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 what’s up with your customers?
Why are they so touchy? It sure seems like customers can very quickly become upset about something that wasn’t covered in your product development, definition and then fly off the handle and be in the streets waving signs and talking with television stations about how bad you are all in the space of a couple of hours. It has become clear that we product managers are now living in a different age and time than we used to. What we need to learn how to do is to deal with customers who have for some reason become very, very angry with either our product or our company.
When this happens, just exactly what is a product manager supposed to do?
Product managers know that making our customers fall in love with our stores, our staff, and our brand is a critical part of our ability to be successful.
This is why over the past few years there has been a big push by product managers to find ways to pamper our customers.
With the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, we now have to take a step back, change our product development definition, and find ways to keep our staff safe while still trying to connect with our customers.
I think that we can all agree that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a very, very bad thing.
Just about every business was shut for a period of time and every product manager had their carefully created product development definition disrupted by the events that were caused by the pandemic. However, things are slowly starting to get better even as the pandemic is still with us.
Product managers who work in the fast food business are among the ones who seem to be getting back on their feet the fastest.
The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a lot of different changes that have swept through many industries.
Many have had to shut their doors and even more have lost customers as people have been forced to stay at home. However, out of all of this madness, there have been some companies that have actually been able to use the pandemic to prosper.
One such firm is in the business of connecting people who may live next door to each other.
Let’s face it, everyone has been impacted by the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even those stores that you would have thought could have made it through an upheaval like this seem to have been impacted. A good example of this is Starbucks. The Starbucks product managers, like everyone else, have had to close their stores for a while.
Now that they are once again able to reopen them, they need to revisit their product development definition and find new ways to generate money for the company in a world that has completely changed.
I can only speak for myself, but if I was a product manager who was put in charge of a marijuana product, I would be very, very happy.
Think about it, what does every product manager want: we want our customers to want our product. When it comes to the product development definition for marijuana, there is no question that it is a very popular product. In fact, with the recent change in laws that has made marijuana legal for a number of different activities, more and more new products that have marijuana in them are being created and introduced. One of the biggest growth areas is drinks that have been infused with cannabis (marijuana).
There is only one problem that the product managers of these products will have to deal with: cannabis tastes really, really bad.
I have a dog. I suspect that many of you have pets also.
I can only speak for myself, but I sure seem to spend a lot of money on food, leashes, toys, clothes, etc. for my dog. You would think with this need to keep buying things in order to take care of my pet, pet store product managers would have a very easy life. It turns out that you would be wrong.
So what’s going on here – why are pet store product managers struggling and do they need to change their product development definition?
So how do you feel about eating meat?
For that matter, how do you feel about eating meat alternatives that are made from plants? Plant-based meat product managers are racing to update their product development definition and fill in for missing cuts of traditional meat in supermarket meat cases, after the coronavirus disrupted operations at meatpacking plants.
How are product managers going to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make their products more successful?
Just in case you didn’t know it, Hermès is a company that makes ladies’ purses among other things.
Hermès is a French high fashion luxury goods manufacturer established in 1837. It specializes in leather, lifestyle accessories, home furnishings, perfumery, jewelry, watches and ready-to-wear. Just like every other business in the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has affected Hermès. Their customers have had to stay home just like everyone else and have been unable to go out and shop for Hermès products.
How has this impacted Hermès?
Restaurant product managers are facing one of the toughest times that they have ever had to deal with. The arrival of the Covid-19 virus has changed everything for them.
Most restaurants have had to shut down for a while and customers have been told to stay at home and not go out. Many restaurants are reporting that their sales have fallen by up to 48% from a year ago. However, not everyone is suffering. In fact, business is booming for some restaurants.
What can product managers learn from the changes that are sweeping through the restaurant industry?
So when you walk into the space that you live in, what’s the first thing that you do?
For many of us, the first thing that we do is to shout out “Hey, Alexa turn on my music” or “Hey Google, turn on the lights in the kitchen.” These virtual assistants who are always there waiting for our next command to them have become a part of our lives. As powerful as they are, the product managers who make them understand a dirty little secret.
They’ve started to hit the wall in terms of what they can do for us.
Let’s face it: that Starbucks coffee sure does taste good.
You know it, I know it, and all of those people who are currently standing in line waiting for their next cup of coffee know it also. Since it is so popular, it may come as somewhat of a surprise to you to learn that Starbucks is currently dealing with slowing foot traffic in their stores – not as many people are visiting them these days. At the same time, a lot of other companies have realized that people are willing to pay a lot of money for good coffee and so competition in the coffee shop business has shot up.
