Top 3 Similarities and Differences Between Product Marketing and General Marketing

Earlier this year, I shifted from general marketing into product marketing. Since the move, I’ve found myself explaining the differences between the two. Yet I’ve realized there are many similarities. I’ve noticed these 3 ways that these roles are similar and different at the same time

  1. 1. Messaging and positioning – Product marketing requires strong skills in messaging and positioning like any good marketer. While a marketer may focus on corporate-level messages, product marketers drive how a company talks about their products internally and externally.
  2. 2. Personas –  While the marketer focused on the buyer persona, a product marketer focuses on the user. Don’t get me wrong, a user may also be a buyer of the product. Rather than understanding how buyers move through the funnel, product marketing focuses on making the user instantly fall in love with the product and continue using it. The questions we ask include why does she use the product, how does she use the product, what feature(s) is she most concerned about and why, etc.
  3. 3. Research & surveys – The research I’ve done throughout my career tended to be with the dual goal of one – what is newsworthy to drive PR and thought leadership and two – how will this drive demand gen efforts. While these are considerations for product marketing, the main goal is to help support the product development cycle. Rather than relying on gut or anecdotal data, this research helps pinpoint feature gaps, user behavior and sentiment, and technology trends that product management can reference when planning what features to incorporate into the product.

Bonus Similarity

  • 4. Competitive Intelligence – Every role requires keeping track of competitors. Due to the number of priorities in marketing, competitive intelligence was more cursory into pricing, key messages, and maybe a handful of strengths and weaknesses. In product marketing, competitive intelligence is definitely more nuanced. It is one of the key responsibilities alongside product management. The competitive intelligence work I do today definitely cascades to sales, marketing and beyond.


For organizations with smaller team, marketers oftentimes take on projects or tasks related to “product marketing.” As I’ve transitioned from general marketing to product marketing, I’m realizing just how important this role is. Product marketers help translate the “tech speak” of product management and development into clear, concise and understandable sound bites. Without them, we may all be talking about bits and bytes.

What are your thoughts?

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