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Product Strategist Vs. Product Manager

Sep 30, 2019

There are a plethora of confusing and overlapping titles in the business world. This article establishes the differences and similarities between product strategists and product managers, two important roles for the long-term success of any business.

Comparing Product Strategist to Product Manager Jobs

Product strategists and product managers share the common goal of developing products tuned to the latest market research. However, while product managers focus on developing a specific product, strategists create long-term strategies for future product lines.

Job Title Educational Requirements Average Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Product Strategist Bachelor's degree $101,057 5-9% (for marketing strategists)
Product Manager Bachelor's degree $82,916 8% (for advertising, promotions and marketing managers)

Sources: *Payscale.com **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Product Strategists vs. Product Managers

A product manager schedules, tracks and allots company resources for the development of one specific product. Rather than working in the day-to-day design of a product, strategists conduct research and propose strategies for product lines and total business development. They are, in some senses, senior-level product managers. Product strategists might research their company's performance over time and strategize about how to move forward.

Product Strategist

A product strategist conducts research and analyzes their company's product performance. Their research allows them to make informed decisions on how their company can develop products and increase sales. They typically spend the majority of their time working regular business hours in an office. They must also be great communicators to sell their long-term growth plan to investors and upper-level management. Product strategists who prove themselves can advance to senior-level marketing positions.

Job responsibilities of product strategists include:

  • Gathering and analyzing data about customers, competitors, and current openings in the market
  • Understanding the needs of their customers and present these needs within the company
  • Presenting complex research findings to management in easy-to-understand manner by using slide presentations, graphs and charts
  • Designing and evaluating ideas for new products
  • Designing long-term goals to ensure that their company stays relevant and produces products that sell

Product Manager

A product manager designs and produces new products to fill identified gaps in the market. They are in charge of a product's development from the earliest brainstorming stages all the way through production and marketing. They have the authority to create teams, set budgets, or supply company resources to ensure that they meet company deadlines. They must be able to stay in touch with trends to identify opportunities for new products. They tend to work regular hours either in an office or production center. Successful product managers can advance to positions in product strategy or mid-level management.

Job responsibilities of product managers include:

  • Creating and monitoring budgets for product development
  • Designating roles to their team by thinking critically about the work dynamic, strengths and weaknesses of all their employees
  • Staying on top of trends to determine market openings for new products
  • Reporting the progress of a product to investors, clients and upper-level management.
  • Fostering a positive team culture
  • Writing selling points and design strategies to sell their product

Related Careers

If you are interested in becoming a product strategist, you may also enjoy a career as an account development manager, since both jobs involve market research and analysis. If you are more interested in product management, consider a career as a product category manager where you will employ similar marketing techniques to ensure your company's products sell.

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