Comprehensive Classification of Product Managers

As we all know, the role of a product manager has always been a core position in the non-technical sector of the internet industry. In recent years, with the widespread dissemination of the term "product manager," more and more people aspire to choose a career as a product manager. 

However, with the development of the internet industry, the role of a product manager has evolved significantly. Looking at the current job requirements at various internet giants, we can see that the role of a product manager has branched out into many different specializations. 

Therefore, before seeking a job as a product manager, it's essential to clarify the job scope and differences within these specializations. This will help us find the most suitable career path and give us a clear understanding of our career goals.

Two Distinct Branches of Product Managers

Product managers having a discussion

Based on User Service, Product Manager Positions Can Be Divided Into To Businessnes (ToB) and To Customers (ToC) Product Managers.

ToB Product Managers

ToB product managers are those who serve businesses, and their work demands a deep understanding of the industry's actual business operations. As a result, the demand for these positions is lower, and the barriers to entry are higher. 

ToC Product Managers

ToC product managers cater to everyday consumers, focusing more on product experience and user needs. Due to their broad target audience, the demand for ToC product managers is high, and the barriers to entry are relatively low.

From the Perspective of Job Content, Product Manager Positions Can Be Categorized into Four Types: Demand Product Manager, Business Product Manager, Strategic Product Manager, and Data Product Manager.

Demand Product Manager

Collecting customer feedback

A Demand Product Manager is primarily responsible for identifying and addressing the needs of the customer. They are involved in every stage of the product life cycle, from conception to launch and beyond. They work closely with various teams, including engineering, design, and marketing, to ensure that the product meets the customers’ needs and expectations.

The role of a Demand Product Manager is crucial in shaping the direction of the product. They conduct market research to understand what customers want and need, and then translate these insights into product requirements. They also work with the engineering team to ensure that these requirements are implemented correctly.

In addition, Demand Product Managers are responsible for prioritizing product features based on their potential impact on the customer and the business. This involves making tough decisions about what features to build and when.

Business Product Manager

A Business Product Manager focuses on maximizing the profitability of a product. They are responsible for developing and implementing strategies to increase revenue and market share.

This type of product manager often works closely with sales and marketing teams to identify opportunities for growth. They may also work with finance to analyze the profitability of different product features or offerings.

Business Product Managers need to have a deep understanding of their market and customers. They use this knowledge to make strategic decisions about pricing, distribution, and marketing strategies.

Strategic Product Manager

Managers having a meeting to discuss business strategy

A Strategy Product Manager is responsible for setting the strategic direction of a product. They work closely with senior leadership to align the product strategy with the overall business strategy.

Strategy Product Managers often have a strong understanding of the market and competitive landscape. They use this knowledge to identify opportunities for differentiation and competitive advantage.

In addition, Strategy Product Managers often lead cross-functional teams to execute on the product strategy. This can involve coordinating efforts across engineering, design, marketing, sales, and other teams.

Data Product Manager

A Data Product Manager is focused on leveraging data to drive decision-making and improve products. They work closely with data scientists and analysts to understand trends and patterns in user behavior.

Data Product Managers often have a strong technical background. They need to understand how data is collected, stored, and analyzed. They also need to be able to communicate complex data concepts in a way that non-technical team members can understand.

In addition, Data Product Managers are responsible for ensuring that data is used ethically and responsibly. This can involve working with legal and compliance teams to navigate data privacy regulations.

In a Nutshell

In summary, strategic and data product managers, as emerging roles in recent years, have higher professional requirements for job seekers and offer greater career prospects. Requirement and business product managers have more creative and diverse job content, which can add a lot of interest to our work and life. 

For job seekers looking to enter the field of product management, you can choose and prepare more effectively based on your interests and career goals after understanding the differences between the various product manager positions.