Here I go again blogging on something in the area of Product Marketing … I should leave that up to April Dunford the Product Marketing expert; but I can’t help myself.
Can you create a two-word phrase that describes your value proposition? Something like ‘Change Ready’ or ‘Threat Resistant’. You should be able to attach them to the end of the phrase ‘Are you …?’ or ‘Is your whatever …’. You then can use phrases that contain these two words when you talk to a prospect or add it to the front page of your web site. Or maybe even trademark it.
The first word needs to describe the problem that you solve or the desired outcome and the second word needs to describe your solution to the problem. The problem, of course, has to be expressed from your target market’s perspective … i.e. it can not be what you do (no one cares about that).
My company – Ateala Management – helps tech companies with their product management issues. Outside of the realm of product management nobody gets this. The usual response is “huh?”. My target companies are those that are just beyond the start-up phase looking to scale their business to the next level. The problem they have is staying focused on meeting their business objectives with all the distractions being thrown at them. What I do is implement systems and processes and educate their staff to focus on making decisions that help in meeting their business objectives. I now ask if they have an objective-focused business. So my value proposition can be condensed to “objective focused”. Is your business objective focused?
Try it with your product. Can you share your two-word value proposition?
Why do tech companies insist on barfing out their message. It’s like they have to spew out absolutely every competitive threat, differentiator, techo-wizardry, benefit, target customer in one single breath. No wonder nobody understands what they do and what value they provide. Just stop it!
I’ve run into so many tech companies that have great intentions, but eventually end up with something that’s barfed out. They start with a short, crisp, well-articulated message and then they start adding in the prepositions (by, with, including, etc.). Each crisp message, when delivered, should lead the listener to the next sentence. They should want to hear the next sentence. Each sentence should build on the next – eventually revealing the story. If fact the person you’re speaking to will guide what your next sentence needs to be; e.g. ” what do you mean by such-and-such”. I’ve been following the writings of Jill Konrath; especially her views on value propositions. Keep your messages short and crisp and your audience will understand what you’re about … remember that your audience needs to understand your message, if they don’t then you’ve wasted your breath.
During ProductCamp Toronto in October I was interviewed by Donna Popacosta on Business-Driven Product Management. She turned this into a podcast which is now available on the ProductCamp Toronto website. Thanks to Donna for putting all this together.
At this month’s OCRI Zone5ive meeting I delivered a presentation entitled Product Marketing for an Ever-changing World. [The Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) is Ottawa’s leading member-based economic development corporation for fostering the advancement of the region’s globally competitive knowledge-based institutions and industries.] The goal of this presentation was to educate the Zone5ive membership on how they can become more effective as the development team shifts to Agile development. This transition does not just impact the development team, it also impacts Product Marketing, Product Management and Marketing.
The net result is that product marketing (and product management) teams will have the ability to engage customers early and often throughout the project which will increase the chances of a successful product (or release) launch. In other words, by engaging customers during the project, they will feel like they helped shape the release (or capability or feature) and so will be in a better position to talk to the press and industry analysts. They will also help you with your messaging, i.e. they will provide with real value statements.
Earlier this week Scott Wright of Streetwise Security Zone and I got together and created a podcast exploring security issues that product managers wrestle with when they transition to a SaaS model to deliver their product. Scott in this podcast offers some great tips and advice on the following topics:
Moving from isolated software products to offering them as a service
Basic considerations for securing services, assurance for customers
Separating data between clients who could be competing with each other
User login security considerations
Who administers users, and who administers the system?
The big picture – communicating new kinds of risks to senior management
I highly recommend product managers visit Scott’s website and blog to expand their knowledge in security. Thanks Scott!
Marketing and Operations together to leverage social networks to conduct business – that’s what social business is. This includes Product Management, Product Marketing, Product Development, Sales, Service and Customer Support. All of these groups within a company need to leverage social networks in an organized fashion to conduct business – i.e. generate revenue, improve customer satisfaction, etc.
As with any earth-changing technology, social networks are changing the way business needs to be conducted – companies need to get involved in the conversation as an integral part of they way they do business – Product Managers especially. Testing new ideas, improving existing capabilities, watching your competitors, etc. are all activities that the Product Manager needs to do on social networks – Twittter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. The first step is to identify your community – in other words the people and companies in your target market. Find out where these people have their conversations? All / some networks? This includes customers, prospects, competitors, influencers, users, etc. Product Managers must be part of the conversation to help achieve your company’s business objectives.
Ateala Management is proud to be a sponsor of #PCT2 (ProductCamp Toronto 2009). We look forward to meeting everyone. If you have not registered go to: http://pct2009prereg.eventbrite.com/. If you have not voted for your favourite session go to: http://productcamptoronto.uservoice.com/pages/28890-productcamp-toronto-2009-sessions.
#OPMA #ProdMgmt – The first meeting of the Ottawa Product Management Association will be a “meet ‘n greet” gathering at a pub (tentatively Tuesday October 6th, starting at 6:30pm). In order to attempt to make the location as convenient as possible (closer to work or closer to home or whatever suits), please complete the following poll.
Thank-you very much … look forward to seeing everyone in October!