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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Worth The Read

Posted in worth the read by josh duncan on January 8, 2009

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Lazy marketers love to have the leading product in a market because they just need to maintain the status quo.  A great marketer likes the challenge of winning with a product that doesn’t necessarily win on all of the features.

But regardless of what you call these new sources of news and information, the indisputable fact is that in 2009 there will be many social media examples to point to where the quality is as good if not better than traditional media sources.

Some businesses will be doomed from the start if you don’t know where to put them. English roses are beautiful. I’d be an idiot to put English roses in Austin because we get a fraction of the rain they get.

Unexpected information about your product or company always comes out when talking to people in person. You learn things about people when you look them in the eyes. They gain trust in you, which increases the trust you have in your own ability to make tough decisions.

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.

Worth The Read

Posted in worth the read by josh duncan on December 29, 2008

Worth the Read

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 21, 2008