PMs should always lead voice of the customer (VoC) programs
While PMMs need to have their ear close to the ground when it comes to customer feedback, it's ultimately the PM who will use the feedback to make product decisions. Additionally, PMs should never be in a situation where product feedback is "second-hand" or being prioritized by someone who doesn't own the roadmap.
Pricing and packaging is typically a PMM function.
PMM and PM roles vary greatly across companies, but there are some common differences:
I love this question since I recently made the PMM to PM transition!
Trust is the most important factor in a PM / PMM relationship.
When I was a PMM, I worked with many Product Managers who did not understand the role of a PMM. They believed that the PMMs only role was to communicate the launch of a feature. This misconception often stems from the fact that in some teams PMs doesn't see value beyond the feature launch and PMMs do little to dispel the notion.
So, how do PMMs and PMs build trust and work more effectively?
Usually Marketing, but in some smaller companies Product.
PMs and PMMs will almost always have very close relationships (and if you don't then that's a problem). So, it usually doesn't matter which organization PMM reports into. However, at larger companies there can be some misalignment of priorities if PMMs report into the product management team.
PMM teams that report into product become too narrowly focused on launches. PMMs typically cover a wide range of responsibilities, beyond just features. For examples, PMMs at Zendesk work on customer stories, industry solutions, sales enablement, pricing and packaging, competitor and market research. If PMMs are reporting into product, these other functions can become deprioritized.
Further, while the PM / PMM relationship is most important, a close second is the relationship with the rest of the marketing team and sales. Sitting in the Product team pushes PMMs further away from other crucial partners and makes it harder to build trust and credibility with those teams.
But, this isn't always the case at smaller companies. In some smaller companies having PMM within the Product team can help streamline launches, roadmap planning, as well as competitor/market research. Typically smaller companies have marketing teams focused on growth and performance marketing only, two functions which are far removed from PMM. As such it can often be tough to align the goals and targets of a Marketing team in a smaller company with that off a PMM. I want to be clear, I'm not saying this is a one-size fits all and there are plenty of smaller companies where it absolutely makes sense for PMM to report into Marketing.
Both roles are quite tough to get into without experience, but PM is marginally easier.
Finally, it's worth highlighting that, in general, both roles are hard to get into. There are very few entry-level PM or PMM roles. If you only have an undergraduate degree you are unlikely to land a PM or PMM spot. I've had many colleagues who've had extensive careers, done an MBA and then transitioned into a PMM role. Similarly, many PMs come with long software engineering backgrounds.
If you are a new graduate and looking for a PMM or PM role, I would recommend looking for PM internsips and transitioning this into a full-time position (PMM internships exist but are less common for the factors mentioned above). The alternative is to go into one of the other careers mentioned above (marketing, sales, biz dev before going into PMM or software engineering before becoming a PM).
In almost all cases you want to have Product Marketing creating the roadmap deck and delivering it, rather than Product. There are two main reasons for this.First, some PMs (please don't hate me) tend to focus more on describing the feature rather than articulating the value and benefit. Of course there are many skilled PMs that can do both, however it’s unlikely all your PMs will be able to do it consistently. Customers don’t care about the specifications of the feature, they want to understand what problems it would solve. It's the Product Marketers job to make the connection between the feature and its real world benefits.
Second, you want to provide a holistic roadmap that tells a unified story. So, it makes much more sense to have a Product Marketer understand the different features that are coming and weave it into a narrative that is relevant for the different segments or verticals you are targeting. Even if a Product Manager is able to describe the benefits of a feature, it’s unlikely they have the time to look across all the other products and weave them together. So, Product Marketing should create a roadmap that sells the benefits and tells a clear story to the customer. Sales and Success can then take this and present it to the customer as part of their regular meetings.
This happens a lot more than you might think. The Product team looks at the market and decides to build a feature. The feature is rolled out as an early alpha and customers are disappointed. What do you do? This is actually one of the easier scenarios in which to influence the roadmap. A few years ago we rolled out an integration with a 3rd party instant messaging service. The integration worked without a problem, but we noticed that not many customers were signing upto the Alpha (even though they had committed to using it). I was tasked to gather feedback on what was going on. After conducting a few customer interviews it became clear that while the integration was solid, customers were looking for more than just a basic connector. They needed reporting, routing, and a whole host of other features. I put a roadmap outlining the features, the customer's making the requests, as well as the revenue associated with each opportunity. This was one of the more straightforward examples in my career where I was able to influence the roadmap and it was because the issue was discovered as the product was being built and the roadmap was being constructed.
Discussing the roadmap with customers is a critical step in product development because it helps validate and clarify your strategy. It’s tough to give a one-size fits all rule for when to share the product roadmap as it depends on the industry, customer maturity, segment, and numerous other factors. For example, at Zendesk, we sell to customer service and sales leaders and their time horizon is in the 6-12 month range. That is, they are budgeting and planning at least a year in advance. So, it’s important that we show them what’s coming in (roughly) that timeframe. How the roadmap is communicated depends on the size of the customer and your relationship with them. For smaller customers and prospects we have a quarterly webinar which does a look back and look ahead of all the product releases. This is a scalable forum for customers to see everything we’ve built and ask questions on what’s coming. For larger customers, we partner with Sales and Customer Success to do roadmap walkthroughs.Finally, it’s rare to show large prospective customers a detailed roadmap. We will explain our long term goals and vision, but getting into the minutiae of individual features is usually not relevant for prospects.