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What's the Right Ratio for Product or Solution Success

September 11, 2014 | By Lisa Singer

What is the typical ratio of product marketers to product managers in b-to-b organizations is a question we often get. Find out what we have found.

We are often asked about the typical ratio of product marketers to product managers in b-to-b organizations. Here is what we have found: There is no typical ratio. Based on the data we have collected over the past few years from companies of various sizes and industries, the average ratio is 2.6 product managers to one product marketer. The ratios don’t differ much by company size. Assuming that many of these product managers have multiple offerings under their purview, the average product marketer may be overseeing five products or more.

Glass Half FullWhat does this ratio tell us? First, product marketing is still understaffed, but perhaps not as much as it was several years ago. Our data show that many high-growth companies have a one-to-one ratio, and a good number have more product marketers than product managers. Of course, many high-growth companies still understaff product marketing.

I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, so I think this data reveals a greater understanding of the role product marketing plays in the success of product offerings. Perhaps organizations are acknowledging that product marketing is not just about writing content and creating demand, but that it also plays a pivotal role in identifying the optimal market opportunity and clarifying buyer needs, leading to a more market-focused offering.

But then the glass-half-empty side of me says it’s likely that the companies that have one product marketer to 11 product managers (our most lopsided ratio) may have their own way of defining these roles. It’s likely that their product managers are taking on typical product marketing responsibilities such as segmentation, persona development and messaging. At the end of the day, the important point is that these key product marketing activities are completed prior to building an offering for market.

We’d like hear from you: What is the ratio of product managers to product marketers in your company?

Lisa Singer

Lisa Singer is a Senior Research Director of Product Management Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Lisa has more than 20 years of international experience with global marketing and product management, with an emphasis on strategic alliance and business development. Follow Lisa on Twitter @lisagsinger.

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