The product managers at Starbucks are going to have to get creative and make changes to their product development definition if they want to keep their profits up.
If you are a product manager and you really want to make your life complicated, then what you should do is decide to develop a health care product.
This is going to make your life complicated in a bunch of different ways. First off, any product that you create is going to have to be approved by federal regulators before people can use it to solve health care issues. Next, you’re going to have to find a way for people’s health care insurance to pay for it. Somewhat amazingly, there are still some product managers who choose to work in this market.
These product managers now think that changing their product development definition and adding artificial intelligence (AI) to their products just might be what they need to do.
Just imagine if you were a product manager for a jewelry store.
Your business would rely on people passing by, being drawn in by something that you had in the window, talking with a sales person, trying jewelry on, and then, with a little luck, buying something. Then the Covid-19 virus strikes and all of your customers start to stay at home – nobody is walking by any more.
What’s a product manager to do?
Let’s face it: the Covid-19 virus has changed just about everything in our lives.
Product managers for liquor have seen a dramatic change in their lives as bars and restaurants have had to close down. Customers who might have drunk their products at home have all been quarantined.
As you can well imagine, this has been a big setback and the plans that these product managers might have had for the rest of the year have had to be shelved and new plans are quickly being put together.
With the arrival of Covid-19, the world of restaurants has been turned upside down.
Restaurant product managers are scrambling to change their product development definition and find ways to keep the doors (virtually) open even as their customers are being urged to stay home. The good news, if indeed there is any, is that customers still like the food that restaurants serve and they would like to eat it. In our modern society with services such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grub Hub home bound customers can simply order restaurant food online and have it delivered to them.
However, this is starting to cause some problems for the restaurants themselves.
Can you think of any job that would be more delicious than being a product manager for a pizza chain?
The product managers at the Papa John’s pizza company probably thought that they had the best job in the world for a very long time. Then things started to change for them. It seems as though almost overnight what had been a pretty easy product manager job suddenly became very difficult.
What do the Papa John’s product managers need to do to change their product development definition and turn things around for the company?
Ok, so there really is no pride here: I’ve been fired.
Not only have I been fired, but it turns out that I’ve been fired a lot. Like a total of seven times. Now, in my own defense I’ve worked for 14 different companies, but seven is still a very big number. I must confess that I really don’t quite know why I’ve been fired so much. As my sister has told me, you know there is one thing in common about all of the jobs that you’ve been fired from – you! I’m a nice guy. I don’t drink, do drugs, I show up for work on time and work the whole day, I get along with people, etc. And yet I still seem to keep getting fired. The good news for you from the flaming car wreck that is my career is that I’ve learned a lot about how to avoid getting fired (don’t do what I did).
Let’s talk about what you need to do as product manager in order to hold on to your job.
So I really enjoy driving my car.
I get in, fire it up, hear the rumble of that motor (ok, so it’s a 4-cylinder motor – it’s not that much of a rumble), I pull out into the street, press the gas petal to the floor, and I’m off! Well, it turns out that over in China, they love their cars too. However, electric cars are currently all the rage and it turns out that the best-selling electric cars are not what you might think that they would be. In my country, the U.S., the best-selling electric cars are the wonders of modern technology created by Tesla – big cars that have every convenience that you could possibly think of. In China, it’s almost the opposite. The best-selling electric cars have a unique product development definition and are tiny and come with almost nothing.
What are these Chinese product managers up to?
As product managers, it is our responsibility to use our product development definition to create products that our customers will want.
With a little luck, they’ll discover our products, decide to buy them, and then place an order. You might think that a product manager’s job would be over at this point in time. However, the good folks at Amazon have succeeded in making our lives just a little bit more difficult. The Amazon Prime program provides Amazon customers with free two-day shipping for anything that they order from Amazon. What this means is the product managers are starting to discover that their customers have been programmed to expect to be able to receive anything that they order within two days.
Are you ready to deliver on this expectation?
Could there be any better job than being a product manager at a pizza company?
I mean, you have the ability to fully understand your product (and eat it to!), you know who your competition is, and your customers clearly want and desire your product. What more could a product manager ask for? Oh, perhaps more market share? Pizza companies have been locked in a battle for market share since the market was invented.
As the future starts to arrive, they are now looking at a game changer that could change their product development definition if they can get it correct, this just might give them the advantage that they have been looking for: driverless cars.
