Digital Product Management

The internet has transformed the way we shop. With instant information available at our fingertips, consumers are turning to their devices to access products and services. For this reason, traditional brick-and-mortar stores are turning to e-commerce tactics to maximise profits and increase their brand visibility. Every day, more and more businesses are stepping out of their comfort zone and into the online world to keep up with this changing environment. From fast food giants to local hair salons, businesses across the board are embracing changing technology and hiring people to step into digital roles to take full advantage of the benefits.

However, when every business is competing with each other for visibility, sometimes a social media account and a website isn’t enough to make an impact. A digital product manager will seek out the latest in technology and implement this into your business strategy for a definitive edge against the competition.

What is a digital product manager?

Especially in today’s technologically-driven society, the importance of a digital product manager cannot be underestimated. The force behind the implementation of a product for your business, digital product managers are experienced in the world of intangible commodities such as apps and other software. This isn’t something that is necessarily designed to be sold, rather to further the reach and function of a business. From the inception of an idea, planning and development stages to launch and beyond, the digital product manager follows your product’s journey with a trained eye. A candidate in this role has the capacity to nurture the growth of a product not only using market insights and analytics, but a personal instinct that comes from experience in the digital world.

This role twists the understanding of the traditional manager. On hiring someone for this position, a term associated with supervision morphs into a hands-on, technical role that is a key decision maker in all aspects of the process. Though similar in title, the roles of the digital project manager and digital product manager vary greatly. If the digital project manager is the oil that enables the wheels and cogs of each team to operate smoothly, the digital product manager is the powerful locomotive driving the product towards the destination of success in the digital scope.

What skills are necessary for this role?

Due to the complexity of the digital product manager role, a candidate needs to essentially be a jack of all trades. From product planning and technical development to customer relations, a digital product manager is the blend of a diverse range of skills. While technical expertise and business knowledge is to be expected of a candidate in this role, soft skills such as negotiation are incredibly important too.

Technical expertise

A digital product manager needs to have the technical expertise to make educated decisions about their product. An ideal candidate will have experience or training within the digital media sector, ideally using agile software such as Atlassian’s Jira. A base knowledge of UI and UX principles allows the digital product manager to be involved in key decision making, and to foresee the impact these design elements will have for the success of the product.

Clear communication is vital when it comes to creating a digital product. An ability to navigate the jargon and terminology of both the technical and marketing stakeholders means that the digital product manager can make sure that everyone is on the same page, avoiding potential communicative roadblocks that may pop up in the future.

Business skills

While this role is dynamic, ever-changing and creative, the success of this role would be nothing without effective management skills. From formulating a budget to liaising with external vendors, the digital product manager is the string tying each of your operations teams together to achieve targets, ensuring no one is left behind or out of the loop.

When it comes to delivering an app, sticking to time constraints is essential in order to launch on your intended date. The ability to lead a team and drive ideas is integral to the role of a digital product manager. Some who have worked in this role have gone on to become industry leaders – Sundar Pichai started out at Google a digital product manager, and within 11 years became the CEO.

In addition to management skills, a digital product manager needs to be able to forecast and derive data from a range of sources and reports to gather insights about the success of the product. Long after the launch of an app, data still needs to be gathered and analysed in order to reflect on performance and to determine your next iteration – products can always be improved.

Audience understanding

For any business to be successful, a clear understanding of their target audience is essential. A digital product manager needs to have the capacity to gather audience insights and assimilate these into specific user personas and reports from which to base their product. Furthermore, this needs to be supported with relevant market trends and web analytics data in order to create a product that meets not only the criteria of the audience, but has the intended result for the company too.

Working closely with the marketing team, the digital product manager will conduct thorough research to back up audience insights and define strategies for the best outcome for your business. Furthermore, this may include reviewing and revising marketing collateral in relation to your digital product.

What can a digital product manager do for your business?

A digital product manager can transform the way your business operates. Software tailored to the needs of your business has the potential to increase both customer engagement and revenue. Depending on the nature of your business, there will be a variation of what your success criteria entails.

For example, if you run a hair salon, your objective may be to make the process of booking a haircut easier for customers. A digital product manager could implement a simple app where customers can view available time slots on an interactive calendar, and which stylist is available to provide the service. Furthermore, an app in this situation serves as a digital portfolio of work where you can showcase the hair designs your team have created, allowing customers to add styles they like to a list of favourites for future reference.

An app can make functions pertaining to those in corporate businesses not only easier for customers, but for you too. For manufacturers of sports shoes, a digital product manager might seek to integrate the Internet of Things (IoT) into the next design to add extra interactive features into the workouts of your customers, all managed in an app for your brand. The data gathered from this feature will not only inform your customers of their personal athletic performance, but depending on permission settings, allows you to gather insights about different demographics to use in targeted marketing.

What are the benefits of using a recruitment agency to hire for this role?

As digital media covers a wide scope of expertise and channels, there isn’t always a one-size-fits-all candidate when it comes to digital account manager recruitment. This can make seeking candidates for these roles difficult for some hiring managers, as they may not realise what skills they need to solve their business problems. A recruitment agency can assist in establishing your business objectives and identifying which skills are necessary to achieve these goals.

When it comes to recruiting for digital roles, Salt & Shein are the experts. With a comprehensive understanding of the different skill sets necessary for digital roles, Salt & Shein will secure a high-standard of communication professionals for your business through our executive search and contracting services. Our loyal client base is a testament to decades of experience providing in-depth corporate affairs insight to a range of leading organisations, including Microsoft and Apple.

To find out more about what this role can do for your business, get in touch with our team.