Why do Core PM positions outnumber Growth PM responsibilities?

A few months ago, I transferred from Internet Marketing to a core PM function within. That was a transfer within the company. I’m now considering applying for a Senior Growth PM position in a product-led company because I have strong data, analytics, and experimentation abilities.

Yet, compared to core PM responsibilities, I only observe a very small number of growth PM roles. Does this imply that Core PM is in higher demand than Growth PM?

Also, I’m unclear of the distinction between a Growth PM and a Growth Marketer.


Some companies, in my opinion, might not even have such a role. For those that have, the ratio between Core PM and Growth PM is probably about 3/4 to 1, therefore you will presumably have more Core duties.


In my view, it is primarily a fad role or one that aims to force some new ways of thinking by putting the fox among the chicks. It is derived from the contentious concept of growth hacking, which frequently involves manipulating data to get short-term gains at the expense of long-term gains.

If several PMs don’t consider growth, it usually becomes a problem. Does having just one person focused on it benefit or harm your team? Leaders must make a choice.


The enquiry perplexes me. Literally, the word “core” refers to the normal or anticipated PM archetype. So, it seems to reason that there would be more of these positions available than, say, Growth or Platform.

The opposite side of the coin is Growth, which is a more modern phenomena known as Product-Led Growth. Early in the 2010s, “Growth Hacking” was still a topic of conversation, and only recently has the function begun to reach maturity in its original market (SF Bay Area). Some markets, though, don’t operate that way. In fact, PLG or Growth functions are still largely unknown or underutilised in many tech centre markets around the world.

The majority of your concerns are thus allayed by the fact that Growth is a “non-core” PM archetype and that it is still very early in the adoption curve.

Have you attempted to sell Growth to influential people in your market? You may be able to bring about the change you desire.


There may be several reasons why there are more core Product Manager (PM) roles than Growth PM roles:

  1. Core product management roles are more established: Core PM roles have been around longer than Growth PM roles, so there is more demand for these positions in established companies.
  2. Core PM roles are more critical to a company’s success: Core PMs are responsible for managing the development of a company’s core product or service, which is essential to its success. Thus, there is a greater need for these roles.
  3. Growth PM roles require a more specialized skill set: Growth PMs need to have a strong understanding of user acquisition, retention, and revenue generation, as well as experience in experimentation and data analysis. These skills are more specialized and may not be as common as the skills needed for core PM roles.
  4. Companies may not see the value of Growth PM roles: Some companies may not understand the importance of growth and may prioritize other areas, such as engineering or design, over growth. Thus, they may not see the need for Growth PM roles.

Thus, the reasons for the discrepancy in the number of Core PM roles versus Growth PM roles are likely multifaceted and can vary depending on the company and industry.


The core product manager (aka the classic product manager) focuses on creating added value, that is, a more effective way to solve the problem of target users. On the other hand, the growth product manager finds ways to deliver the product’s value to the maximum number of people who can benefit from it. Source: Gopractice.io


In my opinion, there are many people who think they can handle the growth PM responsibilities in any given firm, but those same individuals don’t think they are technically qualified for core PM.

I’m not sure what it’s called, but there’s always a sort of “down the stack” pressure; the more technical you are, the more you’re pushed towards execution, with marketing types wanting to occupy the product and analysis area.

A classic example would be when sales attempted to control the roadmap or when the PM was expected to complete BA-style tasks like field mappings.


That could be a possible perspective, as some individuals may feel more confident in their ability to contribute to growth and marketing efforts than in their technical skills. In addition, Growth PMs often have to work closely with the marketing team, and individuals with a marketing background may feel more comfortable in these roles than in technical Core PM roles.

However, it’s worth noting that both Core PM and Growth PM roles require a range of skills, including technical skills, business acumen, and the ability to communicate effectively with various stakeholders. Growth PMs need to understand the product and its technical capabilities to identify areas for growth and experimentation. Similarly, Core PMs need to have a deep understanding of the market, the customers, and the company’s business goals to develop and manage the product roadmap effectively.

So basically, the best PMs are those who have a well-rounded skill set and can effectively balance technical and business considerations to drive growth and success for their company.


The work from a Growth PMs strategy is often implemented in part by Growth Marketers. Hence, this could involve creating copy and assets for marketing campaigns, setting up a CRM, etc. Getting things done is usually the centre of a marketer’s role; strategy-setting is rarely included. Sometimes, but usually at the Director+ level, someone will set the marketing strategy in collaboration with the product.


Growth is still a relatively new area, while core product management has been around for a while.


Yes, that’s correct @MarcoSilva. While the concept of growth has always been important for businesses, the formalization of growth as a discipline within product management is a relatively recent development. Growth product management, which focuses on user acquisition, retention, and revenue generation, emerged as a response to the need for companies to scale quickly and efficiently in a competitive market.

In contrast, core product management has been around for much longer and is focused on the development and management of a company’s core product or service. Core PMs are responsible for identifying customer needs, prioritizing features, managing the product roadmap, and collaborating with cross-functional teams to bring the product to market.

While both Core PM and Growth PM roles require a range of skills, the focus of each role is different. Core PMs are more focused on the long-term development and management of a product, while Growth PMs are more focused on driving rapid, measurable growth in user acquisition, engagement, and revenue.


And what are some scenarios where you would need a separation?


@cathryncui, Separating Core PM and Growth PM roles can be beneficial in a variety of scenarios, such as:

  1. When a company is experiencing rapid growth: A company that is rapidly scaling may benefit from having dedicated Growth PMs who can focus on driving user acquisition, retention, and revenue growth. This allows Core PMs to focus on the development and management of the core product or service without being distracted by growth-related tasks.
  2. When the core product is mature: In some cases, the core product or service may be mature and stable, with little room for significant new feature development. In these cases, having a dedicated Growth PM who can focus on driving growth and expanding the user base can be highly valuable.
  3. When the company has a diverse product portfolio: Companies with a diverse product portfolio may benefit from having dedicated Core PMs and Growth PMs for each product line. This allows each PM to focus on the specific needs of their product, and ensures that growth efforts are aligned with the overall product strategy.
  4. When the company has a large PM team: In larger companies with a significant PM team, separating Core PM and Growth PM roles can help ensure that everyone is working on tasks that are aligned with their strengths and expertise. This can increase productivity and reduce the risk of burnout or misalignment.

Therefore, separating Core PM and Growth PM roles can help companies effectively manage their product portfolio and ensure that each product is receiving the attention it needs to succeed.

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Growth product manager – The role explained - GoPractice. Here’s an in-depth article that explains the difference between the two roles.

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