As product managers, the one thing that I believe that most of us feel that we have a pretty good handle on is how new products are created and introduced.
I mean, we’ve worked at companies where this was probably part of our job and so we’ve had to sit through all of the planning meetings, review designs, work with sales, and find ways to get the product actually manufactured.
However, in our constantly changing world, things are once again changing and how new products get introduced is being replaced with microbrands.
So I’m not sure if you are aware of it, but it turns out that all of the people in the world can be divided into one of two different groups.
These groups consist of people who like to get their morning coffee from Dunkin and people who like to get their morning coffee from Starbucks. Traditionally once you’ve picked which group you want to belong to, you will never change your mind.
The product managers at Dunkin have decided that they want to grow their market and so they are preparing to change their product development definition and do battle with the Starbucks product managers in order to see if they can win some more customers over to their way of doing coffee.
So before we dive into my tale of woe, let’s first make sure that we are all on the same page at least in terms of vocabulary.
When you lose a job, there are a couple of different ways to have this happen. One is that you get laid off. This generally happens when the company is forced to reduce its workforce because they’ve run into financial problems or a contract got canceled or they are closing a branch office. Multiple people generally get laid off at the same time. You get the point. When you get fired, it’s a lot more personal. Everyone else is still going to have their job but you are not. You have been told that you are no longer wanted and you need to pack your things up and get out.
This is what happened to me. I got fired.
So where do you live today?
The answer for a lot of us is in an apartment. Now let’s go back and think about what it took to get you into that apartment. First, of course, you had to find the apartment. Then you had to find a way to get the stuff that you owned to the apartment. Then it had to be put into the apartment. Finally, you spent the next weeks, months, years unpacking and putting everything in the place where it belonged. Wow – what an effort that was!
If only there was an easier way to go about this moving into an apartment thing…
We should all have such problems.
The product managers over at that very, very successful company called Amazon are now facing a new challenge. A while back Amazon paid US$13.5B to purchase the high-end grocery store chain called Whole Foods. The Amazon product managers are now under the gun to change their product development definition and apply what they have been able to do so well for selling books and home goods to food.
Just exactly how should they go about doing this?
How about a quick show of hands: who uses Microsoft Office every day?
Hmm, I believe that I see just about everyone’s hands in the air. Let’s face it, outside of the Microsoft Windows operating system, Microsoft Office is just about the most popular piece of software out there. Sure, there are some competitors such as Google Office and Libra Office; however, the biggest share of the market is owned by Microsoft and has been for roughly the past 30 years or so.
So why are the Microsoft product managers so slow to make improvements to Microsoft Office?
Just imagine if you were a product manager for Target stores.
You would be responsible for the success of a brand that has over 1,800 stores sprinkled throughout suburban areas everywhere. However, you would have recently bumped into some problems. Sales at your stores have just taken a dip for the first time in a couple of years. It’s starting to look like you need to take some steps to change things up and get more people to come to your stores if you want your product manager resume to keep looking good.
What are you going to have to do as a product manager to get things back on track?
We all know the company General Electric – at one point in time, they seemed to make just about everything that you could buy that could be plugged in.
These days GE is playing a game of catch up with other companies. GE wants to be a player in the growing business of large-scale electricity storage. The problem that their product managers are facing is that other companies such as Tesla and Siemens already have a strong position in this new business
Looks like they are going to have to update their product development definition and come up with a new product if they want to be competitive.
So let’s picture a typical evening for you.
You get home from work, sort through the mail, change clothes, click on the TV, and then you start to think about dinner. Assuming that you have not gone crazy and called up Uber Eats to deliver you some restaurant food, you are going to be on the hook to create a meal for yourself. If you have some chef skills this won’t be all that hard to do; however, if you are like the rest of us you are going to be searching around for something to eat. One handy solution that a lot of us often go to is the so called “TV Dinner” – a frozen meal that has all of the important parts of a dinner such as vegetables, meat, and a desert.
Is this a meal that product managers could once again make popular?
Being a product manager for a high-end jewelry company would be a pretty good job to have.
You really would not have to sell all that much of your product in order to have a good year. However, these product managers have started to run into a problem. It turns out that the next generation of jewelry buyers, the millennials, just don’t seem to be into the pretty, sparkly, things that you wear every once-in-a-while. These are the things that their parents and grandparents used to buy.
What’s a product manager to do?
Just imagine if you were a product manager at one of the big technology firms out there (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Oracle, etc.).
