Managing a product is not just a business, it’s a science. Nobody knows more about the science of product management than Dr. Jim Anderson.
As Dr. Anderson says “I don’t embrace excuses from product managers about why their products are not successful, I embrace solutions.”
Over the last 25 years, Dr. Anderson has transformed failing products worldwide. Dr. Anderson will turn these money pits into money makers. Welcome to the premier blog for learning how to develop, launch, and manage wildly successful products.
For a product to be successful, it takes an entire company working together.
So let’s talk about email for just a moment. If you are like me, you get a ton of the stuff. In all honesty, most of it is junk and I just end up deleting it even before I read it.
However, there are those one or two emails that just happen to catch my eye. I’m in the market for something and that email seems to be talking about what I know that I’m looking for. When this happens, and it doesn’t happen very often, I will open and, gasp!, read the email.
It turns out that retail product managers are currently not doing a very good job of getting me to open the emails that they send me. What’s up?
When was the last time that you went out to a mall?
For most of us, it’s probably been a while. We used to always go to the mall – that’s where you could get stuff, especially during the holidays. However, with the arrival of online shopping most of us don’t go to malls as much anymore. This has created a problem for mall product managers.
Creating and filling a mall with stores used to be a straightforward job for product managers: get a few big stores, get some smaller but still well known stores, and ta-da you had a mall.
However, with today’s changing retail situation, mall product managers are having to change their product development definition and how they do their job.
Product managers for grocery stores have actually had it pretty easy for quite some time. If you think about it, your local grocery store probably has not changed all that much since you were a little kid. Oh sure, now they have organic vegetables and perhaps they create prepared meals, but their product development definition has not really changed all that much.
It turns out that big changes are getting ready to come. With the arrival of “shop from home services”, grocery stores are going to have to change in order to stay in business.
It sure seems like their product managers are going to have to start to get innovative.
How many of you have ever been involved in a water balloon fight? I’m willing to bet that most of us have at some point in time.
Do you remember how that went? You got some balloons, then it seemed to take forever as you used the hose to fill the balloons, and then you proceeded to run around your yard throwing your balloons at your friends trying to get them as wet as you possibly could. I think that we can all agree that the biggest delay in our fun was the annoying time that it took to fill up all of those water balloons.
Well good news, that problem has been solved. However, soon after it was solved someone else came along with the same solution.
What’s a product manager to do?
So here’s a quick question for you: what is the shortest time that you’ve ever worked at a product manager job?
Product managers are generally considered to be valuable members of the product team who work on the product development definition and we can have a direct impact on the bottom line of the product project that we are involved in. We’re valuable and generally a company would be resistant to getting rid of us as long as our product is doing well.
That’s why I was surprised when I got fired after two weeks on the job at my new product manager position.
As product managers, the one thing that we’d all like to have is more customers. We dream of the day that we’ve created a product development definition that will cause our customers think about our product and then as quickly as they can take action to get their hands on it.
These hopes and dreams are no different for product managers who work in the restaurant industry. These product managers have the same set of things that they want. A little while back they thought that they had found a way to make it happen: create mobile applications to support their restaurant!
Well, good idea, but it came with some side effects that nobody had counted on…
Let’s be straight about a few things: the world in which we live is currently changing. A lot. Nowhere is this more evident than perhaps when we take a look at how consumers go about buying food.
This used to be a simple task: people jumped into their cars with their food shopping list in hand and drove to the local grocery store and got what they needed. However, with the arrival of that internet thing, this is all starting to change.
People are now starting to shop for food online. What this has meant for food company product managers is that their world is changing. Case in point. People who are shopping online tend to just buy exactly what is on their shopping list. Nothing else.
This means that product managers have to come up with ways to change their product development definition so that they can convince them to add last minute items that they may not have been planning on buying. How are they going to do that?
So let’s see a show of hands. Who here enjoys a delicious, juicy, burger? Hmm, I don’t see everyone’s hands going up, but I do see just about everyone’s hands going up. There is no question that in the developed 1st world countries, people do love their meat.
There’s just one problem – it turns out that it’s really expensive in terms of land, water, and feed to raise the animals that produce all of that meat. As the rest of the world starts to develop a taste for protein, we’re just not going to be able to keep doing things the way that we’re doing them today.
Looks like its time for the product managers to step in and lend a helping hand by changing their protein product development definition.
Every product needs a product manager. This means that things that are good for us (think vegetables, running shoes, and protein bars) all need product managers. Likewise, things that are legal but perhaps not so good for us also need to have their own product managers (think guns, fatty foods, and porn). Into this latter category falls cigarettes.
There is no doubt that cigarettes are a big business or that they are bad for the customers who choose to use them. They are legal, but they are also generally considered to be deadly for those who choose to smoke. This is the way that the world has been for quite some time. Until things changed.
All of sudden, cigarette product managers found themselves in the challenging position of having to find ways to get their customers to not smoke.
Just imagine if you were a product manager at Amazon. What would one of your biggest challenges be? There’s no problem with Amazon having what your customers want – Amazon is huge and they’ve got a lot of warehouses. No, your biggest problem would be just exactly how you were planning on getting what your customer has ordered from your warehouse into their hands. Like a million times a day. Good news. Amazon thinks that they may have found a solution to this problem: hub.