app to buying a hardware device. So a lot of it's just looking at your entire acquisition funnel the entire customer journey, and seeing what the opportunities are making small improvements and then making larger improvements, like we made a whole product that was helping us acquire more emails, because it turns out that email had the highest conversion rate to our hardware. So just I wouldn't say it's siloed to like one product, a lot of, especially in the startup, it's really, what can you do to move the only metric that matters? So in our case was revenue. So how can we improve revenue? And if we pull these different levers, if we run some more ads, if we do better retargeting, can we move those levers? And in our case, we found the answer was retargeting doesn't work. But optimizing our free app does work. And then optimizing for leads does work. So take the things that work, focus on those, and then that ended up working pretty well.
Nice. I remember you sharing a book with me called Traction.
Yep, yep, that's like my favorite book. So I guess just a quick summary of traction traction, essentially, is looking at a process of how to look at how to market a product. So you have all
essentially, is looking at a process of how to look at how to market a product. So you have all
these different channels. And if you try to focus on every channel at once you get super overwhelmed. So channels include PR, TV ads, volunteer marketing, blog posts, side project marketing, like there's all these different potential channels that you could take, but if you're gonna try to do all of them are going to do nothing well. So the whole strategy is to focus on one channel for one month or three months, depending on your resources and just Make sure you do everything you can in that channel to make sure that it succeeds. If it fails, that's probably a channel issue. And then you go to the next show now of these 20 channels, not all of them are going to work for your company. So the idea is to figure out what the subset that will actually make sense. So TV ads, for something that's targeting like teenagers, and like 20 to 24 year olds, probably not going to be effective. So you don't even have to worry about that. So when you look at the subset, maybe there's only like four or five channels that make any sense for you. And then you just go full force focusing on those. So really, really helpful book.
Yeah, well, if anyone's into the space of growth, marketing and growth hacking and wants to be a growth team, I think that's a great book to checkout. So I think in terms of like, the different types of product management roles that we've seen, I think we've covered five main ones so far, just quickly, recapping them, we have the consumer PM, we have the enterprise PM, platform, pm or technical pm that some would call them the data or AI PM, and then the growth PM. So these are kind of the five main ones we've seen. But I do also want to touch upon like these tangential roles that I've seen out there that are product management, and some flavor, could be argued that they're not, but I do see some overlaps with product management. And I think it's worth calling them out and talking about them as well, Alex, and I think one of those, which I've seen a lot recently as well kind of overlap between marketing and Pm is is this concept of Product Marketing Manager. And I think a lot of folks out there I know, I've gotten this question a lot of times is like, is the pm same as a product marketing manager? Is there any difference between a pm and a PMM? But yeah, just I think we should talk about that as well around? What might PMM be versus a PM?
Yeah, I think that's definitely a question I had going into this conversation and on that I wasn't too confident on the answer. I think my main takeaway is just that the PMM is focusing more on kind of the more tactile marketing assets. So what is the actual content? What are the ads that are going out? What's the PR, as opposed to more on the product side? But again, like I think it is a little less defined? So I think, yeah, it's totally open to interpretation, what's your take on the PMM?
I mean, I think the Product Marketing Manager is definitely less involved in how the product is built. They aren't the ones running around having conversation with engineering, figuring out bugs and roadmaps, etc. But where I do see the overlap with product managers is being the voice of the customer. And I know we talked about this in our previous episode as well that a product manager is always trying to understand what needs to be built and trying to understand the customer. And I think the PMM also does a great job of being that voice. And
sort of gathering those insights and being a pipeline with those inputs towards a pm, I think they are definitely you know, out there, conducting competitive analysis, consumer research, and all this stems from trying to understand it, how they want to market the product. And as you said, thinking about all the marketing materials they're building, they're also doing all this research that can be very, very valuable in terms of insights for a product manager. So I think that's where I do see an overlap. And I can see someone potentially enjoying this role much more than a product manager. If the customer side is something that's much more closer to you, then I think a PMA might be a very good role to explore. Yep,
it definitely has some overlap. And I think there's a lot of PMS who go over to that side and a lot of PMM is to come over to the product side.
Yeah. And I think a lot of marketing professionals end up transitioning to product managers through a product marketing manager role.
Yeah, I think like having a marketing person as a piano, having that background and having that understanding of what different features should be in the app, like different tracking, that kind of stuff is actually really helpful, especially on the consumer side.
