Saturday, November 7, 2009

product management

1. Product Management is defined as the systematic, inward-driving process by which your firm sets and manages its product development priorities. As a high-tech product or service vendor, your Product Management team starts by collecting market-driven information about the shifting problems that customers need to solve. Then the team determines how effectively your products (and competitors' products) solve those problems. Next they decide what high-priority new product capabilities will better enable you to compete. Finally, effective Product Management goes on to manage the process of specifying, scheduling, and developing those new product capabilities.

2. Outward-facing Product Marketing, in contrast, focuses on presenting to customers (and to the larger marketplace) your messages about how your products solve top customer problems. This is an ongoing, outbound marketing process that is conducted at both strategic and tactical levels. Effective Product Marketing teams continually refocus these messages in light of your new product capabilities, and based on competitive moves by others and on broad market conditions.

(Note, by the way, that many firms -- especially startups -- combine these two functions into one management team. While that can be very appropriate for a small firm, these are still two different functions that must be thought of separately if you are to avoid a revenue trap for New Business Development, as discussed below.)

One way to visualize this distinction is to hold up your hand with all five fingers extended.
Think of these five fingers as the five most important new capabilities that your inbound Product Management team has determined must be included in the next release of your product. All of these top capabilities are important if you are to solve customers' problems as effectively as possible -- and for you to meet and beat competitive pressures.Now close your thumb and the two smallest fingers, extending only two fingers. Think of these as just two of those five problem-solving product capabilities. These should be two key product capabilities that are most likely to immediately "grab the attention" of potential customers. Each of these two product capabilities may be on the "top two" list from a Product Marketing outbound message point of view for a wide range reasons, such as:
The capability is genuinely new -- it solves a well-known customer problem far better than in the past.
It "shuts down" a competitor's claim to equality with you, or to their superiority over you.
You have a solid customer testimonial -- really strong, and published or publishable -- about the importance of this product capability.
Every time you show this capability to a customer or prospect, it brings out great responses such as, "That's just what we need to solve this critical problem."


Syed Ahmad Hashmi said...

Very useful Addition. Good work.