The Impact of Real Buyer Insights on Product Management and Marketing Decisions

If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.

– Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape

Who or what is driving your product decisions?

If you’ve spent your career in product marketing/management in tech companies, you can relate to the above quote from the perspective of both mid-level and senior product marketing executives.

Up and coming product manager/marketers are regularly champions of features, or product positioning that face an uphill battle against the priorities of the Engineering team and the demands of the sales team – stemming from existing customer asks and the most recent competitive sales loss. Add on top of that the biases of a boss, and you’ve got to overcome a lot to bring about a change in emphasis (never mind direction).

product management

Making these directional and investment decisions isn’t actually any easier sitting in the product management/marketing leadership role. They need to make significant go-to-market investments almost weekly, while running an organization, mediating compelling and conflicting arguments from highly opinionated and smart groups – all while trying to listen to the customer. Just a few of the decisions that need to be made:

  • Which feature enhancements need to make the cut in the next release because of customer demand or competitive factors?
  • Which initiatives/project drivers MUST be on your site’s home page and which can be de-emphasized?
  • Are there market niches that are growing or that your company ignores that you could address with a different positioning or marketing campaign?
  • In sales collateral/training, what are the key competitor weaknesses to make sure the reps understand?

Buyer insight provides more clarity for decision-making – if you find the right sources 

Product and positioning decisions are never easy, but almost any internal debate can be swayed by quantifiable insight on buyer preferences and purchasing behavior. However, most companies struggle to bring relevant and accurate data to bear at the right time. Part of the reason is most of the easily available data has a significant bias problem, such as:

  • Insights from deals that your company has won or lost doesn’t reflect the perspective of buyers that were never part of your sales pipeline. TechTarget data shows that unless you are a major player, this is typically much greater than 50% of the market.
  • When you talk with prospects or customers (or getting data that is filtered by sales reps), you know you are not getting the complete story as they try to protect or promote key details that support their position.
  • Custom research efforts take time to kick off and are point in time. These approaches are a poor match for a market that is constantly changing and you must make decisions year-round.
  • Most industry research is written from the perspective of an experienced industry analyst who interprets broader trends or future looking insights furnished by suppliers. This is a very valuable part of understanding the market, but different than buyer data.

How TechTarget helps   

To help product management/marketing leaders find the right representative buyer insight, TechTarget Research has developed Deal ScoreCard. Deal ScoreCard describes how buyers for 20 different Cloud, Data Center, Storage and EUC markets perceive their needs, requirements and vendor opinions at the essential moments of their purchasing cycles, every quarter. Just a few of the insights that it delivers include:

  • Features, project initiatives, workloads – For a specific market, which specific factors (by each category) are most important in a product-market, which are trending up and down quarter over quarter and which are the major vendors in the market perceived to be weak or strong on.
  • What’s important at shortlist v. important at product evaluation – Which issues are most important as buyers shape their plans for a project (budget, product space, important vendors) v. which issues do they see as important when they are deep into rep discussions and technology evaluation. The difference between these moments leads to very different go-to-market investments.
  • Where are market leaders weak – Most challenger technology company strategies are built around a growing weakness or blind spot of a market leader. Deal ScoreCard goes to great lengths to quantify those blind spots.

You can see some of the foundational analyses of a Deal ScoreCard here. If you are interested in learning more about how the in-depth data in Deal ScoreCard can help your organization, please visit TechTarget.com/Research.

[“Source-techtarget”]

Opinion: Finally, Modi is Taking Crucial Decisions for Economy

M.K.Venu

ed interest had, of late, begun asking this one leading question – when will Narendra Modi return to proper economic management and start taking critical decisions relating to the economy? The Prime Minister has partially answered them with finance minister Arun Jaitley appointing a new Secretary to head the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and finally picking a Chief Economic Advisor known for his strong reforms credentials. The NDA government had oddly been without a Chief Economic Advisor after the post fell vacant last year.

