Job Search

Product Specialist vs. Product Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A product specialist and a product manager are both important roles in the development and marketing of products. If you’re interested in a career in product development or marketing, understanding the similarities and differences between these two positions can help you decide which is the best fit for you. In this article, we compare and contrast the job titles of product specialist and product manager, and we provide additional information on each role.

What is a Product Specialist?

A Product Specialist is typically responsible for the promotion and sale of a company’s products or services. They work closely with customers to understand their needs and recommend the best solution. Product Specialists often give presentations, demonstrations or training on how to use a product. They may also work with the marketing team to develop sales collateral such as brochures, website content or case studies. Product Specialists typically have a deep knowledge of the products they represent and stay up-to-date on new product features and releases.

What is a Product Manager?

Product Managers are responsible for the development and success of a company’s products. They collaborate with cross-functional teams to bring products to market. They conduct market research to determine the needs and wants of target consumers. They develop product strategies and roadmaps to guide the development of new products. They also create marketing plans to promote the products. In addition, Product Managers work with Sales teams to develop pricing strategies and train them on the features and benefits of the products. They also provide support to customers after the product is launched.

Product Specialist vs. Product Manager

Here are the main differences between a product specialist and a product manager.

Job Duties

Product specialists carry out a variety of tasks to ensure the success of their products. They may conduct market research, talk to customers and evaluate competitor products to determine what features are most appealing to consumers. These professionals also communicate with manufacturers to receive feedback about product ideas and develop marketing strategies for targeted audiences.

Product managers oversee many different responsibilities related to a product’s development and life cycle. They collaborate with other team members, such as engineers and designers, to decide on a product’s features. Product managers also monitor budgets and deadlines while keeping an eye on a product’s competition in the marketplace. After a product is released, these professionals monitor sales figures to make adjustments where necessary.

Job Requirements

Product specialists and product managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many product specialists and product managers pursue certifications through the National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) or the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use purchasing software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Product specialists and product managers typically work in different environments. Product specialists usually work in retail stores, where they interact with customers to help them find the products that best meet their needs. They may also work in warehouses or shipping facilities to ensure that products are delivered on time and in good condition.

Product managers often work in offices, where they collaborate with other members of a team to develop new products and improve existing ones. They may travel to visit manufacturing plants or attend trade shows to promote their products.


Product specialists and product managers share some similarities in the skills they use on the job. Both roles require excellent communication skills, as they need to be able to explain complex products and concepts to customers, clients and other team members. They also both need strong organizational skills to keep track of various products, deadlines and projects.

However, there are some key differences in the skills required for these two roles. Product specialists benefit from having strong research skills, as they often need to collect data and feedback about products. They also need to have analytical skills to interpret this information and make recommendations about changes or improvements to products. Product managers typically need more business-focused skills, such as budgeting and marketing. They may also need to have project management experience to coordinate the efforts of different teams working on a product.


Product specialists earn an average salary of $63,270 per year, while product managers earn an average salary of $98,439 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the industry in which you work and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


Treasury Analyst vs. Accountant: What Are the Differences?

Back to Job Search

Plant Manager vs. Operations Manager: What Are the Differences?