February 24, 2018

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!!


  1. compellingpm says:

    I know I mentioned dotcom several times in the post. One of the most memorable failures to me was a company called Agillion. They received somewhere around $50 million in investments, and like many dotcoms, had nothing to show for it when they crashed. But the Super Bowl ad was what I want to refer to. Their whole ad was people singing the song “We Are The Champions” (by Queen). At the end, you had know idea who the company was or what they did. I’m not sure many people even remembered the company’s name after the commercial. What a wasted investment in marketing!

  2. compellingpm says:

    A product that comes to my mind is Nokia’s Lumia 1020, the phone with a 41 megapixel camera. I know many won’t agree with me, and it did have reasonable sales, from the perspective of a Nokia and Windows smarthphone, but to me, it felt like Nokia was making a last grasp at trying to achieve some relevancy in the market. I know there is a small market segment of photo enthusiasts that absolutely loved it, but the overall market had no need for that much camera and felt like a cool feature v. something of real value.

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