i need a reality check

stabbed in the back – what to do when you lose internal support for your product*? – part I

Posted in marketing, Product by josh duncan on January 11, 2009

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(*In order to protect the innocents, names and stuff has been changed)

To make a (very, very) long story short, I once had a very tough experience with a product of mine.  The product had been in development for almost a year and due to its controversial nature, had had to go through several executive reviews before getting final sign off.  These reviews were excruciatingly painful, but at the end of the day, they helped us really refine our strategy and internal communications.

During these meetings we covered:

  • Market conditions and growth trends
  • Competitor offerings and positioning
  • Marketing research (global conjoint and focus groups)
  • Product features, costs, and schedule
  • Sales forecasts (signed off by sales) along with rev/margins

It was a solid presentation (if I do say so myself) and it was a huge relief after the final review to hear we got the go ahead.  After all the this, I figured it was time to get back to actually working on delivering the product.

When it was time for us to start occurring internal charges, I started hearing rumblings that finance had concern.  Did I worry?  Nah, I had executive sign-off.  What could there be to worry about?  And then, everything came to a grinding halt.  Finance refused to approve the purchase orders since the risk was to high.  Without this approval, there was no moving forward.

Went went wrong?  How could this have happened after all the executive reviews we went through?  What do we do now?  So, before I tell you what I did, would like to hear some thoughts out there from other product managers on how they would have handled it?  Did I mention that if we were unable to get these orders approved we would most likely have to scrap the project?

What to do when you lose internal support for your product?

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Did You Know That 70% OF Consumers Have Used Social Media To Get Info About A Product?

Posted in marketing by josh duncan on January 6, 2009

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Media Post recently reported on a  DEI Worldwide study on Word-of-mouth marketing.

The study showed that 67% of consumers are likely to pass along information from an actual (“real live”) brand representative to other people, and 57% are likely to take action based on that information

Consumers don’t put much trust in corporate blogs or social network profiles, but will readily listen to people–even if they are employed by the company selling the product–provided that they are open about their mission and relationship to the company.

This is a very interesting stat for social media and could lead you to jump to some immediate conclusions.  However, if you really want WOM marketing to work you need a complete story (see Made to Stick)

The Brand Experience Lab has a really good post on the subject and sums it up perfectly here:

WOM is not a tactic or strategy by itself. It is the outcome of doing something really well.

Bottom line, it all comes back to your companies brand and product strategy.  If you create something that has an authentic story behind it, people will love talking about it.

It’s OK If Its Not OK!

Posted in marketing by josh duncan on January 4, 2009

Short and simple post from Seth’s Blog, Is everything okay?:

No, everything is not okay. Not in a growing organization. Not if your company is making change happen, or dealing with customers. How could it be?  And yet, that’s what so many managers focus on. How to make everything okay.

This is hitting a soft spot with me.  Sometimes you need a good swift kick in the arse to get moving and this is as good as any I have seen this year.

So, here is what I am going to do starting as of now (let’s call these semi-New Year Resolutions):

  • Stop Complaining  – its just wasted energy
  • Focus – fire drills seem to be taking way to much of my time.  Need to make sure I am putting my energy towards that 20% that will have the biggest impact.
  • Deliver – 2009 is going to be a big year, hopefully on multiple fronts.  Now is the time to make sure that I am not sitting here at this time next year with a case of the “should haves”

Its tough when things aren’t comfortable but in the long run, we will be better off.  So, what about you?

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Did You Know 14% of U.S. Adults Qualify As Foodies?

Posted in marketing by josh duncan on December 31, 2008

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Media Post has an article this morning discussing recent research by Packaged Facts that found that 31.2 million–or 14.4% of U.S. adults–qualify as foodies (like trying all kinds of food and willing to pay above average).

There is all sorts of information that was interesting in the article.  Here are a few of the findings:

The foodie culture is “an essentially American phenomenon” that has emerged in reaction to this country’s “uniquely malleable and marketer-driven” food culture, say the PF analysts. While other nations or regions have distinct cultures surrounding food and its consumption, the U.S. generally lacks such a culture, and foodies are on a mission to fill this void, they explain.

Their eagerness to experiment makes them receptive to F&B product launches, but their restlessness poses challenges to fostering enduring brand loyalty.

The most interesting pieces of this article was that the research found that while gourmet food was important to the Foodie, more important was that it was “new and preferably authentic“.

So, let me get this straight, Foodies like

  • New/fresh
  • Authentic
  • Not being labeled
  • Spending time on the Internet
  • Trying new things

This sounds very applicable to other up-incoming segments don’t you think?

Read the full article here.

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