Rajiv Mehrishi, Chief Secretary in Rajasthan, will soon take over as Secretary, DEA and US-based economist Arvind Subramanian will take charge as Chief Economic Advisor. As a matter of protocol, the CEA works very closely with Secretary, Economic Affairs on all macro policy matters. So Arvind Subramanian will work with Rajiv Mehrishi on a day-to-day basis.

Mehrishi also has formidable reforms credentials going by the big policy initiatives he took in Rajasthan under Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. In fact, Mehrishi is credited for much of the economic reforms initiative undertaken by the chief minister, both in her current term as well as her previous stint in office. In many ways, she found Mehrishi indispensable as her policy advisor. So after taking charge as Chief Minister last year, Vasundhara promptly asked Mehrishi, who was then Secretary, Department of Fertilizer at the Centre, to join her government. He could not say no.

Within months of moving to Rajasthan, Mehrishi made waves with his Labour Law reforms. He also rewrote the newly-amended land acquisition law which many argue is procedurally difficult to implement. Since land is a state subject, the Vasundhara Raje government is rewriting the law without diluting benefits for farmers.

Since States also have concurrent jurisdiction over labour laws, Mehrishi made creative changes in various provisions without losing the essence of the legislation. For instance, the Industrial Disputes Act says a formal trade union can be formed with a minimum 15 per cent of the work force. This resulted in a messy situation of multiple trade unions getting formed with 15 per cent of the total workers. This minimum limit was raised to 30 per cent so that the Labour Union is of a reasonable size and scale. Of course it could still result in two unions getting formed, but it will not be as messy as before.

Mehrishi also tweaked the Factories Act which currently says any establishment with 100 workers or above will mandatorily require government permission before shutting down. Rajasthan has now raised the minimum number of workers’ limit to 300. So only factories with 300 workers and above need to take permission from the government before shutting down. These amendments are currently awaiting the President’s assent. The spirit of these amendments is now being followed by the Centre which announced changes in labour laws yesterday. Vasundhara Raje will not be very happy to lose Rajiv Mehrishi. But she can’t do much about it, as it is her own party which rules at the Centre.

Arvind Subramanian, the former Chief Economist of ADB, is also an interesting choice. Subramanian is a firm believer in the rapid rise of Asia, led by China, in the coming years. While most US-based economists tend to argue that the United States will sooner or later bounce back to its position of economic primacy, Arvind argues that the world may be at an inflection point where China’s economy and currency will start to dominate much faster than we all imagine. In his much talked about book, “Eclipse: Living in the shadow of China’s dominance”, it is argued that just as the United States’ economy and currency overtook that of England early 20th century, China might do the same to the US in the 21st century. In fact, Modi may have chosen him partially to understand how China and other emerging Asian economies can convert their economic dominance to a strategic advantage.

Arvind Subramanian also believes in pragmatic reforms. For instance, he has argued India is right to assert its position in WTO in relation to the agriculture sector but says it was a tactical mistake not to sign the Trade Facilitation Agreement. Subramanian believes there is enough scope to transfer cash to our farmers without falling foul of the WTO provisions.

Subramanian is also a strong proponent of shutting down public banks rather than recapitalising them, if they cannot stand on their own feet. He has said the good assets of bad banks must be transferred to other well-run private banks – this, he holds, is preferable to injecting loads of additional capital in government-owned banks which cannot sustain themselves. He is a strong critic of Indira Gandhi and her policy of bank nationalisation. The Sangh Parivar, however, may have different views in this regard. The RSS always admired Indira Gandhi for many things she stood for. Subramanian may have to wade through these complexities which oversimplified western analyses sometimes do not grasp adequately.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
[“source-ndtv”]

Finally, Modi is Taking Crucial Decisions for Economy

(M.K. Venu is Executive Editor of Amar Ujala publications group)

Domestic and global investors looking at India with renewed interest had, of late, begun asking this one leading question – when will Narendra Modi return to proper economic management and start taking critical decisions relating to the economy? The Prime Minister has partially answered them with finance minister Arun Jaitley  appointing a new Secretary to head the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and finally picking a Chief Economic Advisor known for his strong reforms credentials. The NDA government had oddly been without a Chief Economic Advisor after the post fell vacant last year.

