Assistant product manager is an entry-level job typically found in large, consumer-facing businesses. These include companies manufacturing and selling fast-moving consumer goods, such as foods, household products and cosmetics. But you can also find an assistant product manager working for a retail bank or a software development company. An assistant product manager works with the product manager on planning and marketing a single product. The product manager's role focuses on the strategic direction of the company's products -- for example, if a cookie manufacturer is going to develop a partner line of cakes. Her assistant, however, concentrates on understanding and meeting the customer's needs and on actually getting the products made and sold.
Before a product is developed, the assistant product manager works with the marketing department to commission and manage market research. This will look at customer needs that are not being met by current products and what the competitors are doing. The research may also gauge how much customers would be willing to pay for a new product and how many of them are likely to buy it.
Armed with the knowledge from the research, the assistant product manager works with the research and development department to create, refine and test the product. Depending on the field in which they are working, they may develop a pilot product to be tested by consumers. The assistant product manager reviews the results of the pilot and discusses changes to be made to the product before launch.
During the product development phase, the assistant product manager works simultaneously with the marketing department and with sales on how best to promote and sell the product. This includes decisions about pricing, packaging, advertising, special offers, media and other promotional tools. As most consumer goods are sold through retailers, the sales department provides useful advice on selling to these business customers. This allows the assistant product manager to maintain her focus on the end-consumer.
Particularly with a new product, there may be questions and complaints from customers. These always come back to the assistant product manager. She answers and deals with inquiries and problems, sometimes going back to the product development stage to make changes.
No sensible company sits back and forgets about its products once they are launched. A key part of the assistant product manager's role is monitoring and reporting on the success of the product. She also suggests ways of developing the product or introducing partner products, such as a lemon cake to partner with an existing orange cake.
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