It’s sometimes difficult for a Product Manager to know whether customer expectations are there to be met or exceeded. Exceeding them has always struck me as the best way to deliver customer delight; merely meeting them must be the absolute bare minimum. Project & programme managers, on the other hand, often argue that exceeding expectations is setting the bar unnecessarily high, and that if expectations are set correctly in the first place, the objective should be to meet them.
But marketing messages can set expectations at an altogether different level. Are we reading too much into them? Are we being blinded by numbers and facts without questioning their relevance? For example:
A smartphonedisplay window made from Gorilla Glass is strong enough to withstand the weight of 10,000 elephants (yes, ten thousand) before it cracks.
A standard family car with a normal range of 800 miles can, with careful driving, cover more than 1,600 miles on a single tank of fuel.
I can’t understand how this happened. Surely the product wasn’t specified this way? Maybe pure laziness? I really don’t know, but I have my suspicions. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same?
Last week I found myself staying for 2 nights in an out-of-town hotel. The sort of boxy hotel which is cloned hundreds of times across the country, perfectly clean and functional but totally devoid of any personality. Fit for purpose, adjacent to a roundabout on an arterial road close to my destination – it was just the thing I was looking for.
These places always seem to be designed to the same specification – very much a “bare essentials” approach had been adopted, with everything in its place and nothing extra. Designed to meet, rather than exceed my expectations. With the exception of the TV remote, that is.
The recent press release from Amorim and O-I announced the joint development of Helix, the innovative solution to wine bottle sealing. In doing so, they demonstrated the importance of listening to their consumers, rather than concentrating solely on the technology. It’s not about the wine; it’s about me, the consumer.
I was speaking recently with a potential client about their expectations of a product manager, and in particular how far they expected the role to reach. After resolving a few terminology issues, we agreed that the product manager should be the Go To person for the product.
As a product manager, you must be the Go To person for your product. If you’re not, why is there someone else who knows more about your product than you? And what do they know about your product which you don’t know? Your product must be your “specialist subject” (to use terminology from the popular TV programme Mastermind).