Results Of YOUR Vote: Where Do Product Managers Need The Most Help?

The results of the first ever The Accidental Product Manager “where do you need the most help with product management” survey are now in! First off, let me take just a moment and thank everyone who took the time to (1) read my really long email, and (2) hit the “reply” button and sent me the number of the area of product management that you would most like to have help with. The answers were both exactly what I was expecting and a bit of a surprise at the same time – let me explain.

The Vote

Before we spend any time reviewing the results of this survey, we should probably take a step back and make sure that we all remember just exactly what everyone was voting on. I created 7 (very high level) stages of the product management process. The question that I asked everyone was which of these stages was the one that they would like to know more about?

  1. Know – all the stuff you are supposed to do before you decide to create a product. ID customers, segments, needs, etc.
  2. Plan – once you’ve decided to create a product (or a next version) this is all of the business planning, sales planning, roadmap creation, etc. that comes next.
  3. Execute – you know what your product looks like, this is where you determine who you’ll be selling it to, how you’ll get their attention, how much it will cost, etc.
  4. Create – this is the heavy lifting: understanding your customers, creating your messaging, coming up with product requirements, creating various forms of content, etc.
  5. Refine – we never do everything right the first time, this has to do with how we learn from what we’ve done in order to get better
  6. Succeed – how do you help your company sell your product and what types of tools and training are you on the hook for?
  7. Next – sometimes called support, this is really all about how you work with your existing customers to prep them to buy your next product or version of the product that they already have

And did you tell me! It took an entire weekend for me to sort through everyone’s responses. I just want to let everyone who took the time to send a response how much I appreciate your participation in this exercise. Now let’s get on to the results!

The Results

So who won? The first stage of the product management process, Know, was the winner – however, not by much! The second stage, Plan, came in a very close second. Third place was a bit farther down the line in slot #4 – Create.

What’s even more interesting is what parts of the product management process didn’t win. These were the final three stages: Refine / Succeed / Next. I’ll have more to say about this later on.

What this tells me is that everyone seems to be tuned into the fact that if you want to manage a successful product, you need to do your homework up front. Doing the market research and knowing who your customer is before you start to manufacture and ship products is vital.

What These Results Tell Us

As an experienced product manager, the results of this survey don’t really surprise me all that much – but they do confirm a number of different things. We product managers always seem to like to focus on the “sexy” part of product management: product definition. What we don’t like as much is the grind of actually helping to sell the things once they’ve been created.

This is actually a bit of a mistake on our part I think. If you want to be a successful product manager and move up in your company, you are not going to be recognized for how pretty of a product you can create (unless you work for Apple). Instead, what the company is going to be looking at you to do is to create a product that they can sell a lot of . This is exactly what happens at the tail end of the product management process.

In order for a product to be a success, you can’t do it all alone. The final few stages of the product management process have a lot to do with you working with other people and departments in your company. This isn’t easy to do and yes, you really don’t have a lot of control over what they are going to be doing.

In the end, being a product manager is a tough job. There is a lot of work that we have to do and it’s not always clear what we need to be doing or how we can determine if we’ve done it well.

Next Steps

So why did we go through all of the effort of doing a survey? Simple – you’ve been asking for it. During the 4 years that I’ve been publishing The Accidental Product Manager not a week has gone by that I’ve not received questions from readers about one or more areas of being a product manager. I’ve been there and I’ve done it and I’m more than willing to share what I know.

Ultimately, answering questions one at a time struck me as just not really being all that efficient – I’m sure that there are a lot of you out there that have the same questions. I needed to come up with a way to provide you with a product management system that you could use and to answer your questions about how to become a successful product manager.

I’m just about ready to take the wraps off of an online product manager training course that I’m going to be rolling out here in a few days. This is going to be unlike any other Product Management training you’ve ever seen so keep your eyes open. Great things are coming your way!

What All Of This Means For You

This has been a good learning experience for me. All too often I think that I know everything and it’s good for me to be reminded that I really don’t! The fact that I got so many different responses from so many different people tells me that there is a real need out there for some really good product management information.