You would always be under pressure to change your product development definition and come up with new and different ways for the company to make money. You’d probably look at all of the different markets that your company’s resources could be applied to looking for one where you could generate the most money. In the end, you’d probably always come back to the world of finance – that’s where your company’s big computers could do a lot of good.
However, what would you do if your biggest customers were already there?
Ah, to be a product manager at Coke-Cola.
Would that not be the best job ever? Coke is a huge company, it has a very large market share, and every customer that you might ever want to capture has already heard about about your product. What more could a product manager ask for? Coke has been focused on creating sugary drinks even as the rest of the world started to shift its drinking habits to water and healthier options. Coke’s sales were starting to stall and this called for a change in their product development definition.
What could their product managers do to turn things around?
When it comes time to ship a product to a customer, product managers in the U.S. know that they have three different options: the Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS.
FedEx and UPS generally cost more, but they are fiercely competitive and if you hand your package off to them, you know that it will reach where it is supposed to go.
However, it turns out that UPS has been running into some problems and their product managers are going to have to get creative to solve them.
There are exciting product manager jobs and then there are the product manager jobs at the really big food companies.
Yes, yes – the good news is that you’ll probably be a relatively successful product manager no matter what you do simply because the big food companies provide us with the products that we all know and love. However, because of the sameness of the job, there is a good chance that this will not be the most exciting product manager job out there.
However, lately things have been changing and this job is starting to become a lot more cutting edge…
Sigh. As product managers we all would like to think of ourselves as being the person who is in charge of a cool product like Facebook or the iPhone.
However, the world is filled with other products that need the help of product managers and so who’s to say what product we will eventually be put in charge of? One product that perhaps none of us would look forward to managing would be adult diapers. I mean, nobody really wants to buy this product, right?
What’s the best way for a product manager to deal with a product that people need, but don’t want?
As product managers, we all spend our time trying to better understand what our customers really want.
This can be a tricky thing to do. We need to understand what motivates our customers in order to better understand how we can provide them with the products that they will be willing to buy. Product managers at some of the largest companies out there, Amazon, Walmart, and Target, have decided that being able to deliver products that customers have ordered the next day is the best way to attract more customers.
Just exactly how are they going to go about doing this?
Imagine for a moment that you were a product manager working at Starbucks.
The company is growing, everyone likes your product, you would be on top of the world. In fact, Starbucks has opened over 2,000 cafes in the U.S. over the past three years. The result of this rapid growth has been that you can find a Starbucks just about anywhere. However, the downside to all of this growth is that their traffic growth is starting to slow.
What is a Starbucks product manager to do?
Quick quiz: where have you been eating your meals lately?
Perhaps a better version of this question would be: how many times have you eaten at home lately? If you are like most of us, your answer is going to be mixed. Yeah, you might grab a breakfast at home, but do you take your lunch to work? How about dinner – do you eat at home or go out?
Since you are not eating at home as much as you should, you are starting to cause problems for packaged food product managers.
So here’s a quick question for you: what’s the most important meal of the day?
If you said breakfast, then the product managers at Wendy’s would agree with you. Wendy’s has decided to once again make an attempt to expand their product development definition and start to offer breakfast items in an effort to attract more customers to their stores in the morning.
The market for breakfast foods is a crowded market and the Wendy’s product managers may be up against some stiff competition: how can they be successful?
When you travel and you need transportation at the other end of your trip, what do you do?
If you are like most of us, when you are buying your airplane ticket and making your hotel reservation you go ahead and call up an established rental car company and make a reservation. When you fly into the airport, you take the car rental bus to the car rental lot, pick up your car and you drive away. That’s all fine, but that is so old school.
It turns our that there is a new way to get around and it’s changing the rental car product development definition and causing headaches for established rental car company product managers.
The Amazon product managers have a real problem on their hands.
They are in charge of one of the more popular brands in the world and the creation of their Amazon Prime service has only made the company even more popular. However, as we are all aware of, what you did for me yesterday is nice, but what I’m really interested in is what you will be doing for me tomorrow. The Amazon product managers are under a lot of pressure to continue to update their product development definition and keep growing the brand.
One part of the world where Amazon would like to become bigger is Britain. What the product managers need is a way to hook more customers.
The product managers at Amazon have a big problem on their hands.
The company, which is already huge, wants to keep on growing. What this means for the product managers is that they always have to be looking for new businesses that Amazon can expand into.
They think that they may have come up with one that could, over time, make a substantial contribution to the company’s bottom line: a new line of grocery stores.
