I’ve got the Product Marketing Manager job, now what?

July 21, 2008

by startupmarketingdiva

Congratulations. You’ve just finished B-school, and have successfully transitioned “from the bench to business” with your new job as Product Marketing Manager / Product Manager. You’re going to be overseeing the development and launch of product or service X at this start-up you’ve joined. It’s your second day at work (because the first day was taken up with HR) and you’re about to go into your first meeting with your new boss. What do you do? What do you need from her to get you off and running in the right direction? Read on.

While I had learned the theory and the general strategic methods to make me a successful marketer once I got out of B-school, I did not learn the “how” of the “what”. In my new role, I was thrown quite a few acronyms. Not unexpected. Having worked for big pharma, where I was handed a 150 page “glossary” during the HR orientation to decode the company’s secret code, it was no surprise. But something was different. These acronyms were industry terms that I had not heard of before: MRS, SRS, BRD, MRD, etc. I started googling these terms to understand what they all meant. While it took me a while, you can impress your manager on the second day with the following questions:

  1. Do you have a Business Requirements Document (BRD) for product X that I can review?
  2. How about the Marketing Requirements Specifications (MRS) (or in some companies the Marketing Requirements Document – MRD) for product X?
  3. If your product is a software product, then inquire about a Software Requirements Specification.
  4. Ask about the former “Product Launch Plans” for this product. If none exist, inquire about a similar document for another of the company’s products.

Most likely, each company will have its own tailor-made version of each of these documents. And in smaller companies, some of these documents are consolidated because resources are limited for executing such detailed documents. In contrast, larger companies may have a few more of these documents (FSD, PRD, PSD, and so on) that may be parsed out into more sections and details. None-the-less, these three documents provide information on the business need and the market need for the product or service that you’re managing. I see the BRD as the “business plan” of the single product or service you’re managing. The MRS is a document that specifies the particular features or characteristics that the product or service should possess based on the market research you’ve conducted. The Product Launch Plan document is a very detailed marketing plan for your product/service.

If none of these documents exist because either your company is too disorganized or too brand new (hopefully the latter), then start googling these terms to find existing templates. No one template will suit your needs, so you’ll have to do some extra leg work to combine a few templates to tailor them to your own needs. But, don’t waste time re-inventing the wheel! Check out a previous post called “Product Marketing Management” for some great resources to help you get started! Good luck. Yours truly – startupmarketingdiva.


6 Responses to “I’ve got the Product Marketing Manager job, now what?”

  1. Joseph Young Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more SMD. In my current internship I was blindsided by both technical and business acronyms. I’ve gotten a handle on most of them, but there are ones that still fly by me sometimes that I need to write down or remember to check up later. We’re big on Product Requirement Documents (PRD) and they’re pretty technical. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the MRS/MRD.

    Great post. Keep up the great work!

  2. startupmarketingdiva Says:

    Thanks for your comment JY. You bring up a good point about the PRD, which also holds true for the SRS or the FSD (functional specifications document) — these documents are very technical and generally written by the product manager who is also well versed in the said art, be it life science or software or hardware engineering. In this regard, these documents have to define very clearly, using the appropriate vernacular, the technical specifications of the product to develop. I see this as a great “straddle” role between bench and business for someone who is technically well-trained but aiming to get off the bench. Good luck with your internship. -“SMD” ;)

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  6. Heather Says:

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