Rajiv Mehrishi, Chief Secretary in Rajasthan, will soon take over as Secretary, DEA and US-based economist Arvind Subramanian will take charge as Chief Economic Advisor. As a matter of protocol, the CEA works very closely with Secretary, Economic Affairs on all macro policy matters. So Arvind Subramanian will work with Rajiv Mehrishi on a day-to-day basis.

Mehrishi also has formidable reforms credentials going by the big policy initiatives he took in Rajasthan under Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. In fact, Mehrishi is credited for much of the economic reforms initiative undertaken by the chief minister, both in her current term as well as her previous stint in office. In many ways, she found Mehrishi indispensable as her policy advisor. So after taking charge as Chief Minister last year, Vasundhara promptly asked Mehrishi, who was then Secretary, Department of Fertilizer at the Centre, to join her government. He could not say no.

Within months of moving to Rajasthan, Mehrishi made waves with his Labour Law reforms. He also rewrote the newly-amended land acquisition law which many argue is procedurally difficult to implement. Since land is a state subject, the Vasundhara Raje government is rewriting the law without diluting benefits for farmers.

Since States also have concurrent jurisdiction over labour laws, Mehrishi made creative changes in various provisions without losing the essence of the legislation. For instance, the Industrial Disputes Act says a formal trade union can be formed with a minimum 15% of the work force. This resulted in a messy situation of multiple trade unions getting formed with 15% of the total workers. This minimum limit was raised to 30% so that the Labour Union is of a reasonable size and scale. Of course it could still result in two unions getting formed, but it will not be as messy as before.

Mehrishi also tweaked the Factories Act which currently says any establishment with 100 workers or above will mandatorily require government permission before shutting down. Rajasthan has now raised the minimum number of workers’ limit to 300. So only factories with 300 workers and above need to take permission from the government before shutting down. These amendments are currently awaiting the President’s assent. The spirit of these amendments is now being followed by the Centre which announced changes in labour laws yesterday. Vasundhara Raje will not be very happy to lose Rajiv Mehrishi. But she can’t do much about it, as it is her own party which rules at the Centre.

Arvind Subramanian, the former Chief Economist of ADB, is also an interesting choice. Subramanian is a firm believer in the rapid rise of Asia, led by China, in the coming years. While most US-based economists tend to argue that the United States will sooner or later bounce back to its position of economic primacy, Arvind argues that the world may be at an inflection point where China’s economy and currency will start to dominate much faster than we all imagine. In his much talked about book, “Eclipse: Living in the shadow of China’s dominance”, it is argued that just as the United States’ economy and currency overtook that of England early 20th century, China might do the same to the US in the 21st century. In fact, Modi may have chosen him partially to understand how China and other emerging Asian economies can convert their economic dominance to a strategic advantage.

Arvind Subramanian also believes in pragmatic reforms. For instance, he has argued India is right to assert its position in WTO in relation to the agriculture sector but says it was a tactical mistake not to sign the Trade Facilitation Agreement. Subramanian believes there is enough scope to transfer cash to our farmers without falling foul of the WTO provisions.

Subramanian is also a strong proponent of shutting down public banks rather than recapitalising them, if they cannot stand on their own feet. He has said the good assets of bad banks must be transferred to other well-run private banks – this, he holds, is preferable to injecting loads of  additional capital in government-owned banks which cannot sustain themselves. He is a strong critic of Indira Gandhi and her policy of bank nationalisation. The Sangh Parivar, however, may have different views in this regard. The RSS always admired Indira Gandhi for many things she stood for. Subramanian may have to wade through these complexities which oversimplified western analyses sometimes do not grasp adequately.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

[“source-ndtv”]