Yeah, I remember spending a lot of time with my product marketing manager, when we were working at StubHub. It was a lot of conversations, trying to understand customer insights, getting data, figuring that out, and sort of using some of that insights and data into our analysis and initial, you know, product discovery and just requirement gathering. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then I think there's another one that I want to bring up, which is, again, tangential, but I do see it also being relevant to the discussion. I think that's an operations product manager. And I think my understanding of that is that those product managers are more focused on optimizing internal workflows. So a lot of the pipelines that we're running internally that support a lot of the functions within the organization. I think those PMS are really trying to understand what's the end goal of those workflows, who's the users and then trying to make sure that they can optimize and build those workflows. And I think that is an interesting one out there that I wanted to call out as well as part of the discussion. Have you interacted with an operations pm before?
No, this is actually the first time I've heard of one. So I think it's interesting. It's like they sit on top and kind of look at different ways to improve so definitely make sense. I just never interact
with one another
with one anotherSpeaker:
work, I think you would see operations manager or business analysts a lot of different roles that might take up this kind of job. But I think it's worth calling out that sometimes a lot of organizations do have operations, product people as well. Because you could look at a workflow as a product, you have requirements need to understand what's the job that needs to be done? And then how do you use that requirement to build or optimize a workflow to be more efficient? You have a set of metrics that you can attach to that workflow. And then as a PM, you're focused on making sure that it's running?
Yeah, yeah. Have you ever worked with the operations person before?
I have, I wouldn't say operations PM, but actually, you know, what, I have worked with someone in product who has been focused on operations. And I think that's where I also learned of this role from them. I mean, they were doing a lot of the same stuff that I was doing, it's just that the product that they were managing was different. It was a workflow. It was internal processes, internal optimizations, internal systems that needed to be pipelines that needed to get built and get set up. And I was one of the users and I was part of a user research study for them. And it was fascinating to be on the other side, and afterwards, trying to understand like, what they're building and how they're building it. So I think it is worthy of mentioned in the list as well as an operations product person. Oh, man, we have covered quite a few roles here in the space of product management, which is weird, you know, because, hey, what are your your product manager, but then, boom, they're like seven different types of product management roles. Yep.
And then when you look for them, like the job was you normally just says Product Manager, that doesn't necessarily say growth pm or platform pm or enterprise? It's kind of up to you to figure out which will it actually is, which type of BM you're gonna have to be? There are very different.
I hope this conversation can help set that framework for a lot of folks out there trying to understand what's the right product role for them. And as he said, like, sometimes it's not mentioned in the title. But the responsibilities of that role can help get a little bit more information on which one of these you would be? Yeah, absolutely. Are you excited about moving into any one of these other spaces from a consumer PM? Or do you want to stick with being a consumer pm?
I think there's always new technology on the horizon. So I think one that we could maybe even add to the list is like blockchain pm, I think it's still pretty low pretty early. But I've been seeing like a lot of interest in blockchain based apps and different products that were have the blockchain. And I haven't tried to kind of delve into it and read more about it to figure out what it would take to build a product using the blockchain. But I think that's going to be something we add to the lists by the end of the year or two, as soon as bigger companies start kind of toying with using that for the back end.
I wonder if we would think about blockchain as a technology for a technology PM, versus actually having a blockchain pm. I don't know. Because I feel like right now, it's more of a technology asset that you could use in your products. But you're right, maybe in the future. That is the product and your expertise in the blockchain puts you up as a blockchain PM.
Yeah, I definitely agree. I think right now, depending on how it's used, it makes more sense as a platform PM, but a lot of people are trying to use it as the actual product. So like making an actual coin that does something, as opposed to just using it for back end data management. I think there's lots of different ways to use it. I don't know if it's ever going to become a more formal kind of pm rule that we add to this list, but it's definitely something to kind of keep an eye on as it continues to grow.
And I think you're right. It's definitely one of those spaces where if someone has knowledge, it can be really beneficial for certain organizations where that skill is needed.
Yeah, yeah. I've been seeing a lot of job requests for property. So property, Blockchain warehouse inventory management. So a lot of these kind of just tracking items. Awesome. Did you have any PMS, like you wanted to do, if you want to go out of consumer,
ah, I've had moments where I've wanted to, like, dip my toes in the growth pm space. And, uh, you know, this, I've reached out to you around this as well, trying to like understand the growth space and growth marketing. And I think that would be something that I might want to try at some point in the future, later on. But right now I'm really enjoying the consumer pm role,
especially with the products that I'm working on right now. So maybe not anytime soon. Yeah, I think growth is also one of the things you can kind of do on the side. And it's very true. That's a true. Yeah. And I think sometimes it's when you're working at a startup that ends up being a big part of responsibility, even if that's not your title.
Yeah, I think everyone is just so focused on acquiring users, however possible, so everyone wears the growth hat. That's very true.
Well, awesome, Alex, it was fun. I think this one's a great topic. And I always have a lot of fun talking about these different type of product management roles out there. Yeah, likewise,
cool. Have a good one you do