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Using product management to understand your market

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Product management is understanding what the market wants and then providing it. A business could have what it thinks is a great product, but if it doesn’t fix a problem or it’s the same as everything else on the market, then it’s likely the market won’t buy it.

1. Meet the needs of the market

Michael Crouch, chairman and CEO of Zip Industries, the first company in the world to develop instant boiling water heaters, told Peter Switzer on his Sky News Business Channel program that he believes innovation is important to business success.

“I learnt over hard years that you couldn’t be a ‘me too’ in life,” he says. “That’s why I’m so wrapped up in innovation today because you have to do something differently and you have to do it better.”

Some businesses see the greener future as a threat, but he explains his products are keeping up with the changes.

“You’ve got to meet the market demands and the market expectations,” he says.

Most businesses should learn from this important tip. Serve what the customer wants and they will return to do more business.

There will always, one can assume, be a need for some selling. But the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous,” business thinker Peter F. Drucker wrote in his book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy.”

2. Is your business market-driven?

Steve Johnson from Pragmatic Marketing, in his e-book, The Strategic Role of Product Management – How a market-driven focus leads companies to build product people want to buy says a company has to be “market-driven”. This means listening to what the market wants.

A market-driven company defines itself by the customers it wishes to serve rather than the capabilities it wishes to sell,” he says.

A product manager, Johnson says, is “the voice of the market full of customers”.

3. Listen to customers

It’s vital to listen to your customers and find out what they want. Why would people buy something they don’t need? Work out how you can make your customers’ or potential customers’ lives easier by identifying problems and then solving them. This means finding a gap in the market and filling it.

This will also serve to give your product a point of difference. Marketing guru Seth Godin argues it’s important to make your business stand out, just like a purple cow in a field of brown cows.

4. Get up to speed with product management

Remember to read plenty of books on the topic and also consider a business coach to help with strategies to help you listen to what your market wants. It’s crucial to do your research when it comes to product management.

So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

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