A Day in the Life: Product Manager

A Day in the Life: Product Manager was originally published on Vault.

Below is a typical day in the life for Henry Leon, 24, a product manager at L’Oreal. Henry manages the production of Revitalift and Age Perfect creams.

9:00 AM: I tend to get in around nine and get my computer turned on. Then it’s off to the coffee bar with few colleagues. It’s a great place to go for a drink and we’ve also got a good canteen, which you can go to any time of the day. At around 9:15, I head back down to my computer. I check my email in case there is anything urgent. There are sometimes problems that we have to deal with, problems perhaps with levels of stock. I also have to deal with the media side of things. I manage a lot of our relations with creative agencies, which are involved in press, TV, and radio. For instance, we might need to supply the new title of a product that needs to be put in a press ad.

10:00 AM: I check the latest sales data, scan that and receive a daily update on status of stock. I check to see if there are any problems with the levels of particular items. The levels of our items can affect what ads we tend to put out. For instance, if the level of one of our products is running low, it wouldn’t make sense to put out an ad for the product and exacerbate the problem of the low levels of stock.

11:00 AM: The mornings are normally filled up with meetings. These are often with media agencies, planning agencies, or creative agencies. We discuss what is up-and-coming, usually planning two to three months in advance. In these meetings, we are looking at how we are going to change or review the ads we have in the press. We might discuss a new tactical promotion idea. This is because a greater proportion of our ads are 360-degree plans. This means using a combination of internet, television, and the press. Together with a planning agency, we will work out how we are going to execute a particular marketing strategy. We have to think about our audience and they are experts in that. There might be some legal questions to resolve so that we can make sure that the adverts are legally and scientifically sound.

12:00 PM: We then have a forecasting meeting, which involves logistics and a management committee. Together we plan the coming month’s business. I tend to coordinate meetings and this is fairly easy, as the office is in an open floor plan and we sit next each other.

1:00 PM: Now it’s time for lunch. I generally just grab anyone who is hungry and we head upstairs to the canteen. It’s a great place for eating as you can get steaks made to order. We tend not to talk shop. I tend to go up with my team, and it’s a good time to just talk.

2:00 PM: Every two weeks or every month, we have cross-departmental meetings. This will generally take place with the marketing director and the managing director. Here we deal with issues related to marketing. It will generally be a strategy discussion or a larger problem-solving discussion. I come up with recommendations that we discuss with general management. I tend to have lots of exposure with senior management and it is a good chance to learn a lot. We receive feedback on the ideas and speak to relevant people about actioning the points that have come out of the meeting.

3:00 PM: After the meeting, it is all about getting on with rest of the day. It is a time for me to do some admin, such as making purchase orders and continuing to action the points of the meeting.

4:00 PM: Every two weeks or so, I have a French lesson for an hour, which is provided by the company. Although the main language of the company is English, the company likes its staff to be able to speak French. The lessons are either done one-on-one or in pairs. We mainly learn general French, although there is a definite curb to that French which could be useful in the business. I’m generally doing quite well, although there is still a lot to learn!

5:00 PM: I have a lot of meeting with magazines, either with the promotional team or the sales team. It is a wide range of publications that we deal with. They range from Vogue and Harpers to SAGA and Reader’s Digest. We might have to go to some of the voiceovers for the ads and make sure that the person is reading what we have stipulated in the right way.

6:00 PM: Around this time, I’ll go meet friends or head to the gym. In the summer we finish at three on a Friday and it’s a good opportunity to head down to the pub and have a few drinks.

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