Thursday, February 4, 2010

Some things that should always be factored into product planning

Great article at zigzagmarketing 

These things were my focus recently in re-jiggering some of our investments our products, so thought it was worth posting... 

Top 3 Culprits of Under-Performing Products

1.  Vague Definition of Target Customers
When products try to be all things to all types of customers, the result is usually a mediocre fit for most. 

The Solution:   Prioritize your product investments on the customer types most conducive to revenue/market share growth and deliver closed loop solutions that have the most significant impact on their top or bottom line.  You'll be rewarded with steady revenue increases.

2.  Inadequate Definitions of WHAT, WHY & HOW
If your products have lots of features that are rarely used by most customers, you've probably delivered features without thoroughly understanding the context in which they're used (WHAT are customers doing?  WHY are they doing it?  HOW should it be done?).

The Solution: Get out of the building more often and learn the business of your customers.  Make their business part of your culture.  Ask WHY as it relates to everything and you'll build fewer features that have greater value to more customers.

3.  Irrelevant Value Propositions 
There's a one-to-one correlation between points 1 & 2 above and your sales and marketing effectiveness.  If the dots aren't connected, your value propositions will be laced with product features and fluffy benefit statements that mean nothing to your buyers.  Connect the dots well and your value propositions become very sticky.

The Solution:  Define customer needs without regard to your products first, then add product specifications as the means for creating the solution.  The reasons for building new products and features are the same reasons buyers pay for them.  

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