The software market is constantly evolving. Want proof? In the span of a single week technology website Network World reviews an average of more than 20 software and hardware products. For executives at software development companies, the challenge is one of balance — too many products and you get lost in the noise; too few, and you’re not taking best advantage of your market niche. Here’s a top-level guide to help ensure your product portfolio is in good health.
Product managers always feel the pressure to grow their business through innovation. When they can successfully create competitive differentiation, fill a gap in product technology or offer a more complete solution, they can drive business growth and gain market share.
While innovation is key to business growth, so is time-to-market. That’s why smart product managers consider all their options for their innovation strategy. Should they develop the solution in-house? Buy it? or would it be best to partner with another company?
Choosing the right strategy is difficult. Making the decision to build, buy or partner will test every strand of your company’s fabric. Each avenue has ample benefits and risks, so the decision must take into account all aspects of your company and its strengths and weaknesses.
The decision requires a thorough understanding of your market, your competition, your current customers and, most importantly, those who have not chosen to be your customer.
Many of us in the field of technology product management are so familiar with market segmentation principles that we take them for granted. In fact, I would bet that many of you respond to the topic with a big yawn. So, you might be surprised to learn that we have found that too many product managers don’t go far enough with segmentation to get the results they need to grow their business.
We’ve all seen the analyst reports that estimate that a particular market size is huge and growing. Typically, these markets are defined in lofty and large terms that are perfectly fine for journalists and bloggers to quote in their posts, but inadequate for those of us responsible for making decisions about product features, pricing and go-to-market strategy.
You won’t be alone if you have relied on an analyst’s market definition to frame your target market segment. Frankly, thorough and thoughtful market segmentation requires effort and time. It isn’t a trivial exercise. Even if you believe that your segmentation is as complete as it can be, read on to learn how we suggest you test it just to be certain.
“One’s first love is always perfect until one meets one’s second love.” Elizabeth Aston
I was honored to participate in a podcast hosted by my friend Michael Hopkin. Michael has a blog site dedicated to Product Management (http://www.leadonpurposeblog.com/) and also runs a podcast called The Product Management Pulse.
It was great fun and Michael is a great host. Mostly it got me to think, talk and reminisce about my first love—Product Management.
Over the 30 minutes or so I was able to cover several of my favorite Product Management topics but in replaying it I realized I never got around to one of my most stringent rules for being a good Product Manager (although God knows I tried, I even attempted to talk through the break).
This post was originally published on On Product Management.
As much as we may focus on the role of Product Managers in building great products, it’s equally important to focus on the role Product Management plays with other groups in the company and top-line revenue overall. This was underscored recently when a friend told me about something that happened earlier this year at her company.