On small teams, channel marketers often need to wear many different hats. As an inbound marketer that works with B2B tech companies, I often find myself in the role of virtual CMO for companies without significant marketing resources in-house.

And while many very small tech companies will begin aggressively marketing their services without really thinking through their product roadmap, there are many lessons that can be learned from professional product managers – which even the smallest marketing teams ought to listen to.

I’ve always had a strong appreciation for the product manager role, both in the content creation I did for the Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) team in Redmond many moons ago and more recently in my company’s role as a HubSpot Certified Partner.

To learn more about what product managers do best – and how I could apply that knowledge to be a more effective inbound marketer for our clients – I spent this past Saturday at ProductCamp South Florida. 

The full-day event in Fort Lauderdale was actually an un-conference, so the day began when I was given a handful of blue stickers and asked to vote on about a dozen proposed topics. The sessions with the most votes were scheduled: 3 timeslots of 3 concurrent sessions. The sessions without sufficient numbers of votes were nixed.

So here are the top 8 takeaways that I learned at ProductCamp South Florida that channel marketers should take to heart:

  1. There is more to product management than just the product. The key word is management.  (Steve Johnson, Co-founder, and Chief Evangelist at Applied Frameworks)

  2. Product management is about combining four types of expertise: business, market, domain, and technology. Job postings want all four, but you really need to get two, realistically.  (Johnson)

  3. Rather than an inward company focus, product managers need to focus externally on customers and the market. (Calvin Marshall, Former Product Manager at FedEx, Commerce One, and DHL) 

  4. Launching promotional activities without fully addressing product issues is a recipe for absolute disaster. (Marshall)

  5. Corporate entities see startups as disruptors because they can move much faster. (Alex Polanco, Mobile Product Manager at Celebrity Cruises and Serial Entrepreneur) 

  6. Product managers that want to use lean startup strategies must focus on three steps: build, measure, and learn from it. (Polanco)

  7. When creating a minimum viable product (MVP), don’t think about what it’s going to become two years from now. (Polanco)

  8. To build valuable online communities that help product managers build a great user experience. (Jake Wengroff, Founder of JXB1 Social Business) 

If you missed this event – about 60 people were there – and you want to learn more about product management in this kind of setting, there are actually ProductCamp events all over the globe. 

This was the second ProductCamp South Florida event. And I know the organizing committee, led by Barry Doctor and Jennifer Doctor, is already planning next year’s event.

You can follow ProductCamp South Florida on Twitter and join its LinkedIn Group.


What lessons do you think channel marketers could learn from product managers? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Comments (2)