First 100 days as Product Manager

days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
First 100 days of Product Management


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    First 100 days of Product Management

    This article talks about the first 100 days of ground work that a Going-to-be-Product Manager needs to do before even thinking about the first plan…


    It will definitely reduce the failure rates of the product manager.The discussions regarding the technicalities or operational aspects of product marketing or product management is covered in a different article by your's truly..!!

    Here Product Management & Brand Management is kept separate & hence the article doesn’t get into detailing of the First 100 days of Brand Management

    Although the basics of product marketing management is same across all business formats like B2C, B2B, B2B2C, C2C, and distribution-based business, both offline & online sales channel, but the importance of various sub parameters of basics changes as per the format. This article explores the basics—for format wise & sales channel wise (offline & online) discussions, kindly refer to other articles of my blog

    Way back in 1800’s, when organizations were taking structure, #product was the king...!!Henry ford went on to say, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, as long as it is black."….
    days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
    Product Dominance during Henry Ford's times

    Such was the dominance of product…it used to be the core of the business which customers used to purchase. Over a period of time, as customer became the king, businesses started to make products as per their requirements…mind what I said…products…so products still remained equally important..!!...Today, with advent of online and subsequent omni-channel concept…customer satisfaction has moved beyond product…mind what I said again…beyond product…so product still stays the core…!! With the proliferation of service industry…the definition of product took a new look…now services (many of them) are also defined as product..!!....so product not only stayed a tangible element…but also moved to being intangible….u go for a haircut…based on the cut style…there is a certain amount of  money you pay….oolllaaa😍😍……product is still there…..

    In a nut shell, product has moved from being a “NECESSARY & SUFFICIENT” requirement as an offering to a consumer in late 1800’s ……to a “NECESSARY” requirement for today’s business…. but it still is Necessary & a very important part of the business offering

    days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
    Product has moved from being a “NECESSARY & SUFFICIENT” requirement as an offering to a consumer in late 1800’s ……to a “NECESSARY

    There are many definitions of product in marketing & business books…let’s look @ one understandable and most importantly implementable..!!….it’s the main offering to your customers among all other ancillary offering to make up the main offering…u sale computers with call center for complain…nobody will complain if they don’t buy your computer…so computer is the product…u are into hospitality where you give one spa free with stay…the proposition doesn’t start if somebody doesn’t stay....so room-night is the product….(would like to state that in most cases the second example is called service, call it if you like so, because the note in remaining section doesn’t change with nomenclature…!!)


    I have been taking about product…but then the header of the article says Product Management…why use the term Management here…what’s the management part…is it really important or a fancy term to make the overall sound more professional, stylish etc etc..😜


    Yes, it’s important…because it broadly tells you what to do with the product...!! else think about this…. you are given a product…say a soap…You know you have to market/sale it…now what…???...so you are there with a product and the objective with it…but how to attain the objective…the Management in product management broadly tells you how to get there…the objective… 😊


    So, let’s try to answer few questions which will make us this better...

    What is given to you?...A product…!!...Ok, what is that in the product…what is it made of, what does it do---- Recollect the things you have loved in your life as you were growing up…may be your first bicycle, your first computer, your first phone….then remember the way you made it an integral part of your life…the way you explored it…all things you did with it---- Result---Nobody on earth knew your bicycle, your computer, your phone better than you😘—similarly, you need to know your product like that--- You should be the best in the organization to know about your product---


    Knowing the Product

    A product manager should know the best in the organization the product/portfolio he handles, which also means he/she should Knowing the Product in & out (technically, physically, chemically, etc. etc...)

    days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
    Product is like a baby for Product Manager

    Why the company has made the product.... To sale it…ohhh😱😲….is it???.... No….to make money i.e. profit out of it… (Sales is the way for that)…how to make profit??. When one sales the product @ a price higher than the overall cost (overall cost= product cost+ marketing cost+ distribution cost+ inventory cost+ etc etc)----   You want to make your product/portfolio the star performer in the organization…right…which means your product should earn sustainable profit for the company, for which the product owner…which is You, should be thorough with all elements discussed in this paragraph-- 


    Knowing the commercial aspects of product

    A product manager needs to know the commercial aspects of the product…Sales, Margin, Price, Cost etc of the product so that he can work towards making it commercially viable

    days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
    How to make product commercially viable?

    Who do the company sale the product to make sales/margin etc??...obviously customers..!! everybody knows…Who is this customer..!!...a buyer…that’s understood…ok, lets again retrospect…remember your first love…there is a very high possibility that you knew the person the best among all people around that person…even sometime to the extent you could predict how the person is going to react to certain things and what is the next probable move of that personπŸ‘πŸ‘…that’s what you call knowing somebody..!!...Well the target should be that for your customers also….because @ the end of the day, they are the group who is going to buy (a sale & corresponding margin—star product, u remember , we talked about). But then, it’s not one person, it’s not possible to know the entire group of customers like the way one knows one person…agreed …very right…so let’s look @ what are the things you need to know about your customers…

    Knowing the customers

    A product manager needs to know the following about his customers

    days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
    5W + H of Product

    Why does he buy your product—Helps you to position your product etc.
    When does he buy your product—Helps you to arrive @ promotions, helps in timing promotions
    Where does he buys your product---Helps in ads placement (where to advertise), communication media & tool selection, product availability etc.
    Who buys your product—Helps you in grouping customers based on geography, usage (industry types in B2B), income levels etc—Helps you in tailor made communications, helps in communication media & tool selection
    What does he buy--- True reason for consumer purchase--- Identification of the benefit & corresponding need-- This helps you to make product extensions, New product developments etc
    How does he buy--- Buying process/purchase funnel—Critical in marketing plan as you know when to do what in which sales channel (offline & online)


    For product managers in an offline business where there is Trade involved as a part of RTM (Route to Market), he/she should know (5W+1H) for both the trade (direct customers) as well as the end consumer.


