4 Tips For Creating Repeat Customers From App Product Managers

by drjim on May 11, 2015

Product managers can learn a lot from product managers who manage apps

Product managers can learn a lot from product managers who manage apps
Image Credit: Jason Howie

So do you have a mobile phone? I’m willing to bet that yes, you do. No matter if you have decided to go down the iPhone route or if you’ve taken the Android path, once you get past the pretty screen that your phone came with, what probably attracted you the most were all of the applications (“apps”) that you could run on your new phone. I wonder if the Product managers who are responsible for those apps would be willing to share any of their secrets with us that would help us to boost our product manager skills?

It’s All About Community

App product managers realize that the ultimate success of their products have more to do with the sense of community that using the app creates rather than the app itself. What this means for the rest of us is that when someone buys our product, we need to welcome into our product user family. We also have to be continuously doing things to remind them that they are part of an active and engaging group of people who are all trying to do the same thing that they are doing.

You’ve Got To Go With Your Gut

We live in a world that is awash with data. App product managers probably have more data on their users and how they use their current products than the rest of us have. However, app product managers are the first ones to say that you can’t just rely on the data and your product manager training – sometimes you have to go with your gut. As product managers we know that this is true. Especially when it comes to launching your next product. You’ll have a lot of data about the market that you are going after; however, in the end the decision to launch or delay will come down to what your gut tells you.

I’ll Only Buy It If It’s Cool

All too often product managers can get caught up in all of the neat things that their product does. App product managers are the first ones to remind us that it is a crowded market out there. If we don’t do something to make our product stand out, then we’ll never get noticed and our product will never get bought. We all know that we need to help our customers out. We know more about the products that compete in our market space. It comes down to us to explain to our customers why they need to pick our product over all others.

Don’t Make Promises That You Can’t Keep

App product managers are all too aware of the danger of promising things that never show up. Do this once and you’ll have a very good chance of losing your best customers. For those of us who are responsible for complicated products that have a lot of moving parts that all have to come together in order to create the next version of the product, we also need to be very careful to manage our customer’s expectations. Don’t over promise and under deliver!

What All Of This Means To You

How cool would it be to be an app product manager? You’d have quick turnaround and you’d always be on the outlook for the newest mobile phones so that you could test your app out. The rest of us could probably learn a thing or two from this fast moving market.

What these product managers can teach us has to do with making sure that when people buy our product they are entering into a community of users. We need to learn to trust what our gut is telling us no matter what the data says. In order to make our product stand out in a crowded market we need to make it cooler than all of the other products. Finally, we need to be very careful to not promise more than we can deliver.

Yes, being an app product manager could be a great job. I suspect that it comes with its own set of unique challenges. For the rest of us, what we need to do is to pay attention to what these product managers have to tell us and use their lessons to make our products even more desirable to our customers.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: After your product has been bought, what is the best way to form a community around your product?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As product managers we all dream of the day that our customers become truly excited about our product and its product development definition. We’d love it if our product’s logo was highly coveted by our customers and was almost seen as a sort of status symbol. The more customers who felt this way, the bigger our product’s bottom line would be, right? Well over at the luxury goods merchant Michael Kors they are dealing with a slightly different issue: is it possible that they have become just a bit too popular?

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