If you are needing or wanting to learn more about product management, you could read any one of many books, or you could take some time to check out Pragmatic Marketing. Late last year several of us at the office started looking into product management. Currently, this isn’t a business discipline that’s taken hold in our company in a big way. I think that’s pretty typical of most companies. As they get bigger they discover they need to approach things a little differently. Business processes change and the company gains additional knowledge to support the organization’s growth.
Pragmatic Marketing Seminar – Day 1
Today was the first day of the seminar. It’s not the typical conference format I’m used to, but it’s been a very good experience for us so far. There are about 50 attendees in a room being taught by Rich Nutinsky. The session this morning started off a little slow as we received background history of the Pragmatic Marketing group. It was a bit of a yawn session, but as I checked the time, we were only 30 minutes in as Rich wrapped up that part of the day. Then, it was off to the races.
Rich did an amazing job. After just the first day, I feel like I’ve already gotten my money’s worth. I’m about to start our evenings homework and can’t wait to get back into class in the morning. We all had several big takeaways from the day, but I’ll list a few that can be researched more online for anyone interested.
- Rich doesn’t care about your product. He cares about the market. Get your market data before you start worrying about what your product is. Market data comes first. It drives the product.
- Don’t focus on your customer. Focus on your potential market. If you have low marketing penetration, focus more effort on the potential market and evaluators segment. If you have huge market penetration and are the dominant force in your space, focus on your customer…retain them and don’t lose them to the competition. Basically 3 areas
(1) Customers = people who’ve bought something and solved their problem or tried to address it
(2) Evaluators – people who are aware of their problem, but haven’t bought your product or your competitors product
(3) Potential market – people who don’t have a clue they have a problem or they don’t care enough to act on it. This is often the biggest market segment and is often overlooked as a focus area.
- Gap analysis – vital part in the product management process. Rich recommends doing them quarterly.
The class ran from 9:00 til 4:00 (actually ended at 4:45) and it was a looooong day. My brain started frying from all the info around 3:45, but I held in there and soaked up the rest of the info.
A Toll Road Adventure in Atlanta
After picking the guys up from their NIHITO (Nothing Important Happens In The Office – from Pragmatic Marketing verbage this week) session with a large customer, we came upon a toll road. Now this wasn’t just any toll road. It was a toll road we had never journeyed on before, and everyone knows how much trouble unfamiliar toll roads can be right? Which lane do you pull in? Which lanes take cash? Which lanes take debit? How much is the toll? Needless to say, chaos quickly ensued. It went something like this.
“Tony, that’s the cash only lane.” – Michael (the others probably said it too)
I pulled into the wrong lane. Cash only. Not only did I not have any cash, but neither did my 3 amigos.
Tony checks his pants for the change…it wasn’t just the cash lane; it was the exact change lane. “I don’t have it. Does anyone have change?”
“Nope. Don’t have it.” Michael
“No. I don’t.” Brent
“No.” Ben (Ben’s a man of few words)
The problem escalates. Quick, put it in reverse. Back up and pull in another lane before someone pulls in behind us. That’s out. Someone just pulled in behind us. Hit the ‘call for help’ button on the toll booth. No answer. Hit it again. Still no answer.
Now of course all of this is happening in a span of like 45 seconds. Luckily I’m a bit of a problem solver so my thinking mode kicks in. What now? What now? Think. Think. BAM!
Tony gets out of the car and disappears.
“Tony’s going to the other booth to get change.” Brent’s perspective
“Where the heck did he go.” Ben’s perspective
“What the heck is he doing.” Michael’s perspective
Tony emerges from beside the car with 3 quarters in his hand. Tosses 2 in the toll booth and keeps one as a souvenir of the adventure. The gate goes up and we were off. Problem solved.
So let me leave you with this tip concerning toll booths. If you ever pull up to a toll booth and don’t have the money, look out your window and down onto the road by the booth. You’ll find all the coinage you need.