Career Paths

Is it Feasible to Transition from Digital Marketer to Product Manager?

min read
Mikaela Thompson

In general terms, the product manager fits between the end customer and the entire organization tasked to produce, market, and sell the best possible product. The PM is concerned with creating a roadmap for the future development of a product and interacting with the team to check on the status and progress of feature implementation. Selecting the right PM can be the difference in launches that crash and burn and those that outdo the organizational goals.  In short, the best PM will have creative vision as well as technical capabilities. S/he must be a strong leader, especially in managing multiple teams and a very strong communicator. 

On the other hand, a digital marketer’s role engages technologies, such as, websites, e-mail, web apps, mobile apps, and social media for the purpose of marketing a product. They’re primarily involved with content creation and marketing. Clearly, the two roles intersect. In fact, product management and digital marketing work in tandem for product activation, customer retention, revenue, and referral etc that ensures a business’ growth. The insights and strategic input of each function makes them mutually dependent. 

So, not only is it possible to make the switch from digital marketing to product management, but you’ll also bring with you some essential overlapping skills in data analytics, sales, and marketing. Therefore, building the foundation of the product manager role has already begun. Rest assured, you don’t need to “have it all”, marketing, design, data analytics and technical skills, from the get-go.

Gray and Black Laptop Computer

Acing the transition.

Your marketing background probably allowed you to collaborate with development teams on planning or delivering a digital product: website, platform, e-shop or features for these, in which case your transition to product management shouldn’t be too overwhelming e.g., you’d be used to a similar scope of tasks and communicating with developers. 

However, this doesn’t mean diving into this new position will be a walk in the park for you. Expect to have to navigate a learning curve. First up, you’ll need to research the prerequisite skills and knowledge and work to fill in the gaps to make yourself a viable candidate. How? By checking the job descriptions of your potential new workplaces and finding out what would be your exact scope of the responsibilities. Of course, you can do some “product management” certificates to kick-start your career but they won’t prepare you for the job requirements and there will always be areas in which you won’t be experienced. Boost your chances of success by taking on an internship. Once you’re in the job, look to your colleagues’ knowledge and learn from them as you go focusing on what you need at each moment of the journey. Don’t overlook the fact your biggest source of information is your development team and if you don’t know about something, ask, and ask again! 

Other ways to help you upskill and prepare for the product manager’s position include, reading up on the latest trends in technology, especially related to your area of product - content, CMS on the news websites; and subscribing to Mind the Product newsletter, which is pretty good for beginning Product Managers. 

Of course, switching jobs always brings new challenges e.g., in this case it could be how to understand IT if you have a scanty background in it, or never having had so many stakeholders and priorities to manage, or dealing with a massive backlog etc. Be humble and open to learning new things to set yourself up for success.

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Helpful related courses:

There aren’t very many specialized Product Management Courses to choose from yet but there are related courses which will help with your preparation and upskilling for the PM role: e.g., check out H academy which offers courses on: Data Science and Analytics, Digital Marketing, UX/UI, Coding all of which will benefit you in this new role. Better still, they’re offering a 25% discount to get you started right now!  

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