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Who should own pricing? Product marketing or product management? What is the ideal role of either?

4 Answers
Christy Roach
Christy Roach
AssemblyAI VP of MarketingDecember 28
  1. I’ve seen pricing owned by PM, PMM, or finance at different companies. The world that has worked best for me is Product Management as overall directly responsible team or “owner” with PMM as a key stakeholder and part of the decision making group. This is likely because I’ve spent much of my career at product led growth companies where product’s decisions will always highly impact pricing and growth is a part of how the product is built. I essentially see it like this:
    1. PLG or product-led company: If you’re in this situation, having product own pricing is going to be clearest and most effective to make sure pricing is woven into everything you do, not just a side program.
    2. Sales-led or more enterprise focused: PMM is often a better fit here because they have much more context and alignment across GTM teams, product, and customers. They can ensure customer-facing needs are taking into account and the pricing should work primarily for these sellers while also keeping the product experience in mind.
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Jackie Palmer
Jackie Palmer
Pendo.io VP Product MarketingJanuary 25

I've been in both product marketing and product management and in both cases I have owned pricing so I can see it both ways for sure. But (and I admit I might be biased!) I strongly believe that product marketing should own pricing as PMM is often the most cross-functional team and also closest to all the outside influence factors. However, regardless of who owns it, both product management and product marketing should be involved. 

While both teams often have conversations with customers, prospects and sales, in my opinion, the types of questions product management asks and gets are not as often the right types of discussions for determining pricing. Product marketing is often brought in to discuss comparisons to other vendors, has deeper connections to sales, and sees more of the external market through industry analysts, market research etc. Whereas product management often focuses on product usage, current and future use case needs, etc. That's valuable to pricing but not as much as some of the aspects PMM will hear. 

Product management and product marketing should ideally team together on pricing and packaging. Product management can bring a deep understanding of current usage, current costs (working with engineering), future features/products etc that is hugely valuable to product marketing as inputs to setting pricing. Product marketing can bring the external knowledge, the deal knowledge, test things out and shepherd the process. As usual with PM and PMM, it's better together!

310 Views
Sahil Sethi
Sahil Sethi
BetterUp Former Senior Vice President, Product MarketingOctober 6

I rarely see pricing owned by PMs. 

The most common scenarios I see are 

(a) Pricing is a separate function reporting to CPO, CMO, CRO, BU-head or CFO, and is a peer to product marketing. This is a model in mature companies 

(b) Pricing reports to product marketing - true for late stage/growth stage companies

(c) Nobody owns pricing and the work is fragmented between PMM, Rev-ops and Finance. These are usually startups/companies that haven't achieved PMF at scale.

I am biased but i am a fan of Product marketing owning pricing. Here's why?

  • Being good at pricing requires understanding the customers, the product, the use cases, the competitive dynamics, the customer value outcomes etc. Guess what- that's what makes a good PMM too
  • A product's pricing/packaging should reflect its messaging, and vice versa. A premium product needs to be described as such. No dropping the ball if the same team is doing this
  • I believe PMMs should be accountable for the key revenue/adoption metrics for a product. This isn't possible if they don't own pricing. 
  • A lot of pricing/packaging transformations fail for one of two reasons - (a) poor internal change management (not training sales propertly) or(b) poor customer messaging comms. Both of these are core PMM disclipline

To be clear - I am not advocating for every single PMM to be incharge of pricing. I am suggesting we build a small pricing/packaging disclipline within the PMM team - subject matter expert(s) who are analytical, understand the fundamentals of pricing/packaging work, can work closely with finance/rev-ops and ofcourse with customers, PMs, sales and more. Even having a pricing person in the team meetings changes the dynamics of the PMM team - making them more analytical, more in tune with their product's financial performance and makes them better at understanding the psychology of customer decision making

369 Views
Linda Sonne-Harrison

Pricing–and ownership of pricing–is often a loaded topic for companies. My view is that product marketing, not product management, should own pricing. (Of course I am biased because I am a product marketer!) Why? Product management’s primary focus should be on the vision for the product. Product marketing is responsible for bringing that product to market. Pricing is an integral part of a go-to-market strategy, one of the 4 P’s.

At the highest level, pricing is driven by:

  1. Company: Marginal cost to produce/ operate, overall business strategy
  2. Customer: The value that customers perceive that they could realize by solving the problem that your product solves
  3. Competitor: The amount that customers would pay to competitors or substitutes to solve that problem

Of course, product management and product marketing both have responsibilities in all three C’s. Product management is typically more involved in #1 (along with Finance), product marketing in #2 and #3 (along with Sales).

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