My Product Management & Marketing Rules


This is a list of the rules of product management and product marketing as I see them. I know that there are so many more, and that others can elaborate on them more eloquently; but, as I have a moment, I will continue to grow the list. It’s not meant to be all-encompassing; just simply points to remember as you go along.

If you want to see a rule added, please simply e-mail me, or comment on the page.



Law #19 – Do your Job First. And only.

There is enough work to do when you are in product management or product marketing. Don’t be responsible for doing other roles (operations, project, etc.) .


Law #18 – Tools come last.

Worry about your content before you concern yourself with its delivery. People will forgive a technical flaw in a presentation, but the wrong content will take you out of contention.

Law #17 – Market not Product!

Product Management is about understanding your market; product marketing is letting the market know you listened. The product is secondary.

Law #16 – Think!

Never ask a question when you know the answer is going to be a lie.

Law #15 – Engage

There are not enough product management & marketing professionals. If you don’t engage in the associations, online communities and other social media outlets, you will be shortchanging your own knowledge as well as where you work. Don’t count on others to bring it to you.

Law #14–Domain vs. Experience

Having domain knowledge is a “nice to have”, but you can teach it and acquire it (how did you get it in the first place?) But, having the knowledge of HOW to do this product management and marketing stuff right “requires” experience. Don’t discount that.

Law #13–Market Voice

Listening to the voice of the customer to your business is needed…bringing the voice of the market is a necessity.

Law #12–Don’t wait to invest

If you don’t take the time to invest in your own product management/product marketing education, no one else will. Find a Product Camp, conference or training and build the cost into your budget. You will thank yourself later.

Law #11–Roadmaps are not just for Product Development

Product Marketing should invest in building their own roadmaps (plans and activities that align with the product roadmap) to have the right stuff ready at the right time for the right audience.

Law #10–Build your own community!

Most product managers do not have the luxury of working in organizations with dozens of direct PM peers. If this is you, when you leave the building for your market visits – go meet another product manager. If you can’t leave the building, join a PM community online. This is not a job done on an island! Build a community that can support you.

Law #9–Metric It!

If you can’t measure your efforts, and demonstrate results, the effort simply didn’t happen. Period. No argument; no discussion.

Law #8–Don’t Guess…Know!

Don’t guess that something is right with your market, go investigate and learn whether it is. There are enough easy to use and low/no cost options to gather market feedback. The investment up front is well worth the effort.

Law #7–Remember the Basics

Communication – knowing when/how to listen and when/how to talk is perhaps the most needed, and overlooked, skills in both product management and product marketing. Do this well, and you will win.

Law #6– Outside In

Look at your product/marketing from the view of your customer/market; it’s not important what you think, it only matters what “they” think.

Law #5 – Focus!

Sell your solution, not your technology!

Law #4 – Positioning

Product positioning is as simple, and complicated, as about how you get into the mind of the prospective customer in line ahead of your competitor(s).

Law #3 – Buyer Personas

Know your buyers BEFORE you create marketing materials. Start with knowing the intent of the artifact, what is it suppose to add to the buying process, and proceed only when you have a clear message.

Law #2 – Lead or Step Aside

Armed with data, you have more power than anyone else when it comes to product management and marketing decisions. Get your data, and use it. You are the voice. Lead your environment to understanding and comprehension on why features are important, why the message needs to be clarified. If you aren’t leading with data, step aside. You’re not doing your job.

Law #1 – Get out there!

To quote Pragmatic Marketing – Get out of the Office!

Unless you are the user and buyer of your product, you aren’t the audience. (And, even if you are, you may not represent the audience.) Leave your office; go into the market and get your data. Observe, listen and listen again. You can’t do the work of product management of product marketing in a bubble.

7 thoughts on “My Product Management & Marketing Rules

  1. I am flogging this as pure brilliance! Thanks for writing these down. My only comment in relation to the second law “Lead or Step Aside” is I would probably replace the word “data” with “vision”. I understand why you use data and I would expect that data supports the vision, but as a leader I am leading a team of people towards the vision.


    1. Austin – the metrics that you apply totally depend upon what you are doing? Is it product management? product marketing? backlogs? message effectiveness? There is not one standard answer here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *