Product specialist is a profession that focuses on managing a product throughout its life cycle. Product specialists, commonly known as product managers, ensure companies produce the right product at the right time to maximize their commercial value. They work on the technical development of products, identify business opportunities for products, establish marketing and promotional strategies, and maintain awareness on competing products.
Using the Skills
Product specialists need excellent technical skills to perform their duties competently. For example, a product specialist for a software company needs computer programming skills and knowledge of advanced algorithms. Product specialists also need excellent problem-solving and communication skills to resolve challenges associated with product management, such as distribution and logistical challenges, and communicate solutions effectively with members of the product team.
Developing Product Designs
The main responsibilities of a product manager include determining the design of the product, developing strategies to maximize its sales, and achieving company revenue goals. For example, when a software company wants to develop accounting software for health care facilities, the product specialist may contribute to its design by researching the features potential clients could want the product to have. When the product is ready, the specialist sets a price and effective marketing strategies, and creates training materials for educating customer-service representatives and sales agents.
Monitoring Market Activity
Product specialists also spend time monitoring the performance of competing products. For example, an automobile product specialist may analyze competing car models to identify how his employer’s product can be enhanced to better compete with rivals. Product specialists also identify new markets for upcoming and existing products, serve as product ambassadors in seminars and conferences, and maintain positive business relationships with clients.
Getting In and Doing Well
Product specialists often come from technical or business backgrounds related to the industry in which they work. For example, a product specialist in a service industry often will have a bachelor's degree in business management, economics or marketing. Employers in the pharmaceutical field may prefer specialists with degree in health sciences. Product specialists usually break into this position from junior technical, sales or marketing roles. Greater experience and advanced education can help product specialists rise within the ranks to more lucrative and challenging jobs.