    All things are now set, but then you need to reach to your customer with the product…right…or…he should reach you to buy the product…or may be both…else how to you make the all-important sale---It’s like you need to reach a destination & have different modes of transport available to reach to the destination (road, air, sea)…. similarly, you must reach your customer …. (like destination) & different modes are available offline/online/TV shopping/tele sales /direct sales etc. (like modes of transport). Say you have decided on the mode of transport , may be you choose 2 types….road and air…& finally decide to freeze on one….similarly you choose … offline & online medium to reach to your customers…Now on road you have car-on-rent, bus service, rail etc. …similarly in offline you have (distributor based sales, direct billing dealers , company owned showrooms etc.) & in online its (on website, marketplaces like amazon, flipkart etc.).Now as based on the types of mode of transport you select (like rent-a-car on road vis-Γ -vis a chartered flight on air mode), your expenses, time of travel, comfort of travel will vary…similarly here…based on the distribution model you choose (say distributor based offline business model vis-Γ -vis marketplaces like amazon, flipkart  etc. online distribution model) your distribution expense, time-to-market, promotions etc. will also vary😊😊

    Knowing the Distribution model

    Hence, it’s very important for you as a product manager to know the distribution model (along with commercials of the same) & its implication for your product



    days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
    Distribution Model & its implementation

    Now days monopolistic economy is a history (in maximum cases), hence under most circumstances, your products will have competition around….it’s like fighting with somebody ….i am sure majority of us had @least one fight since childhood days…πŸ˜‰ ……few of us may have many fights😲 now remember that one fight…if you knew the opponent better….you would then know his weakness better….so you can then bash him @things he/she is weakπŸ˜„πŸ˜. Similar is the case in business, you need to know your competitor’s weakness to hit them hard…. & also, their strength…. not be get hit yourself... πŸ˜‡. But wait again, there is not one competitor like in the case of one-to-one fight & they have multiple strengths & weakness….so the solution is…...

    Knowing the Competition

    All those points that were discussed earlier which you need to know for your product, all those points you need to know for your competition also.

    days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
    Know your competition product as good as your's

    If we plot the movement of product/service in any organization, then all the business functions   (doing different roles) contribute directly/indirectly to give shape to the final product….which means, to get the product in the right form (right features, right communication, right delivery, targeted sales etc etc) the product manager needs to align all those stakeholders. For the alignment, its important product manager needs to appreciate the roles of other stakeholders & the value they create for the product/service. For appreciation, the product manager needs to be in their shoes….no…I am not telling to do their job…. but to understand their job…..the challenges they face & subsequent deliverables. This can only happen if the product manager spends quality time with those stakeholders & continuously keep on interacting with them, which will not only improve efficiency & effectiveness of the entire system, but also increase ownership of all stakeholders of the product & thus enhance their alignmentπŸ‘. 

    Relationship Management

    So, the product manager needs to develop a healthy professional relationship with other stakeholders like R&D, Operations, design, Supply chain, Sales, Marketing/brand/communication, finance etc parallel to the other points that has been detailed earlier.

    days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
    Product Management & cross functional roles

    There are 2 types of business that you can join as a product manager—either it’s an existing business or a start-up. In case of existing business, it’s good to have the attitude of being innovative & disruptive….but equally important to know what’s that done in the past for the same product/category/related product category (if it’s a new product line)…I find this lacking in maximum of the product managers…they are reluctant to retrospect..!! 😨. The study of the previous efforts & their results will help you…the product manager…..as the DON’T’s NOT TO BE DONE are largely clear….which reduces the chances of failure….πŸ˜ƒ. For a start-up, it’s important to understand the eco-system before jumping the gun. It’s like…..it rains @ Mumbai during July every year….people get drenched so they carry an umbrella….i came to Mumbai….didn’t care to look @ history….went out & got drenched when it started raining…..& then blame the rains..!!πŸ˜›


    Knowing the History

    It’s a perfect example of smart work for the product manager to look @ historical efforts in that product/category to reduce failure rates

    days-as-product-manager, first 100 days as product manager,product marketing, product management, product story, product promotion, product, sales, service, digital marketing, offline sales of product, online sales of product, product innovation, NPD, NPL
    Product Manager's learnings

    Its advisable to start thinking about the first plan as a product manager after one is thorough with the above points….its good for the company & also for the product manager…..in no ways I am trying to say-- stop ideating during first 100 days😠..no..never stop ideating….rather write down the ideas that keep on popping up during this time…revisit it once you have developed a thorough understanding of the discussed points….welcome to product marketing management…πŸ‘πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘


    Summary Snapshot - First 100 days of Product Management




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