Do I Need a Product Manager Or Strategist?

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Do I Need a Product Manager Or Strategist?

There are so many different and confusing job titles in product management. It can be hard to decide which position(s) you need in your company. Some people use the term product manager and strategist interchangeably, but there are distinct differences between the two roles.

Product managers and strategists drive decisions regarding the products your company offers. They choose which problems they’re going to solve for your customers or potential customers. They both turn grand visions into viable products that make our lives easier.

Product managers and strategists approach the situation from different angles. They may have opposing priorities, but both are important to your business. They drive your business forward and both perspectives are good to keep your business on the winning track. 

Let’s compare the difference between a product strategist vs product manager!

A product manager focuses on developing a specific product, while a product strategist creates long-term strategies for future product lines. A product manager will manage your company’s resources to develop a specific product that satisfies a consumer need. 

A strategist will conduct market research and analysis to propose new product lines for development. These may be products that consumers don’t even know that they need yet. 


A product manager role covers a wide range of skills. The average salary for a product manager in the United States is $86,866 in 2021 with a range between $76,770 and $106,777. 

Skills Needed

  • Knowledge of the market, customers and product

  • Business expertise to keep your product profitable

  • Leadership skills

  • Operational skills


The Role Of A Product Manager In The Successful Development Of A Product -  Technosoups

Source: Technosoups

A product manager will define the product vision and  product plan. They will design and produce a product to fill a gap in the market. They begin a product’s development in the brainstorming stage, then move the product through testing, production, marketing and sales.

Job responsibilities of a product manager include:

  • Create and monitor budgets for product development.

  • Act as the voice of the customer by communicating the buyer’s needs.

  • Work closely with marketing, sales and engineering to ensure customer goals are satisfied.

  • Has technical knowledge about the product.

  • Define the market need and how to solve the problem.

  • Develop the business case and positioning.

  • Report the progress of a product to investors, clients and upper-level management.

  • Foster a positive team culture

Product strategist

A product strategist identifies new opportunities and assesses the company’s product performance. They help develop the company’s long-term strategic plans for future product lines. They take a broader view of product development than the product manager. They use research and analysis to guide the overarching product pipeline. The average salary for a product strategist in the United States is $106,337 in 2021, but the salary range typically falls between $93,948 and $122,055. 

Skills needed

  • Entrepreneurial spirit

  • Tech savvy

  • Superb communication skills 

A product strategist will find new ways to create value for your business and your customers. They look at how the market is changing, what your competitors are doing and the potential long-term needs of your customer. Strategists need to remain flexible and search for new ways to keep your company and its products in the forefront. 

Job responsibilities of a product strategist include:

  • Gather and analyze data about customers, competitors, and current openings in the market

  • Understand the needs of the customer and present these needs within the company.

  • Present complex research findings to management in an easy-to-understand manner.

  • Design and evaluate ideas for new products, markets, channels, partners and revenue streams.

  • Develop long-term goals to ensure that the company stays relevant and produces products that sell.

As you can see both positions are important for your business to stay competitive. These two positions should work closely to provide a continuum of products for your company. 

It is best to determine if your company needs a product strategist vs product manager and if both a product manager and a strategist is the best hiring choice. If your small business would like help determining the best product management team members to hire or if you would like us to help you look strategically at your product line, we’re here to help.

Outlook Business Solutions offers an array of marketing and sales services from strategy planning to copywriting and public relations. We’re here to help you grow your business and inspire your customers.