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Product Management Library of Knowledge

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The 3 Secrets to Staying Ahead of the Competition

A universal truth: It's much easier to control the game when you're ahead of the competition than it is to play catch-up. When you're in the lead, you can defend your position in the marketplace by countering your competitor's moves...

Growth Hackers Conference: Lessons Learned

"With the possibility to iterate on your product and marketing efforts faster and faster the product manager's role more than ever builds the backbone of a product's competitiveness and success."

Everybody Sells

The sooner the entire company gets that it is everyone's responsibility to promote and evangelize your product, the sooner you will be on a clear path to success and profitability.
read more of.. Everybody Sells

Why Value-Based Pricing is Overrated

Over the last ten years what percentage of the revenues and profits of the Fortune 500, Russell 2000 or any other group you choose can be attributed to the adoption of value-based pricing?

How To Disqualify A Lead

A common reason for losing a deal is that the client was looking for something else but you tried to sell him anyway. Your internal process refused to disqualify the buyer. You ultimately lost a deal that you should never have pursued. And the most common process problem is a failure to disqualify.
read more of.. How To Disqualify A Lead

Five Reasons Why Agile is Lean

In agile, each function has learning up front, a build in the middle, and a validation at the end. Since the customer typically has working software to experience the functionality, and is saying "yes" or "no" to each one as it's completed, it's less likely to need revisions later on. The customer validation after each new build increases leaning earlier in the process and makes the product more accurate. An accurate product gets traction faster, uses less resources and is lean.

Pricing is ... Information

Price is more than just what the customer needs to buy your product or service. It is also telling the customer more about your offering. Take care that your prices are telling them what you want.

Stephen Covey's Marketing Legacy

The best way for marketers to not become victims of the Urgent is through the creation of and commitment to a marketing strategy. When a solid, documented marketing strategy that is supported by upper management directs the marketing team's efforts, it is a powerful deterrent to the Urgent.

Prioritizing Features in Your Product Releases

When working as a Product Manager with an engineering team one of the biggest challenges you face is prioritizing what features are critical to include in your next product release. One of the most popular techniques for prioritizing features in an MRD (Market Requirements Document) or functional specification is to use the HML (High, Medium, Low) method.

Four Critical Success Factors for Your Products

Just build a great product and you'll take the market by storm, right? That's the myth perpetuated in Silicon Valley, and it's a difficult lesson that many entrepreneurs, and seasoned companies, end up learning the hard way. Sure, some products seem to have everything magically fall into place and succeed. The majority of successful products, however, have good planning and execution combined with a great product.

Positioning: When knowing too much is a liability

Properly positioning a company and its products is a critical factor for success. When a solution just can not seem to get traction in the market, often the problem is not the product; it is how it is positioned.

The Perfect Partnership: Product Management and Business Analysis (part two)

By pairing business analysts with product managers at key points throughout the life cycle of a product's development, organizations can optimize bandwidth, expertise, and interest-related challenges that allow both roles to do what they do best - create value.

Innovation: No Silver Bullet

Companies often propel themselves to the frontlines of the market with a startling innovation.  This innovation can differentiate an organization and gain it legions of fans.  However, for companies that strike gold, sustaining momentum for the long term-still presents a formidable challenge.

The Perfect Partnership

by Greg Geracie and David Heidt

Companies often struggle to maintain a good balance between their market activities and their product development efforts. The fact is most new products are not ready for prime time. This circumstance leads to products that deliver less value than anticipated or fail altogether. This inability of organizations to effectively bring products to market often creates a significant drag on companies' ability to innovate and compete in today's rapidly changing marketplaces.

read more of.. The Perfect Partnership

Challenges and Change provide a bonanza for Product Managers

Part 1: Identifying anomalies and converting them into business opportunities
©2011 by Karl Hellman and Robert S. Siegel

Part 1 of a 4 part series

We all delight in the legend of the entrepreneurial-hero--the genius who invents the new product that transforms the world as he or she is sitting in their dorm. And the world has indeed produced wonderful entrepreneur heroes, like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Factors Affecting Consumer Behavior

By Asifo Shah

Consumer behavior refers to the selection, purchase and consumption of goods and services for the satisfaction of their wants. There are different processes involved in the consumer behavior. Initially the consumer tries to find what commodities he would like to consume, then he selects only those commodities that promise greater utility. After selecting the commodities, the consumer makes an estimate of the available money which he can spend. Lastly, the consumer analyzes the prevailing prices of commodities and takes the decision about the commodities he should consume. Meanwhile, there are various other factors influencing the purchases of consumer such as social, cultural, personal and psychological. The explanation of these factors is given below.

