We’re all experts now

How often have you seen product or portfolio decisions taken without the support of robust insights?

In the absence of existing insights, gathering meaningful data can be time-consuming and expensive. And with constant downward pressure on both time and cost, the temptation to cut corners is always there and guesswork creeps in. After all, how difficult can it be to guess, particularly considering the amount of information which is already available?

  • The web provides ready access to a vast amount of market data.
  • Discussion forums dedicated to the particular product or topic almost certainly exist, irrespective of how niche it is.
  • Online customer reviews are ubiquitous, instantly available and free.
  • … and since we’re all consumers anyway, we have our own experience to fall back on.

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Meeting, exceeding and managing expectations

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.

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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:

  • smartphone display 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.
  • Home broadband can deliver rates of up to 100 Mb/s. Continue reading

It’s not about the wine; it’s about me!

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.

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How to become the Go To person

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).

MastermindChair

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Dummies

Restaurants in Japan have always understood the value of dressing their windows attractively in order to entice prospective customers inside. Indeed, an entire industry has emerged based entirely on the manufacture of restaurant food models. They are effective because they are so mouthwateringly appealing – at least in appearance, when viewed through a glass window.

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[Photo courtesy of Kenton]

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Consumer delight

Ever experienced consumer delight when using a product or service? It’s a great feeling isn’t it? It’s exciting; pleasurable; intoxicating. But what actually is it? Where does it come from? Why is it so important? And why don’t we experience it more often?

What actually is consumer delight?

It’s hard to know exactly. And it’s almost impossible to predict but we certainly know it when we experience it. Rather like the proverbial bottle of great wine, many of us don’t understand enough detail to know we’re going to like it, but we certainly know it when we’re actually experiencing it.delight_bank Continue reading

“Nobody ever listens”

I went out to dinner last week with 3 colleagues – just a few drinks and something to eat whilst we chatted. The staff took good care of us and we had a thoroughly good evening. As we were presented with the bill, we asked if we could add ten percent, split it four ways and pay with cards, but we were met with an “oops – sorry, we can’t do that“. This was the first problem we had encountered all evening. The waitress explained that the tills weren’t able to take payment for anything different from what was on the bill. Any tips would have to be paid in cash. She said it was a common problem and that she had told her boss about it, but “nobody ever listens“. We tried every way of “tricking” the system into allowing us to overpay but we failed and as none of us had any cash with us, we left without tipping the staff.

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What makes this story all the more worrying, is that I had visited the same place four years ago with the same friends, and had experienced the exact same scenario. Continue reading