Expert's Panel

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    Product marketing responsibilities are so vast it seems almost impossible for a person to juggle all of them. Name five responsibilities of the PME that must not fall below the cut line.

  1. The first thing I would suggest is providing your sales people with compelling reasons why the customer should buy your product. In other words, well defined features-benefits. Second, you have to support the sales people with what they need in terms of collateral material to support the sales process—they need all the relevant information stated as clearly as possible. Somewhere in the quote process you have a big responsibility because that is where you are setting the customer expectations. It is also where your product is defined and your have to control that. Finally, I would say strategic marketing. We need to set aside at least 5% of our time to provide strategic input on how we can do a better job.
  2. I want to talk about the MRS because it really defines what your company is going to be spending money on and expect to get revenues for. Become as proficient as you can about that process. You also really need to understand pricing and cost analysis of your own product versus that of your competitors. You need to be able to define the value quotient between the two and then communicate that to the sales people and internal management. This is a product marketing real core function because that is where the dollars and application of resources is affected.
  3. If you don't continue to monitor the market, no one else in your company will. If you were an automobile company selling SUVs you need to be aware there is massive competition and that gasoline could go to $3 a gallon. With that knowledge you would need to either find a way to get 40 miles to the gallon, or get into another segment of the market. This is what a marketing person needs to tell management.
  4. Take a look at where you could make a difference in terms of profitability and market share. You should get control of the "promise to performance ratio." The quotation process is an important piece but that was already talked about. Also look at order entry—don't let stuff come in that is so unclear that it can't be made. Presentation content is part of the "ratio". And finally, the forecast process. Those are areas that management, if they actually could see something good happening, would probably tend to reward the people responsible.