It is very clear that the field of product management is still a new field. We’re all very interested in what happens at the beginning. In part, we’re correct – you’ve got to get things off to a good start if you want your product to be a success later on down the line. However, it’s also very clear that we don’t yet fully understand where the money comes from. Money is made once the product has been created. That’s when the really hard product management work starts!

I’ve got your answers – and once again thank you very much for providing them to me. Now I’ve got to get my act together and create the training that you are so very clearly asking for. Give me just a bit of time and I think that I’ll be able to provide you with what you are asking for…

Making Money By Selling Products Online

WHAT PRODUCTS CAN YOU SELL ONLINE?

You cannot make money, online or offline, unless you have something to sell, thus figuring out what that ‘thing’ shall be your first step. There are many things you can sell online, from digital products to physical items. Many people think about things that they enjoy or have a passion for when they are trying to start an online business.

For instance, if you are an avid collector of fridge magnet, why not get into the business of that? I have a friend who attended the same Internet Seminar with me a few years ago who are now successful in her online business, using fridge magnet as the base.

Another example, if you are a good proofreader or a certified translator, you could offer proofreading or translating services. The list of possible things that can be sold online is huge. Let us examine some of the different kinds of things one can sell online in order to build a successful online business.

PHYSICAL PRODUCTS

When we say physical products, they are actually any tangible thing that a customer purchases from you. While the list of possible physical products could go on and on, a few examples of physical products for sale can include but not limited to thumb drives, stickers, books, t-shirts, shoes, cookware, electronic gadgets, dresses and others.

There are many different companies selling physical products that are highly successful. People enjoy being able to click a button and purchase things that they want without having to leave their homes. This is one reason sites like eBay are so popular; individuals are able to find the things they want at cheaper prices.

NON-PHYSICAL PRODUCTS

In this category, there is a huge industry of non-physical products when it comes to online businesses. People are able to sell things without having to stock items, or ship anything to the customer. This is because the customer receives it immediately. Informational products are one massive part of this industry, and can mean anything from self-help e-Books to audio books, to guide on how to build things and much more.

Just a few examples of non-physical products include but limited to PIN numbers for refillable mobile phones, software, and pre-made website banners or logos. Non-physical products definitely have an advantage over physical products when it comes to delivering the product to the customer.

SERVICES

Another thing one can sell online is a service of some sort. There are hordes of freelancers who do this online every single day. For example, freelance writers, website builders and even flash programmers are working online providing a service and getting paid for their work.

There are other kinds of services one can sell online and it could be anything from proofreading manuscripts to selling insurance, will writing, vacation spots, and much more.

Selling a service online can be beneficial because many times there is an existing company that you can work for in order to sell those things. This means that you won’t have to start your business from scratch and do not have to come up with the money up front that most people need to start a business.

SUMMARY

Before you can build an online business, you will need to determine exactly what do you want to sell. Use your interests, passions, or hobbies to guide you as you choose from physical products, non-physical products, or services.

There are unique advantages and disadvantages of each type of product you can sell online, thus you will want to take these into account as well. Once you have determined what you want to sell, you can move on to setting up your own online business. As for me, I choose to run my Internet business by writing and selling e-Book.

The Reason Why Your Business Needs Promotional Products

It’s kind of strange to see so many businesses still stuck decades in the past when it comes to advertising – at least in some aspects. While it’s true that most companies realize the necessity for a proper advertising campaign and are investing in that aspect of their businesses accordingly, some niches of the advertising market are still somewhat underutilized – so if you want to make sure that your advertising campaigns have the full effect that their price warrants, you’ll want to think outside the box and use all the tools that are available to you nowadays.

For example, promotional products are something that can have a very strong impact on your advertising efforts, yet not so many people seem to see those benefits and utilize them accordingly. While it’s true that people have grown tired of some kinds of promotional products, there are plenty of alternative options that you can use which can attract the attention of potential customers just as well! You just have to work with the right company that provides promotional products and you’ll see that there is still plenty of opportunity to make a good move in that area.

