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Product Manager: Job Description & Career Requirements

Product mangers are responsible for the entire promotional life cycle of a product or service. Read on for more information about the marketing duties, degree requirements, career outlook and salary potential for product managers.

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Career Definition for Product Managers

Product managers are primarily responsible for securing the sale of goods and services. Before marketing a product, managers estimate the demand for the item and identify potential customers. They also oversee the development and planning of advertising and marketing strategies. Managers work with many different departments within a company, including research and development (R&D), advertising, sales, and public relations.

Education Bachelor's in business or related field
Job Duties Secure the sale of goods and services, estimate demand, develop strategies
Median Salary (2015) $124,850 (all advertising, marketing, and promotion managers)
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% (all advertising, marketing, and promotion managers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Product managers may come from a variety of educational backgrounds, depending on their employer and the type of products they are promoting. Minimum academic requirements include a bachelor's degree in business or a related field. Aspiring product managers can benefit from undergraduate classes in marketing, communications, economics, advertising, and statistics. Most managers train on-the-job, which can help them become familiar with a product's features.

Skills Required

According to the Public Library of Science, product managers must have excellent leadership skills and the ability to communicate well with others (www.plos.org). Organizational, research, and time-management skills are also important; proficiency in the use of computers and common industry software programs are key. In addition, product managers should be able to meet tough deadlines, handle stress, and have good judgment.

Employment and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports that advertising, marketing, and promotion manager jobs should increase at a faster-than-average rate of 9% from 2014 to 2024. Opportunities will grow as businesses continue to expand around the globe. As of May 2015, advertising, marketing and promotions managers earned a median salary of $124,850 per year (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Advertising Sales Agents

Advertising sales agents may be employed by advertising agencies, broadcasting stations, or Web-based publishers, and job duties typically include making cold calls, meeting with clients, and persuading them to buy advertising space. High school graduates may be considered; some employers may be predisposed to graduates of 4-year degree programs. The BLS reports that advertising sales managers earned median annual wages of $48,490 in May 2015, with a 3% decline in job openings expected from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov).

Sales Managers

Sales managers work in conjunction with other professionals, such as marketing mangers, and their responsibilities typically include training and supervising sales representatives, analyzing reports, and establishing selling objectives. Substantial experience in the field may serve as a substitute for education, which typically includes a bachelor's or master's degree in a relevant area of study. The BLS reports that sales managers can expect a 5%, or fast-as-average, increase in employment opportunities nationwide from 2014 to 2024. In May 2015, the median annual wage for a sales manager was $113,860, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).

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