Retail giants Amazon and Walmart really, really want to start selling a great deal in India.
In fact, they are willing to spend billions to set up shop there. However, their success is not guaranteed. It turns out that they are going to be battling the countless number of mom-and-pop stores that are already there and these stores are not going away any time soon.
How is this battle going to sort itself out?
In the world of shopping in bulk, you have choices.
Specifically, when you need a huge amount of toilet paper or paper towels, you can choose to go to either Sam’s Club or Costco. Where do you choose to go? If you are like most people, if you have a choice you generally choose go to Costco. It’s not clear why we make this choice. I suspect that one of the reasons is because Sam’s Club is so closely tied to Walmart that most of us really don’t want to go there. You would think that the Sam’s Club product managers would have a real challenge on their hands when they went to China.
However, it turns out that was not a problem.
Let’s face it: Amazon is a very big company and they have done a lot of different things very well.
However, it turns out that they may not yet be able to do everything perfectly. One area where the Amazon product managers are still struggling is in Europe. Specifically, when it comes to selling both apparel and footwear they have not yet quite figured out what Europeans really want.
What can the Amazon product managers do to fix this problem?
If you lived in a modern city, how would you chose to get around town?
Yes, you could always walk – however, that’s going to take a lot of time and you are going to be tired when you get where you are going. There are cabs / Uber / Lyft and these all work, but they can quickly become quite expensive. Most cities have buses and subways, but how far away from you is the closest stop and how close is it going to get you to where you want to go?
In these modern times in which we are living, it turns out that you may have another option – ride a bike.
Clearly product managers at the Starbucks coffee chain have no problems getting customers to drop by their stores in the morning and purchase coffee.
However, as is the case with product managers everywhere, the Starbucks product managers are under pressure to keep growing the firm’s profits.
If they are going to do this, then they need to come up with a way to get their morning customers to come back to the stores later in the day and buy more coffee.
When you go shopping, what do you get?
If you are like most of us you probably pick up some eggs, some cheese, some vegetables, and, oh yeah, some milk. However, what type of milk do you get? For a very long time our choices have been somewhat limited. We always got the same types: whole, 2%, or skim. However, some creative product managers are getting ready to change the product development definition of milk and the existing milk product managers are going to have be be ready to deal with it.
What’s going on here?
As product managers, when we want to boost the sales of our product, one of the “levers” that we have to make this happen is the price of our product.
If everything works out the way that it should, if we lower the price of our product then sales should go up. However, product managers who work for traditional retailers are discovering that for them their product development definition has changed and this lever is not working the way that it should. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the fact that their customers are starting to use more technology when they shop is part of the issue.
What can be done to put control of a product’s success back in the hands of product managers?
So here’s an interesting question to kick things off: do you wear a watch?
Not all that long ago, the answer to this question would have been pretty much “yes” for everyone. I mean, how else were you going to be able to tell what time it was? However, as with all such things in life, things have changed. Now when people want to know what time it is, they whip out their mobile phones and glance at them. Kids these days just don’t think about purchasing the fancy watches that their parents used to buy.
What can watch product managers do to change things?
I suspect that if I asked you to take a moment and feel sorry for the product managers who work for Amazon, you probably would not.
For that matter, if I asked you to take a moment and feel bad for the product managers who work for Amazon, you probably would also find that hard to do. However, it turns out that being one of these types of product managers is quite difficult. The reason that it is so hard is because although your company is already very large, you are still under a great deal of pressure to keep growing your product lines.
What’s a product manager to do?
Crate and Barrel sells a lot of furniture.
They are now faced with the age old question of how best to get their furniture noticed by their potential customers. In the past, the firm relied on what had always worked for them: still photographs. However, lately that has all changed. The company now has over a million Instagram followers. They also now produce more digital content then they produce photographs. New videos are published on YouTube weekly.
What changed at Crate and Barrel?
I can’t actually tell you if it would be one of the best product management jobs to have, but I can tell you that it would certainly be one of the most delicious.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about being a product manager who works for YUM Brands. You know, the company that owns the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC brands. It turns out that the world of fast food that these folks live in is undergoing a great deal of change and that means that these product managers have to scramble to change their product development definition and keep up.
As I’m sure that we all know by now, Amazon is a very large company that does a lot of different things: they ship books and products, offer cloud computing resources, and even run an internet based television channel.