You should try tying in those promotional products to your business in some way. Like, if you’re running a company that’s in the power market in any way, a clever idea is to use a keychain with an LED screen, with a small battery powered by a tiny solar panel. This is relatively simple and inexpensive to produce (at least in large quantities), but it can have a very memorable effect on your potential customers, as it’s unusual to say the least. In addition, you can even include some extra bonuses along with that device to make people play around with it. It’s all a matter of getting them to interact with your promotional products in a more focused way – this means that they’re forced to look at your company’s name and logo, which in turn will greatly help them to memorize those things and recall them more efficiently later on.

Interactivity in general is a great thing when it comes to promotional product – but of course it can’t be applied in every field, as some kinds of those products don’t offer the opportunity to make them interactive. There are still plenty of possibilities to use your logo on something which can be remembered by your potential customers though! One clever idea is to issue something which can be shared with others, which in turn will turn every person that gets those products into a walking advertising machine. They’d enjoy giving out those products to their friends, and you’ll get all the work done for basically nothing! You may think that the impact of something like this wouldn’t be very noticeable on your business, but you’d be surprised how much of an effect this can actually make if you do it right. In the end, it’s the small details that matter in advertising – and promotional products definitely have a huge potential for that.

Master The First Step Of Successful Product Development

Ready to create and launch an information product that will have a indelibly positive affect on your business? …a product that brings you recurring passive revenue, pronounces you as an expert in your field, and produces a lower entry product to get prospects into your marketing channel?

If you are, then put on your seatbelt, because you’re in for the ride of your life! A ride that can be exciting, empowering, exhilarating, and life-changing!

The first step of any successful product creation, and often the step forgotten and minimized, is the step of creating a well thought out Product Definition Blueprint.

A Product Definition Blueprint describes in detail, what your product is, what it does, and who it’s for. It tells you what your product is, and what it is not.

A well written Product Definition Blueprint offers several key benefits:

First, it helps you stay focused, on track, and committed to a clear, tangible goal. Without clear boundaries about what your product is and what ultimate benefit it provides customers, you might get stuck in the trap many first-time product producers fall into… the trap of never completing… It only makes sense that if you don’t know what you’re completing up front, how do you know when you’ve finished it??

Second, it enables you to effectively describe your product to others. Chances are, when launching a new product, you will enroll the help or support of others during the process. Whether you decide to get input from experts, enlist a sales copywriter, or hire a web designer, having a clear, concise description of what your product is, what it does, and who it’s for will make enrolling the support of others seamless.

Third, it lays the foundation for excellent marketing messaging. If you begin product development with a well defined audience and a specific ultimate benefit, you’ve made marketing a cinch! So often inexperienced product developers build a product first and then find an audience later. This can lead to having a product that no one really wants to buy. However, by considering your audience from the get-go, you can deliver the message and value throughout the product development process. At the end, building your marketing materials is an easy, seamless process.

To build your own Product Definition Blueprint, answer the following twelve questions:

1. Name five reasons you would like to create an information product.

2. What subject(s) would you like to explore in your new information product? List 5 possible subjects.

3. What solutions or benefits could you provide to your audience in an information product format? List at least 10 possible solutions and benefits.

4. If you could only create one information product in the next 4 months, which one would be most exciting and rewarding for you to produce?

6. Who is your target audience? Who is your audio product for? Describe them in as much detail as possible. Describe their demographics, psychographics, interests, career, hobby, gender, marital status, etc.

7. What needs does your target audience have, that your product could in some way solve? Why do they need your product now?

8. What ultimate benefit or result will your information product deliver to your target audience?

9. What will your customer expect from this product?

10. In what format would you like to deliver your information product? Downloadable PDF files, downloadable mp3/wma files, software system, online accessible webpage, physical CD’s, workbooks, special tools, reports, eMail delivery of content, other?

11. What is the name of your product?

12. By when will your product be complete?

Now that you’ve answered the twelve questions and built your Product Definition Blueprint, take a moment and feel the excitement of knowing that you have taken the first big step in bringing to life your information product!! Let yourself taste all the success, fulfillment, and possibility that will come right along with it!

Copyright 2005 Coco Fossland