Favorite Product Posts August (and some from July) 2010

On Competitive Advantages:

So what qualifies as valid competitive advantages?  Here are some candidates:

  • First mover advantage – you are the first to solve this particular problem in this particular way. (This could work for and against a business though. It’s much easier to launch a product into an existing category than to make your own product category.)
  • Deep knowledge about your target market’s needs and wants, enabling you to build something that solves their problems better than the competition has solved their problems.
  • Special soup technology nobody can easily copy, even if they hire away your chief engineer or read and understand all of your published patent applications.
  • Deep relationships with big fish at key potential customers (if B2B) that gives you a big head start on business development.
  • A team with domain expertise that can execute at twice the speed of their competitor’s team

Why Innovation Depends On Creative Approaches:

Crowdsourcing is a great concept, in theory, but in practice, you need to figure out what will motivate people to participate and what will drive them to maximize the quality of their contribution. By channeling participation through a game, the UW team recruited 57,000 contributors. Out of that number, enough people were motivated to achieve the highest score possible, thus increasing the quality of many individual contributions. That’s a far better result than the team would have achieved had they used an obscure biochemistry forum to post the question, “So, what do you think?”

Product Manager: Don’t Step On Your Long Tail…!

Your ultimate goal here is to be able to define a unique spot in the market for your product. You want to make sure that your potential customers view your product as being unique and unavailable from any other vendor.

Rupert Murdoch – Zero; John Nash – One:

Understanding your market involves not only knowing what problems your customers face, but also predicting how your competitors will behave. Competitive analysis is not just capturing a snap-shot of their products and positioning today, but also forming predictions of how they will respond to the disruptions you will create in your market by innovating. Markets are not static – you have to understand both how your customers’ needs will evolve and how your competitor’s offerings will change, in order to understand how your product will perform

Hybrid Feedback is Stronger:

As last week’s commenters pointed out, there’s a challenge in offering multiple choices vs. asking for freeform responses: You might get more responses but still be missing the root cause of customers’ concerns/problems/ideas.  They’re right. Freeform answers alone are flawed. Multiple choice options alone are flawed. You need to use them both together in order to generate unstoppable, reliable hybrid feedback!

Startup Messaging:

The essence of my talk was that good messaging answers the following questions for potential customers:

  • What the heck is it? (meaning can you tell me in plain language what it is that you do)
  • Is it for me? (meaning does your messaging appeal to the segment that you are targeting)
  • Why buy it from you? (meaning what are the compelling reasons to choose your offering over a competing offering)

What every marketer, product manager, product marketing leader and CMO needs to know about content:

Whew… that was a long title, so is the presentation, but it is spot on.  Marketing content isn’t a haphazard “get it done set of tasks” for us as marketeers and brand folk.  Mark Fidelman from Seek Omega nails in 74 slides.