Successful Product Mangers Are Good Lookers

by drjim on April 29, 2009

Product Mangers Don't Have To Be Good Looking, Just Good Lookers

Product Mangers Don’t Have To Be Good Looking, Just Good Lookers

No, no, we’re not talking about being physically attractive here – although… What I’m really getting ready to talk about is the secret to how product manager who work in the rough-and-tumble economies of emerging markets survive in the long term. What’s their secret and how can we use it to survive the current recession?

Martin Roth and Richard Ettenson over at the Wall Street Journal have been doing some digging in order to find out how product managers can make the best of tumultuous times. What they’ve found is that the ultimate secret to product manger success is to learn to look at the market differently.

Look at the market? Isn’t that what you are currently doing each and every day? Probably not. What I’m talking about here is learning to take a very broad view of the market that your product(s) are competing in.

I’m sure that you are keeping an eye on the status of your competitors. However, are you monitoring the market’s overall economic data? The reason that you should be doing this is because it will allow you to figure out where your overall market is headed.

If you can learn to better predict where your market is going, then this will give you an opportunity to decide when it is the best time to switch from one product strategy to another. If you can guess this correctly, then you’ll be able to use the changes in the market to outflank your competitors.

Roth and Ettenson point out the case of a telephone company in the Dominican Republic that survived economic turmoil back in 2004. They started tracking inflation, unemployment, the exchange rate, etc. in order to better predict where the local economy was going. When the prediction was was down, they cut product prices and focused on customer retention. When the prediction was up, they raised prices and went after new customers.

Do you currently track any major economic indicators as part of your product strategy? When the economy changes, do you change how you price or promote your product? Do you think that this strategy would allow you to outflank your competition? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsten April 29, 2009 at 12:56 pm

That is all we are doing today-scanning the market, readjusting the change, and defining new strategic objectives…..good piece

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josh duncan May 1, 2009 at 12:32 am

Thanks for the post.

Tracking the the overall market, competitors, substitutes, demographics, and sociographics are all important to keep any eye on.

Josh

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Dr. Jim Anderson May 5, 2009 at 9:06 am

Josh: agreed. However, and this is the “art” part of product management, you want to be aware of what is going on but you don’t want to be trying to emulate it. Good product managers create products and features based on what their customers need, not necessarily what their competition is doing. It can be difficult to remember this when your competition introduces a cool new “iPhone” like product…

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