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”]

4 Ways Mobile Devices Impact Your Business and Marketing

4 Ways Mobile Devices Impact Your Business and Marketing

1.  Mobile devices have a smaller screen. This is painfully obvious, but have you designed for it? Mobile screens are changing e-mail messaging structures. I read an Infusionsoft report that highlighted this and implored customers to pay attention to the mobile screen. Dozens of others have followed suit. What will your customers see on a smaller screen? Is the subject line more important than ever because it is all they might see?

It is frequently stated that e-mail is dead due to mobile and social networks. E-mail is far from dead.  Although stats show that many people are migrating to social networks to communicate, consider the fact that Facebook recently decided to create an e-mail platform. Why? Because people need and want more than short updates and chat to communicate.  If you’re wondering what your e-mail might look like on a mobile device, Web-based service provider Email on Acid lets you test your e-mail as it will appear on many browsers and mobile devices.

The smaller mobile screen will also impact how a customer sees your website. Many mobile devices don’t allow or use Flash technology, so you have to think about that. It may be worth considering a mobile marketing platform instead. One of the top mobile site builders is mobiSiteGalore. Yes, it would be a pain to maintain two sites, but it could also be more cost effective.

2.  Location, location, location used to be the real estate world’s maxim, but should now be the marketing and small business owner’s maxim.  Location-based offers and services will change how customers engage in almost every way. Customers have the ability to be hyper-connected with their social networks.  You have only to look at Foursquare and Gowalla to get a glimpse of the power of location.

3.  Use of mobile apps is growing. Whether you know it or not, customers are scanning and comparison shopping, on the spot, in your retail store.  Search and search engine optimization are rapidly changing. On the Droid X I’m testing and will be reviewing here shortly, one of the top apps was a barcode scanner used via the smartphone camera.  Think of how you can tie mobile coupons to your offers.

I worked on a project in Japan years ago; in that country, I could use my cell phone to pay for an in-store purchase.  Japan leads U.S. mobile technology by five to 10 years and possibly Europe and other parts of Asia by one or two years.  Along with your Google Places (or Facebook Places) page, you can add a QR code (like a barcode) to your site, to your retail store window and your e-mails. The viewer or recipient can scan that code with a smartphone and receive a special offer or welcome message.  There are a few easy QR creation sites out there if you want to create a code for your site, e-mail or storefront.

4.  Text messaging still matters. Even with the growth of iPhones and Droid-powered smartphones, these are still only a slice of the mobile market. Millions of people are still engaging via text messaging and SMS platforms. Your customer will opt-in to text message (SMS) offers. You don’t have to wait for smartphone usage to completely dominate. Text is a favorite way consumers communicate, but is not used often enough as a way to market. Again, this isn’t spam, but permission-based marketing.

One of the best posts I’ve read about mobile marketing trends came from one of our contributors, Paul Rosenfeld of Fanminder. Granted, Paul is in the mobile marketing (SMS) space and has some bias, but he paints a fair picture from all I’ve seen and studied about mobile.  One important note from that post: “Gen Yers (18-29) say their phone is the most important device they own.” I would argue that other generations are saying the same thing.

If you want to get just a taste of the many mobile applications for small business, read my 19 Mobile Apps post.  What mobile apps are you using, developing, or researching?  Please share them here in the comments.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Pokemon Go Financial Impact Will Be Limited, Says Nintendo; Stock Crashes

Pokemon Go Financial Impact Will Be Limited, Says Nintendo; Stock Crashes

Nintendo Co. shares plunged by the most since 1990 after the company said late Friday that the financial impact from the worldwide hit Pokemon Go will be limited.

The stock sank 18 percent to JPY 23,220 at the close in Tokyo Monday, the maximum one-day move allowed by the exchange, wiping out JPY 708 billion ($6.7 billion or roughly Rs. 45,096 crores) in market value. After debuting in the US earlier this month, Pokemon Go launched in Japan on Friday and became available in Hong Kong on Monday.

The correction comes after Pokemon Go’s release almost doubled Nintendo’s stock through Friday’s close, adding $17.6 billion (roughly Rs. 1,18,468 crores) in market capitalization. Nintendo is a shareholder in the game’s developer Niantic Inc. and Pokemon Co., but has an “effective economic stake” of just 13 percent in the app, according to an estimate by Macquarie Securities analyst David Gibson.

(Also see:  Pokemon Go No Longer Working in Parts of India, Reddit Users Complain)

“It’s still possible to say that in the short-term it’s overheated,” said Tomoaki Kawasaki, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co.

In a press release after the market closed on Friday in Japan, the Kyoto-based company said the game’s financial impact will be “limited” and that it is not necessary to revise its annual forecast even after factoring in current conditions. It also said revenue from Pokemon Go Plus, a Nintendo-produced accessory for the game expected to go on sale soon, has already been factored into the current guidance.

(Also see:  This Pokemon Go Map Will Show You Every Pokemon Location)

“The content of the announcement itself is not that shocking, but it is a surprise they said it on Friday instead of when they report earnings” later this week, said Nobuyuki Fujimoto, a senior market analyst at SBI Securities Co. “The game has been published in Japan, so for the time being we’ve exhausted all the catalysts.”

(Also see: Pokemon Go iOS: How to Download Pokemon Go for iPhone, iPad)

The company will report first-quarter earnings on Wednesday after the market close, a period which ended before the release of Pokemon Go. The firm is forecasting an annual net profit of JPY 35 billion in the current fiscal year, up from the JPY 16.5 billion it earned last year.

Short interest in Nintendo surged earlier this month as bears bet the stock rally had gone too far. As of July 20, short-sellers had built up a bet worth $940 million (roughly Rs. 6,326 crores) – or 2.6 percent of outstanding shares – that the stock would fall, according to researcher IHS Markit. At current prices, such a bet would have generated about $140 million (roughly Rs. 942 crores) in profits.

(Also see: How to Download Pokemon Go APK, Install, and Play on Android)

Shares of related companies also fell. McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan), the game’s exclusive launch partner, declined 12 percent. Electronic parts maker Hosiden Corp., which Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group said may produce Pokemon Go Plus, sank 16 percent.

(Also see: How to Play Pokemon Go in India? Here’s Everything You Need to Know)

Besides the earnings announcement on Wednesday, Morgan Stanley said the next focus point is if Pokemon Go launches in China, where access to geographical data necessary for the game is restricted by the government. Investors are also waiting for announcements on Nintendo’s other upcoming mobile games and its next-generation console expected to be released next year, analysts Mia Nagasaka and Yuki Maeda wrote in a July 22 report.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Android, Apple, Apps, Gaming, Internet, Nintendo, Pokemon, Pokemon Go]
[“Source-Gadgets”]