Writing Effective Benefits Statements

Writing Effective Benefits Statements
by: Brian Lawley

How to turn features into compelling benefits that matter to customers

One of the most common trap the marketing folks get into when working on technical products is focusing on the features of a product rather than the benefits to the end user. Features are great - we all want to know what is in a product and want to be able to compare it to other products. But at the same time there are many features that, while the benefits may be obvious to the Marketer or Product Manager working on them, may leave potential customers wondering why they matter.

Managing Products and Services in the Economic Recovery

As the economic recovery begins to take shape, the severity of this downturn will have a certain definitive impact on how products and services are managed now in the future. Why? Because companies will continue during the recovery period to reduce the number of suppliers they do business with, squeeze supply chain margins to further cut costs, and sharpen their focus on their own core products and services with modest expansion as they learn to operate on thinner margins as well. This means the ability to make money while competing in the supply chain will greatly intensify and put greater pressure on companies to manage their product and services more aggressively.

The Shopper Continuum

To the credit of marketing, advertising, and research people the days of talking about the consumer as the sole focus of shopping activity are essentially gone. We recognize that the shopper and the consumer are not always the same. Indeed, it is often the case that they are not. The focus has shifted to the process that takes place between the first thought a consumer has about purchasing an item, all the way through the selection of that item. While this is a reasonable approach to understanding the people who buy and use a company's products, it still has one principle flaw. Namely, it focuses on individuals rather than systems of people and the behavioral and cultural drivers behind their actions. The distinction is subtle but important because it assumes the shopping experiences goes well beyond the product itself, which is largely functional, and considers the product (and brand) as a means of facilitating social interaction. In other words, it thinks about shopping as a means of establishing cultural norms, emotional bonds, and identity.
read more of.. The Shopper Continuum

Ethnography: Your Guide to Doing it Right

Ethnography: Your Guide to Doing it Right

Introduction

Over the past decade, ethnography has been embraced by the business community. But the term "ethnography" has been used fairly loosely and expectations about the work and final outcomes vary as much as the people calling themselves ethnographers. Many researchers who feel at ease interviewing people in a "natural" setting claim to be doing ethnography but this is often not the case. Trained ethnographers do more than talk with people--they rely on a set of analytical tools that take experience and specialized training. Before deciding to use an ethnographic approach to answer your research question, it is imperative to know what to expect from a provider.

Maximize Product Profitability as the Market Matures

Maximize Product Profitability as the Market Matures

By Lee Shaeffer

An important role for the product manager (or for the product marketing manager, if that function is separate) is to obtain the maximum profit from a product during its lifecycle. There are many standard practices in maintaining a product when it is in the market: pricing adjustments, advertising and promotion, increasing penetration within the existing customer base, finding new customer segments, etc.A common practice is to release a follow-on product, often a feature enhanced/cost reduced "mid-life kicker" to keep the product competitive in the marketplace. These are all good and often necessary activities, but a commonly underexploited opportunity is to enhance the product by bundling complementary products and services in order to create and enhance the complete solution for the customer, not just the product itself.

Succeeding In Growing Your Market Share

Succeeding In Growing Your Market Share
By Tom Dougherty

How much do you want to win? Are you willing to put everything on the table and examine every opportunity for your brand to succeed in market warfare?

We all pretend to strive for victory but most companies fall far short of what it takes to actually prevail. Most brands fail to really challenge the market leader because they continue to salute sacred cows or wasteful process. They become enamored with their past successes and cling to the old business model long after it has been rendered obsolete. There are only two flags that should be saluted -- the flags of brand integrity and of customer's needs. Everything else is an obstacle and is in your way.

