A great way to better understand the buying and using criteria around your current solutions is to talk with new customers. You can ask them open end questions like:
- What first led you to buy our product?
- What other products were considered in your evaluation?
- What problems does our product solve for you?
- What do you like most about our product?
- What do you like least about our product?
- How can we improve our product?
But you can also broaden your focus to try and find new opportunities—whether it’s new products, incremental offerings or solution bundles—with questions like:
- How did your organization prioritize solving this problem over other problems in your business?
- The responses will help you better understand buying drivers, the budget process, total elapsed timelines and buyer personas.
- What do you think about our company?
- The answers will help you identify the positive perceptions that exist—which you may want to amplify—and unearth less positive sentiments, which you may need to address.
- What are some of the best products you’ve seen lately?
- These answers will help you identify emerging competitors, potential acquisition options and potential partners.
- As you think about the company as a whole—not just our current offering—what additional problems can we solve for you?
- This question helps move the discussion beyond the constraints of current implementations or services to identify potential products you could develop or extend in your current portfolio.
In my experience, once you start getting feedback on the questions you ask, more questions easily pop up. Here’s hoping these questions will encourage other ideas and new areas to explore.
Thanks to all who voted and attended. Appreciated the discussion and insights from the folks in the room. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own career path and development. Take stock in your personal career strengths, identify your career roadmap and the areas you are going to invest in for yourself.
Manage your career like a product!
If you would like to get more insights into the typical activities, areas of ownership and in general the state of the union for technology product managers, take a look at Pragmatic Marketing’s 2011-2012 Annual Survey for technology product manager and product marketers.
2011 was a fantastic year for me on many levels and Spatially Relevant has been around officially for 4.5 years, so thanks to all who have been around here the past year and more. This is technically the 5th year in review since the blog started in 2007. So every year I try to spend time looking at posts which folks liked and those which I liked which may have not been part of the top posts with reader engagement. So here they are:
Top 10 Posts of 2011
These posts are the posts which had the most views, comments and alike from y’all here.
- Roadmap Audit: This post is an audit of publicly available roadmaps which I could find online to identify common trends in the software space.
- Scrum and Marketing: Having implemented Scrum in development and marketing this post contains a solid presentation on using agile methods for marketing.
- Innovation, Change and Adoption in Markets: The Netflix moment, before the Quickster issue. It also covers the 9X effect in category or product adoption with Google + as well.
- Innovation Myths: Presentation on Innovation.
- Key Technology Trends: Cisco overview on key trends driving changes for individuals and businesses alike.
- Mobile Technologies, Trends and Adoption: I’ve been tracking mobile issues for several years and this is one of the continued pieces on adoption of mobile.
- SCRUM and Kanban: An overview for developing products, specifically social games leverage Agile methods/approaches.
- Product Quality: Deming’s approach to quality as it relates to process and sourcing for building products.
- Social Media, Opportunity Costs, ROI and Decision Making: Social media isn’t free and when looking at social media you need to understand the trade offs and investment required.
- Career Planning in Tech Marketing: This is my presentation from PCamp ATL on looking at Product Management and Marketing career planning.
My Favorite Posts from 2011
These are the 5 articles which I personally liked and you might not have seen here at Spatially Relevant.
- The Marketing is in the Middle Series: This is an interview series of marketing and product folks and the main link is actually a summary of all participants over the years. 2011 featured folks from various industries like Jay Baer, Elizabeth Quintanilla, Joshua Duncan, Jennifer Doctor, Christopher Cummings, John Peltier, Marty Thompson and others.
- Pricing Options Matter: This is a piece which was inspired by a conversation with Steve Johnson on Angry Birds and their pricing approach.
- The White Coke Can: This is a piece which looks at branding in context of not just the stories we tell as marketers, but how our customers perceive our products and the experiences they have.
- The Map of Marketing and Product Management in the US: This is a fun little map I created from the location of product managers and marketers in the US.
- The Definition of Product Management: This is a presentation I did and posted on slideshare which is a curated discussion of what is product management in a single word.
Many thank to the folks who helped make 2011 another good year for Spatially Relevant. Happy new year and be safe, cheers!
This week’s travel brings me to Minneapolis and the folks from the ProductCamp are getting together. If you are in Minneapolis on Thursday I hope to see you there.
Many thanks to Barry and Jennifer Doctor for again getting the Product Management and Marketing community together to talk shop. I hope to see you there, below is an overview from the invite:
Join us for the first ever ProductCamp Happy Holiday Hour. If you were at ProductCamp last month, one of the big takeaways was to always keep your network alive. Here is a chance to hug old friends and shake hands with new ones in a very casual, festive environment. It is another chance to work on building a vibrant, local product community.
AT: St. Louis Park Woodfire Grill, 6501 Wayzata Boulevard, Minneapolis, MN 55426 http://www.slpwoodfiregrill.com7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
PLEASE RSVP: http://pcampmn4.eventbrite.com/
Hope to see some Spatially Relevant readers there!