Planning a new product requires many creative minds meeting in one place to successfully bring something into the world that helps the people it’s intended to help. For those that want to be the head of such a rewarding venture, a career in product planning is ideal. The salary isn’t bad either.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics places the salary range for a product planner at $64,390 and $108,710 a year, a very sizable sum of money with a few perks thrown in for good measure. The compensation packages for product planners can be quite impressive. Bonuses and incentives are always available for those product planners that do the most to help their respective companies create profitable products. Commissions for product planners are also a possibility.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
An impressive base salary, generous compensation packages, and commissions make the salary planning profession highly desirable. Expect plenty of competition to acquire those highly prized salaries.
Job Description and Outlook
Research is the central component of the product planner’s occupation. As a product planner, it’s your duty to conduct extensive market research on any products that you’re put in charge of. Your position will make you the authority on just what your product is. You must understand your product well, know its audience, and perfect flawless research to ensure that the product receives the kind of production, advertising, and budget it needs to meet expectations.
There are generally four stages to the life of any product. This cycle is something that you’ll have to be extremely familiar with during every stage of product planning. You’re working with something long-term that might be a product in a company for as long as the company exists. It’s your job to oversee every step of development and anticipate market changes and product evolution. During the introduction, growth, maturity, and decline stages of your product, you’ll be responsible for making sure that your company earns the most profit it can from each stage of the product’s lifetime. Costs, markets, and pricing are just a few of the key concepts of your research.
Product planners work on every facet of production. They must be knowledgeable about manufacturing, design, and engineering, and always be up to date on the testing needed for these stages of production so that they can maintain safety standards. A product planner must anticipate problems before they occur or quickly fix problems when they occur. It’s a demanding, highly skilled occupation that requires constant focus, but it’s also a very financially rewarding job with the possibility for promotion when things go well.
Training and Education Requirements
Business administration is usually the preferred bachelor’s of choice for employers of product planners. This type of education provides you with the business background you need to understand the life-cycle of products and the manufacturing and profit concepts you’ll need to be adept at using for your planning. Markets, advertising, accounting, and budgeting will also be important subjects of your business education that will allow you to manage products effectively for the company that employs you. Higher positions are always available to planners that have a bachelor’s degree because employers rightly feel that the additional knowledge obtained by getting a college degree will make their planners more successful. Advancement opportunities are available to those that either have an advanced degree or are working toward an advanced degree while working as product planners.
When a job offers the potential for so much advancement, an education is almost always something you’ll want to pursue. Even when it’s not required, attain the highest level of education possible to enjoy the highest salary and chance for advancement. By doing this, you increase your chances of finding the kind of job and office setting that will make you the happiest.
Business degrees sometimes offer a specializing degree in product planning and management. Pursing this type of emphasis can help you become more highly certified to be a product manager, therefore increasing your chance of a higher salary as a better position on the team.
Planners can obtain certifications that include Certified Product Manager, Certified Product Marketing Manager, and Agile Certified Product Manager. You’ll need to take exams on business case studies, study competitive analysis, and stage gate management processes that involve a product’s development time. Planners that receive certification in one or all of these areas show employers that they’re committed to a lifetime career in product planning and that they’re more knowledgeable than their counterparts that chose not to get the certification. The certification can result in raises or better paying positions.
The Association of International Product Marketing and Management and the Product Development and Management Association are the two most widely respected and recognized professional associations that a product planner can join to further their career. Members are able to stay up to date with the latest skills needed by product managers, learn new industry trends, and stay knowledgeable about the requirements for upgrading skills for employers. You’ll get educational materials such as books and be able to attend conferences that network you with others that are active in the field of product planning.
Most popular business careers:
- Business Administration
- Business Manager
- Claims Adjuster
- Human Resources
- Project Manager
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