What is a phenomenal product manager?

What is a phenomenal product manager?
An excerpt from the new book by Brian Lawley, titled The Phenomenal Product Manager: The Product Manager's Guide to Success, Job Satisfaction and Career Acceleration

If you have been in product management for a while you probably have come across a few product managers who seem to stand out. For some reason they come across as being really good at what they do, whereas other product managers seem to have little or no clue. They are the stars - the phenomenal product managers who are clearly on the road to big things in their careers.

When did customers become irrelevant?

When did customers become irrelevant?
by Paula Gray, AIPMM

In the AIPMM webinar "The Lessons of Launch", Mark Carr of CMG Partners stated that 54% of businesses do not involve customers in the new product development process. Carr said that most businesses listen to someone's "gut" in determining what customers wanted. He stated that only 1 in 10 of those new consumer products succeeds, and only 1 in 4 B-to-B products succeed. That is a tremendous correlation. Statistically, the "gut" has only a 10% success rate in consumer products and a 25% success rate for B to B. Perhaps businesses would be more successful if they listened to the ultimate purchaser of the product, the customer.

4 Tips for Understanding and Interpreting Nonverbal Communication

4 Tips for Understanding and Interpreting Nonverbal Communication
by Paula Gray, AIPMM

Recognizing that an ethnography respondent, focus group participant or interviewee may be offering much more information nonverbally than they are with words, is crucial to gathering a deeper level of information. Here are 4 key insights to understanding what they aren't saying.

4 Tips for Successful Product Marketing

4 Tips for Successful Product Marketing
By Eric Corl

When it comes to product marketing, everyone thinks they are an expert, but few can produce results. Why is this so? Most of the problem comes from marketing books, seminars, and courses that detract from the heart of marketing: translating features into benefits. Much of today's marketing is based on product hype . However, the simple truth of the matter is that people buy things to gain pleasure or avoid some sort of pain. It is critical to understand this as it is the supporting motivation for every purchase no matter how little or large it may be. Think about the last two items you purchased. Why did you buy them? You can boil every purchase down to gaining pleasure or avoiding pain.

That being said, there are four key tips to better connect with your customers:

New Product Marketing - Promoting Before the Product Launch

New Product Marketing - Promoting Before the Product Launch
By Scott Hepburn

The Challenge: Your company is launching a new product, but you don't even have a prototype. For the new product to succeed, you need to generate buzz in advance of the release. How do you market a product you can't show to your customers because it doesn't exist yet?

Removing Inventoritis from the Innovation Process

Removing Inventoritis from the Innovation Process; Lessons from Thomas Edison, World's Greatest Product Marketer
by Peter P. Roosen & Tatsuya Nakagawa

To make R&D dollars count, the optimum product development and commercialization processes are marketing-led, engineering-supported and driven by customer feedback and insights with a thorough understanding of the competitive landscape and one's place in it.

No Such Thing as a Commodity

Tom Peters - 1985 COLUMN ARCHIVES
No Such Thing as a Commodity
Posted on January 21, 1985.

NO SUCH THING AS A COMMODITY

By Tom Peters

If I were allowed to be business czar for one minute, and were granted one wish, I know exactly what I would do. I would expunge the word commodity from the businessperson's language. I detest it!

The 3Cs of Successful Positioning - Part III

The 3Cs of Successful Positioning - Part III: Get your channel involved in positioning. It's good for both of you.
By Lawson Abinanti, Messages that Matter

If there's a disconnect between your channel and your marketing team, neither will reach their full potential. In this column, you'll see how involving your channel in the positioning process is a key ingredient in successful marketing and sales. It also helps establish and maintain a relationship that pays off for both you and your channel. Whether you sell direct, your channel is the sales department down the hall, or your channel partners are value-added resellers (VARs), it works like a charm.

