October 21, 2017

Archives for March 2015

Your Messaging Sucks! Now Let’s Go Fix It! (ProductCamp Austin 14)

On March 7th, 2015, I presented the following session at ProductCamp 14 (PCA14).  It was a great session with lot’s of interactive discussion and insights from the session participants.  Thanks to all for sharing and making it a great session!

Our Messages Too Often Focus on Features, Not Benefits!

The key focus of this presentation was to show that way too often, our market messages are about product features and not about the problems and benefits of our target customers.  Sometimes, we think we are talking about benefits (e.g., 24 hour access), when in reality, that is still a feature, or we say a benefit (e.g., reduced wear and tear), but that is a low order benefit, or what I also call a functional benefit.  But in either example, we still don’t connect to the real benefit of your target buying personas.  The other challenge is that in a complex B2B situation, there are many buying personas, but each persona places importance on different aspects of the benefits.  

How a Message Map Helps You Connect Features to the Real Benefits for Each Buyer Persona

What I presented in this session was the concept of a “Benefits Map”.   In this example, I mapped the connection from features to functional benefits to benefits for different buying personas and eventually, how this all connects with the benefits of the Executive Buyer.   The “Benefits Map” is useful to help you work through what the real benefits are for each buying persona and connect features and lower order benefits to show how the benefits are achieved.   This can then help you better target your messaging to each buying persona and to help sales have the right kind of conversations with each buying persona.

Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager

Last year, I came upon Ben Horowitz’s article entitled Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager.   Ben initially wrote this when he headed Product Management at NetScape.   What’s impressive is that even though this was first written 20 years ago, it’s still very relevant today.  As a trainer and consultant in Product Management and Product Marketing, I really have come to appreciate the importance of Ben’s thoughts.

I leveraged this article to lead a session at ProductCamp Austin 13 in August 2014.  Below are the slides I used and the notes from the discussion.

Why is There So Much Bad Product Management

There is a lot of bad Product Management going on.  I see three key reasons for Bad Product management (and Product Marketing):

  1. Many Product Managers/Marketers and Company Executives don’t have a clear understanding of the role and the strategic contribution the role should make to the organization.
  2. Too many decisions are based upon opinions and not strong knowledge and evidence from the market.
  3. Product Managers & Product Marketers don’t understand the levers of control they have to really make a strategic impact.

 What Can You Do To Become a Great Product Manager

  1. Get Training!!!   Way too many PMs have never been through training.  My informal survey says less than 20% and other survey’s say even fewer.
  2. Get out into the market and really understand your market, customers and competition, etc.
  3. Get a great mentor or coach.
  4. Keep learning and developing yourself as a Product Management & Product Marketing professional.