The term service line management refers to the healthcare industry’s version of a longstanding marketing approach called product management. Since its inception in the 1950s, the product management approach has been employed with varying degrees of success by many for-profit businesses. It has been effective in both industrial and consumer products industries, but only when it has been initiated for the right reasons and implemented properly. Under these conditions, it has been associated with significant increases in market share and sales.

Product management is essentially an approach for managing the overall marketing function in a company with broad or multiple product lines by delegating the responsibility for the marketing management of specific product lines to individual product managers. Developing and implementing the marketing plans for each product line of a major consumer products company, like Procter & Gamble or Kraft Foods, or an industrial products giant like General Electric, is an enormous task. Product management is business’ way of spreading the responsibility around.

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