December 18, 2017

Real Product Managers Don’t Twerk

Twerking was the Runner Up in “Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year” (after Selfie) and is a sexually provocative style of dancing.

So what does Twerking have to do with Product Management and Product Marketing?

I would suggest that the reason most people (especially celebrities) Twerk is to attract attention to themselves.  While this often does create immediate and significant buzz, does it create long term value and long-term fan loyalty for them?   And when Twerking no longer shocks, what is the next shocking thing they have to do to keep attracting attention.

From a Product Management & Product Marketing perspective, Twerking is when we take actions with our products or marketing that might create short-term attention, but don’t create long-term value.  We take tactical actions that don’t necessarily support a solid growth strategy.  We trade-off the long-term reward for a short-term gain.  When we do a product or marketing Twerk, we might gain some temporary attention, and attract some eyeballs , but have we really created long-term sustainable value and customer loyalty?

How do Product Managers/Marketers Twerk?  

We Twerk when we:

  • Add cool features or a new cool user interface to our products without considering the value for our customers;
  • Invest a lot of money in a one time marketing action (e.g., dotcom Super Bowl adds);
  • Do marketing that entertains, but doesn’t inform or persuade the prospect (e.g., dotcom Super Bowl adds);
  • Chase the shiny objects (market opportunities) in the market without regard to our overall strategy and the true viability of the opportunity (can I say dotcom boom again).

All of these might create a short-term win, but rarely do they lead to creating long-term value.

I know your asking, “But Tom, don’t we need to create buzz in the market?”   Yes, of course you need to create buzz in the market, but it should always be done as part of an overall strategy.   Sure, there are examples of companies creating long-term success from short-term buzzes, but those tend to be the exception and not the rule.   You best bet is focus on a clear strategy that delivers long-term value and find ways to create buzz that support that strategy.

The next time you make decisions around product enhancements, new market opportunities, market messages or a marketing campaign, take a moment to consider, are you creating true long-term value based upon a well defined strategy, or are you just Twerking?  Executing solid Product Management and Product Marketing practices is the foundation for successful strategies.

Hmm, now that I think about it, would I consider this blog post a Twerk?


BTW – Please share your favorite Product or Marketing Twerks in the comments below!!

Webcast: From Messaging Nightmare to Messaging Delight – How to Create a Powerful Messaging Platform – Sept 17th

If you were to do a survey of executives, sales people, marketing and other market facing personnel within a company and ask them how they would describe a specific product to a potential prospect, I bet in the majority of cases, you would hear almost as many explanations as there were people interviewed.  This really is a messaging nightmare that might be undermining the success of your product(s).  This results in significant marketplace confusion, impacts revenue generation and reflects poorly on your product.  We as Product Managers and Product Marketers like to blame the messenger for this problem, but the likely reality is that we are at fault.  As PMs & PMMS, we must own the message and then enable the organization to take this message to the market.   The starting point for doing this is a Powerful Messaging Platform.

Key Takeaways from participating in this webinar:

    • Understand the key business drivers for developing a messaging platform
    • Discover the most important, but yet often overlooked, starting point for your messaging
    • Learn the five key components of a successful Messaging Platform
    • Understand how the Messaging Platform contributes to more success in the market

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.