The Quarter in Review – Q1 2011

I am not sure how it happened but somehow the first quarter of the year has come and gone. I want blame it on a product launch, a trip or two, and SXSW but it could just be that 2011 is going to be a fast year.

Hopefully, you will have a moment to reflect on what has transpired over the last three months. During your review, here’s chance to revisit a few of the quarter’s outstanding product blog posts – covering everything from leading product vision to not sucking. I hope you find these reads as insightful as I did. Enjoy!

If you made this change, how would you know if it worked? If you can’t answer that, it’s not measurable enough for you to start with. (Your instincts on how to effective measure success will get better over time; I’m just saying, if you don’t grok it now, start with something simpler.)

Influence from the Bottom Up – product leaders who consistently build, communicate and collaborate with market data, current trends, competitive knowledge, customer feedback and data points developed from daily activities have a higher probability of impacting their organizations product vision.

Build trust and stronger customer relationships by ensuring that the design of your marketing artifacts and your messages are consistent. This will build customer confidence in your ability to complete projects on time, on budget and other positive thoughts about the business. If you promise me a pb&j, deliver it.

What’s important, and difficult (especially for people with technology backgrounds), is to think about it in terms of what people are trying to accomplish – not how they are trying to accomplish it. In a business process view, it is the difference between process (why) and procedure (how).

I refuse to believe that there are more bad marketers out there than there are bad programmers or sales people. But I also believe Fred’s right that the failure rate in senior Marketing positions at startups is high (I’ve certainly mopped up after a few). Why? I think companies often hire the wrong marketer for the job and marketers sometimes accept the wrong job. Both problems stem from the fact that “Marketing” means many different things.

Small and growing PM organizations typically suffer from lack of resource/bandwidth, scalability, ability to work across organizations, ability to impact change and in some cases, overall domain knowledge. All of these can be traced to a lack of understanding of the overall objectives of the PM role and the reactive nature in how the PM organization was created.

Maybe it’s the “product manager equals president” mindset that causes us to micro-manage others. And maybe it causes us to enable the dysfunction of others. But unless we can fix the people and the process, product management is often just hiding the real issues.

If you want your prospects to pay attention, start your presentation by telling them what you’re going to do for them or – even better – tell them what you know about their problems. Be audacious, so long as you can back it up: “We’re going to get you to the RIGHT cloud, faster.”

If the overarching tech marketing theme in the ’90s was all about marketing as branding, and in the ’00s, marketing as lead generation, then the ’teens are shaping up to be about marketing as education. But not about educating customers about your product, per se. No, what I mean is educating customers about the business process/function and best practices that underlay your product, i.e., that your product supports.

and from A Random Jog, here’s our most popular post of the quarter:

Even more fascinating is the strong marketing community they’ve been able to build. In the last month alone, they’ve generated over 30,000 leads (yes that’s in one month) and their marketing blog, webinars, resources etc are a great source of tips and best practices for any marketer.

and the most commented on:

The challenge of us in the marketing world is to do a better job learning the strategies and tactics and understanding when and where to use them. The challenge of those hiring startup marketers, make sure you find one that understands that marketing is not a “one-size-fits-all” problem and one that can address not only where you are now but where you want to be.

 

Image credit: Simon Cocks

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  • What a great list! I’ve got a lot of reading to do this week, somehow I missed many of these. Thanks for including one of mine – flattered!nnNow I have to have a goal for Q2 – write something good enough to get on the next quarter in review.nnThanks again!nnScott (@sehlhorst on Twitter)

    • Hey Scott,nnThanks for the comment and thanks for sharing the great post! Looking forward to talking more soon at the next prodCast! nnJosh

  • JoshnnThanks for including my post amongst a great list of article. nnSaeed (@saeedwkhan)

    • Saeed,nnThanks for the comment and thanks for continuing to share your Product Management knowledge!nnJosh

  • Jim Holland

    Josh – Thanks for including one of my post in your list for Q1. I’m amazed at the pace where product management can find and connect with relevant information. nnThanks for your contributions!nnJim

    • Jim,nnThanks for the comment and for the great post.nnKeeping up with the pace is the hard part. I am still amazed when I revisit all the posts I flagged for the quarter how much quality there is and how easy it is to miss some really good content.nnKeep up the great blogging!nnJosh

  • Tim Johnson

    Josh,nnThanks also for being added to the list and honored to be included with such luminaries. Like Scott, I, too, have a goal of being included next quarter. Dang, need another quarter for my blog idea generating machine. Maybe Boris can help…

    • Looking forward to hearing what Boris has to say next!nnThanks for the comment and the great post.nnJosh

  • fantastic job. I did not anticipate this. This is a excellent story. Thanks!