A product planning manager is an experienced professional responsible for developing and overseeing processes by which products are introduced into new markets. For example, a product planning manager might be responsible for conducting research that enables executives to determine which products they should develop and to whom they should be sold. Once projects are created, a planning manager might take part in describing a product's features and benefits. It is also common for product planning managers to guide and instruct marketing professionals who develop campaigns.
In many cases, a product planning manager is highly trained, often with a graduate degree in a field such as marketing or management. It also is common for professionals in this field to have many years of experience within a certain industry. A planning manager should have solid knowledge regarding factors such as pricing, trends, and technological developments. He or she also should have a strong grasp of laws and regulations that affect an industry in which he or she works.
Product planning managers play a large role in determining the direction of a company. They gather business intelligence based on competitor behaviors, market research, and economic outlooks to create proposals. These proposals can be for new products or for products that executives are unsure how to price and sell.
Once a business begins producing a product, a product planning manager might work to determine how it should be packaged and sold. By studying client demographics, he or she can figure out whom marketing campaigns should target. This research also can guide when a product is introduced and how it is priced.
A product planning manager also might compose a product portfolio. This is a matrix or chart that shows how a company's products perform in various markets. Information acquired from a portfolio can help executives to learn with which products they are having the most success, and where they might want to consider cutting production costs due to low profit margins.
When a company begins marketing its products, it alters campaigns to match the behaviors and tastes of those in different regions. For example, a marketing campaign in a small rural area might not be as effective in a densely populated urban area. A product planning manager commonly works closely with marketing professionals to ensure that sales tactics meet the needs of particular regions. His or her decisions normally are guided by market research performed in each of these regions.