It also takes a lot of work. But it's worth the effort because the benefits are so compelling. Channel involvement equals improvement - in relations, and in the quality of research you receive to support the positioning process. Getting closer to your channel brings you closer to the battleground, so you can gain a better understanding of what your channel needs to win. An unexpected benefit might be the most important of all - your sales team learns how to communicate more effectively with prospects.

This is the third column in a series on the 3Cs of successful positioning - your Customer, your Competition and your Channel - to help you understand how each is vital to developing a unique and effective marketing position for your B2B software or service. In my last column, I explained how your Channel gives you fast access to the other 2Cs - your Customer and Competition, and can provide important information about them and from them. The next column will emphasize how critical it is to really know your customer; more to the point, why you need to know your customer as well as you know your product.

3Cs of Positioning - Part II: The Channel

3Cs of Positioning - Part II: The Channel

To speed up the positioning process. Start with your channel
By Lawson Abinanti, Messages that Matter

There are obvious benefits of maintaining good relations with your channel, whether you sell direct or through a reseller. One not-so-obvious benefit is the pivotal role your channel can play in positioning your business-to-business (B2B) software for success. In this article, the first in a series on the 3Cs of Positioning - Channel, Customer and Competition - we'll explore how the channel can enhance your positioning process. (The articles are adapted from our monthly workshops offered in Seattle, and other parts of the country. See sidebar.)

3 C's of Successful Positioning

"The Three C's of Successful Positioning"
By Lawson Abinanti, Messages that Matter

Effective positioning of B2B software products is written in the key of C. Actually, three C's. Because positioning requires a thorough understanding of your Customers, your Competition and your Channel.

Getting Management to Buy-in On Positioning

Getting Management to buy-in on positioning
By Lawson Abinanti, Messages that Matter

When members of your executive management team communicate with key marketinfluencers, are they delivering the right message? Or winging it? Are your productpeople muttering that management doesn't listen to them - or worse? Ouch!Did I hit a sensitive nerve? If the message that key influencers hear from topmanagement is different from the one going out in the rest of your marketingcommunications, you've got a problem and a half. Not only is confusion inevitable, butyour brass is not going to enjoy being put in an awkward spot.The best way to solve this problem is to make sure it doesn't happen. Adopt apositioning process that includes executive management approval of your messagestrategies.

Branding and positioning: What's the difference? And can you afford it?

Branding and positioning: What's the difference? And can you afford it?
By Lawson Abinanti, Messages that Matter

A few years ago, I had just finished an all day meeting with our company's new ad agency when I got an uneasy feeling that, despite the agreeable head nodding and diligent note-taking, we were not really synched up. My product marketing team had presented positioning statements for our product offerings in several broad categories (financials, e-business, supply chain management, etc.), plus the product suite. The agency's mission was to use the positioning to create our 'brand'.

5 Steps for Developing a Tag Line for Your Product, Business, or Website

5 Steps for Developing a Tag Line for Your Product, Business, or Website
By Bobette Kyle

A tag line is the one or two line descriptor that often comes after a product logo or company name. It is one of those things that looks simple but isn't. Large companies pay advertising agencies a lot of money to develop tag lines for their companies and brands.

Many companies, however, do not have a large enough budget to hire an advertising agency. If you belong to one of these small budget businesses, do not despair. With some creativity and persistence, you can develop your own tag line.

First, decide what you want to communicate with your tag line.

If you have a positioning statement and/or unique selling proposition, write them down. Your tag line should reinforce them.

Ask yourself these questions.

  • Who are your customers?
  • What benefits do you give your customers?
  • What feelings do you want to evoke in your customers?
  • What action are you trying to generate from your customers?
  • How are you different from your competition?

Is Your Product Promise Really A Promise?

Is Your Product Promise Really A Promise?
By Brian Lawley
President, 280 Group

A product promise is the implied commitment made to customers by a company. It embodies everything that the company, brand, marketing, features and benefits and product description convey. Put simply, a product promise is kept if the customer has an experience that is at least as good as what they expected based on what the company told them beforehand.

Products that keep their promises tend to build loyal fan bases and succeed. Products that don't, often fail (though if they solve a burning need for the customer and are the only available solution they sometimes succeed anyway).

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