Product Marketing or Project Management: Which Career Path Is Right for You?
Managing projects or handling product marketing strategy can make for a fulfilling business career.
The business of business includes a lot of occupations. From retailers to tech giants, companies hire uniquely skilled employees to handle each of the wide range of tasks necessary to ensure business keeps moving, products keep selling, and profits keep coming in.
Two of the more fulfilling business roles include project management and product marketing. They’re both great careers for anyone looking for an interesting job in business, but they’re different in a number of ways. If you’re trying to decide which of the two might be right for you, here’s some help.
Differences in Focus
Project managers and product marketers focus on different aspects of business. Project managers guide projects from start to finish, ensuring all the elements of the project come together properly. Projects can range from long term (like opening a new retail store) to short term (like planning a grand opening).
As for product marketers, they’re in charge of ensuring a new product is well positioned in the marketplace. Where project managers are inward facing (keeping the internal processes of a business running smoothly), product marketers link the inward with the outward, working with both product development and sales.
Differences in Tasks
Tasks of a project manager include:
- Managing individual tasks from initiation to completion, ensuring that all goals are met.
- Establishing timelines for projects in accordance with company needs and organizing tasks appropriately.
- Developing budgets in line with company needs and making sure those budgets are met.
- Managing a company’s project management software and other project management tools to ensure efficiency of communication and workflow.
- Recognizing and planning for potential problems and appropriately managing risks to timelines and budgets.
- Developing project management strategies that improve company performance.
Tasks of a product marketer include:
- Understanding the company’s market and the needs and expectations of customers in that market.
- Working with product developers to ensure a new product is right for the company’s market and differentiated from competitor products.
- Developing optimal product positioning and messaging.
- Partnering with sales and marketing to implement an effective marketing strategy.
- Partnering with ad buyers and engagement strategists to develop media strategies, including strategies for traditional media (TV, radio, print, etc.) and new media (internet advertising, social media marketing, outreach to brand influencers, etc.).
- Analyzing results to improve future strategies.
Differences in Salaries and Career Outlook
Both project management and product marketing offer good salaries and a strong employment outlook. According to PayScale, project manager salaries in the U.S. average just over $72,000 per year1 while product marketer salaries average nearly $86,000 per year.2
When it comes to future employment growth, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that jobs in the advertising, promotions, and marketing manager field will increase by 10% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than average.3 BLS does not analyze the project management field, but a recent study commissioned by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, which focused on 11 countries across five continents, estimated a 33% growth in project management employment between 2017 and 2027 in countries including the United States, China, India, and Japan.4
Differences in Education
While a bachelor’s degree in business can help start your career, you will likely want to earn a graduate degree to focus in on project management or product marketing. If project management seems right for you, you should consider an MS in Project Management, which will help you gain the advanced skills you need while preparing for project management certification. If product marketing seems like a better fit, you should consider an MS in Marketing, which will help you gain specialized knowledge in business marketing and prepare you to market products of all types.
While earning an MS degree may seem daunting, online education is making it more feasible than ever before. When you choose an online project management degree program or an online marketing degree program, you won’t have to worry about living close to a top business school. Instead, you can complete your courses from home. Plus, earning an MS in Project Management or MS in Marketing online will give you the ability to continue working full time while you earn your master’s degree, thanks to the fact that online learning lets you choose when in the day you attend class.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering MS in Project Management and MS in Marketing degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.