Product Management at Sales-Driven and Technology-Driven Companies

Question: "The Blackblot Product Manager's Toolkit® (PMTK) methodology's first foundation rule is 'Product management is comprised of product planning and product marketing'. If so then do sales-driven or technology-driven companies need product management at all?"

Answer: For the most part, sales-driven or technology-driven companies do not need nor do they practice product management.

By its own design, at a technology-driven company the product planning process of identifying and articulating market requirements is profoundly minimized or nonexistent. The technology-driven company is very predisposed to gathering product requirements that are elicited primarily from internal sources, being the company's developers and executives. Providing the best technology is assumed to be an automatic guarantee of success.

At a technology-driven company, product marketing is minimal at best and promotions stress features, not customer needs. Sales are the dominant driving force to get the product to buyers.

At a sales-driven company the product planning process of identifying and articulating market requirements is also very limited as the customer directly and overwhelmingly provides the company's Product Architects with a list of the desired product feature and product requirements. At a sales-driven company the product marketing activities rely on the more simplistic feature-emphasis or price-emphasis marketing methods (rather than value-emphasis); and they are less established than product marketing is at a market-driven company.

At sales-driven or technology-driven companies, individuals titled as Product Managers are mostly relegated to provide logistical support to Development and/or pre-sale support to Sales. In some cases the so-called product managers at these companies are actually Product Architects or Agile Product Owners and they do very little product planning, if at all.

For more information, please see the Blackblot Marketing Model and the "Concept of Marketing" and the "Who's Driving Your Company?" chapters in the PMTK book.