Job Title: Product Marketing Manager
Type of Company: My company manufactures industrial cutting tools for use in residential, commercial and industrial construction. We are a B2B organization selling our products to retailers and distributors that resell to professional contractors.
Education: BS, Marketing & Advertising, Syracuse University
Previous Experience: I started as a Field Marketing representative for Newell Rubbermaid calling on Wal-Mart stores in New England. I then accepted a job as regional manager of a similar team with responsibility for 5 states, 7 reps and 2 RVPs from Wal-Mart. I started working for my current company as an Associate Product Manager responsible for new product development in the Hand Tool division and have since been promoted.
Job Tasks: As a Product Manager I am responsible for both the day-to-day marketing and the long-term planning for a group of products. I talk to consumers about what they want improved in a product, present their feedback to senior leadership and get approval to begin a project. I then work closely with engineers, designers, researchers and suppliers to develop a product that meets the customer's needs. Once it's ready, I coordinate the advertising, pricing, selling materials and packaging for the product. I also forecast how much we will sell and in which countries. I work with advertising agencies to place the ads and event marketing to promote the product and manage the supply chain to make sure we have enough to sell.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the satisfaction of bringing a product from concept to reality. It can take more than 2 years before a product is ready, but once it is, and is selling well, it's a very proud moment. Hearing others give your product accolades is the best!
The worst part of the job is that many of the people that I work with every day, who are integral to the process of making a product succeed, do not report to me directly. So I have to find ways to motivate, encourage and hold them accountable without having direct management responsibility.
Job Tips: While in school, take as many internships as you can fit into your schedule. Even if it's not the ideal career path, real world experience beats classroom group projects and gives you something to talk about during a job interview.
Take a leadership role in whatever activities you participate in. Run for sorority president or coordinator of a charity. This experience will help you learn how to lead and manage others.
Be open to new roles, projects and even geographic locations. Your willingness to go outside your comfort zone for an organization will pay off later on.
Additional Thoughts: While I don't enjoy sales or cold-calling, sales experience can be very valuable when you're trying to get into marketing. It builds presentation skills, time management and shows that you know how to manage relationships and handle rejection.
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