The product managers at Amazon are under an enormous amount of pressure to always be looking for ways for the company to keep on growing. This is why they have expanded in to such diverse areas as grocery stores. However, now the Amazon product managers are taking a closer look at how they run their business and they’ve decided that it’s time for some of the firms that they have been relying on to go away.
Now Amazon is getting ready to update their product development definition in order to take on UPS and start its own delivery business.
So for just a moment, picture yourself as a product manager for one of the most iconic products out there: Coke-Cola.
You’ve done a great job – Coke is one of the most popular drinks available and no matter what country you go to, it is very well known. The company makes an enormous amount of money from your soft drink product every year and in all honesty, traditionally you’ve only had one real competitor – Pepsi. However, in the past few years, things have started to become a bit more challenging for you. More and more of your customers are staring to reject the sugary beverage that you are offering them and instead they are choosing to drink water and sports drinks.
What’s a product manager to do?
So who among us has not heard about the famous TV show “American Idol”?
This is the show where anyone can try out to be on the show and the best singers are then selected to compete in a multi-week competition in which one of them will eventually be crowned the “American Idol” and potentially get a lucrative recording contract. This show used to be very popular, then it fell out of popularity and eventually ended up getting canceled. However, now another network is thinking about bringing it back.
Can their product managers change its product development definition and bring a once popular TV show back from the dead?
Amazon is a large and powerful company that dominates the world of online selling. Walmart is a large and powerful company that dominates the world of bricks & mortar selling.
These two firms are starting to come into conflict when it comes to next-day home delivery as Walmart starts to move into online sales and Amazon starts to move into home delivery.
The product managers at Amazon are going to have to sharpen their skills and review their product development definition in order to go into battle with the product managers at Walmart.
Every product manager job is different. Some are easy and some are hard. Right now, being the product manager at Boeing who is responsible for the 737 MAX jet would defiantly fall into the difficult category.
The reason that this would be such a hard job to have right now is because this airplane has experienced a set of disastrous crashes. In October, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia. It was the first fatal accident involving a 737 Max. 189 people died. This was followed in March when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, involving the same Max jet model, also crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board.
How can product manager come back from product setbacks like this?
So if you were a product manager who was in charge of an automobile, what do you think that your #1 concern would be? Do you think that your customers would care most about how fast your car could go? How about how many doors it has or the size of its tires? Could it be the sound system or the built-in navigation system?
What’s very interesting is that although all of these items may be important to your car buying customer, they may not be the one thing that will cause them to buy or not buy your car. What could that one thing be you ask?
How about cupholders?
So if you are running a business and you’d like to keep your customers aware and informed about what products you are offering, what’s the best way to go about doing this?
In our modern age, a lot of product managers would look at their product development definition and say that you need to update your web site and they’d be correct.
However, what more and more store owners are discovering is that one of the oldest retailing tricks has somehow survived the arrival of the e-commerce wave – the paper circular.
Quick question for you: when was the last time that you were in a Barnes & Noble bookstore?
When I tried to answer this question, I had to think about it for awhile. I think that the last time I actually entered one of their stores was around Christmas when I had whittled my list down to the last few people who are always hard to shop for. Since then, I haven’t been back. The Barnes & Noble product managers know that I have not been back – that’s a problem for them.
Clearly they need to make some changes in order to get people like me to both visit their stores more often and, of course, buy more stuff!
So if I was to take a look inside of your purse or wallet right now, what would I find? I’m willing to bet that you probably have either a Visa or a Mastercard credit card, perhaps an American Express credit card or even a Discover credit card. However, what else would be there?
Would you have any store issued credit cards? Perhaps from Walmart, Macy’s, Home Depot, etc.?
Well guess what, these store issued credit cards are in trouble and their product managers are scrambling to find ways to change their product development definition in order to save them.
Shaving is something that men without beards or mustaches do just about every day.
In all honesty, I don’t think that we spend a lot of time thinking about shaving – it’ just something that we do.
Over at Gillette, since they make razors, they spend a lot of time thinking about how men shave and they have reached a startling conclusion: their products cost too much!
Let’s face it: if you are a product manager for the traditional car engine, called an internal combustion engine, things are looking rather tough for you right now.
The world is changing and you’ve suddenly got a lot of completion. The arrival of popular electric vehicles and a bunch of new government regulations about pollution mean that internal combustion engines are now at risk and their product development definition is going to have to be changed.
The good news for product managers is that the auto makers and oil companies are coming together to find ways to save this type of engine. The secret appears to be a new high-tech engine oil.
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.