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”]

LG Announces New Product Line

LG
January 31, 2017
Nicole Krawcke
KEYWORDS AHR expo / air conditioners / building automation system / mini split

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LAS VEGAS – LG Electronics hosted a press conference during the 2017 AHR Expo to reveal its expanded 2017 lineup of commercial and residential HVAC solutions with a new customizable control system, next-generation variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology, new heating capabilities, and design tools.

Kevin McNamara, senior vice president, Air Conditioning Technologies, LG Electronics USA highlighted several new products being featured at the AHR Expo, including the LG Multi V™ 5, LG Multi V S, LG RED° Heat Powerful Heating Technology optimized for cold climate performance, the Smart ThinQ® application, and the Lg MultiSITE Controls suite.

The expanded control solutions include the LG MultiSITE Remote Controller, LG MultiSITE Communications Manager and LG MultiSITE VM3 Building Management Solution empower operators to take control of their buildings in ways that were not previously possible.

“VRF has been abused in the U.S.,” McNamara said. “The reason it’s been abused is you these outside boxes and you know what’s inside in terms of compressors and so forth, but the important thing about VRF systems are algorithms and software. It’s all about software. This is a high technology piece of equipment. Not being able to integrate with that software and those algorithms has resulted in not fully benefiting from all the things VRF brings as far as efficiency and performance go. By trying to integrate with other manufacture control systems, we’re losing information and the technology has gotten a bad name because they say it doesn’t work. Now with our new platform, all of our stuff is plug and play.”

[“Source-Gadgets”]

What it takes to organise a high profile product launch

(c)iStock/Maxian

Earlier this year, Imagination was tasked with coordinating the launch of the new Land Rover Discovery.

We knew that with this quintessentially British product we had to pull out all the stops – and we did, along with the help of our team, Bear Grylls and 5,805,846 bricks of Lego.

To give you some background on the product we were launching, over six decades, Land Rover has developed into a British icon. This much-loved vehicle has come a long way since its inception as a post-war agricultural workhorse. Its latest iteration, the Discovery 5, markets Land Rover as a highly desirable and versatile premium SUV.

Family friendly: LEGO’s role

While keeping its rugged specs, the Discovery is also aimed at families. As such, we needed a dramatic concept that would demonstrate its high-grade engineering along with a family-friendly aura.

So, we chose LEGO – the ultimate engineering tool for children, after all – as our centrepiece. Tying this in with the ‘national instution’ theme, we went for a recreation of Tower Bridge and a crack team of LEGO master builders built the scale replica for us.

Once completed, this was the largest LEGO structure ever created, giving us a great media opportunity with the Guinness Book of Records.

Risk and drama: Bear Grylls and Zara Phillips

In the launch event, we also needed to include an element of risk and heightened dramatic tension; highlighting the adventurous spirit of the brand.

As such, we got Bear Grylls on board, along with Zara Phillips to both perform some spectacular stunts.

Three days of rehearsal at the deer park in Packington Estate were needed for this half-hour presentation, in conditions of complete secrecy and unpredictable weather.

The key to an effective reveal for a brand like this is creating and managing a sense of anticipation

Bear Grylls’ stunt partner, Dangerous Dave, had to rehearse a helicopter drop in a strong wind, and Zara Phillips prepared to execute a daring horse jump.

An event like this involves a host of engineers, lighting technicians, logistics experts, sound designers, graphic artists, 360 animators, medical staff and caterers. It’s my job to make sure everybody’s happy and on the same page. I have to be unflappable; I make sure we have a contingency plan for everything.

But I don’t mind admitting that on the night, as Zara launched her horse over two Land Rovers and a horse box, the audience weren’t the only ones feeling the excitement course through their veins.

Reveal finale: Sir Ben Ainslie

For the reveal finale, we had Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie on board to drive his team under a bridge through 900m deep water, towing a LEGO scale replica of the Land Rover BAR speedboat.

Stepping out, the seven-strong team demonstrated the vehicle’s versatility, and helped us nail the message of ‘Bringing it Home’ with their warm endorsement.

Such associations encourage Discovery consumers to feel they are not only ‘Buying British’ but, like the BAR team, representing their country in terms of global competition. And, in forging strong partnerships such as this, not only is inestimable value is created for a brand, but exposure in terms of earned media is vastly increased.

The key to an effective reveal for a brand like this is creating and managing a sense of anticipation. You want to create a buzz that will have maximum impact and, in this respect, timing is crucial.

One of the hardest parts of our job has been keeping a lid on social media, preventing leaks that could dilute the impact of the reveal. Inside information about a hotly anticipated car like this is catnip to a legion of trade journalists, car-fans and bloggers; in this respect, and many others, it is hard to underestimate the value of a strong sense of team spirit.

A crucial part of my job was fostering loyalty in a large crew and building the client’s trust, so that they could be confident that when the live-stream went close up on our bridge and the #DISCOVERY sign lit up, the world would take notice.

The launch was covered in a number of publications, including Auto Express, which has a host of pictures and videos from the evening.

[“source-ndtv”]

Got a Startup Tech Hardware Product to Sell? Try Grand St.

grand st.10

Grand St. aims to give independent hardware manufacturers a place to sell their products and to test prototypes.

If you’re looking to get any consumer electronic to the marketplace, there’s an arduous process involved. One of the biggest obstacles is getting funding for a venture that could miss the mark. Another is finding customers interested in your product.

Grand St. provides potential solutions for both problems.

Right now, the site is the place to get The Loop, a leather organizer that can charge your iPhone. There’s also a hackable alarm clock kit and an iOS enabled guitar for sale there, now.

Fortune says that the addition of independent manufacturers selling their gadgets on the site has turned it into the Etsy of the electronics world.

grand st.

On the official Grand St. blog, co-founder Amanda Peyton explains:

“Our goal has always been to create a better way for hardware creators to find an audience and get their products to market. For this new version of Grand St. we wanted to create a flexible solution that addressed indie hardware makers at different stages in the development cycle.”

The company says it now has about 200,000 users. And indie gadget makers have three ways to sell their new products through the site:

Consumer Ready

When you’re ready to sell the gadget you’ve created, you can list it through the Grand St. Shop. Grand St. says it previews and must approve any new listing. If a product doesn’t make the cut, Grand St. notifies the maker of its reasons for rejection.

If a product is approved and listed, the site takes an 8 percent commission on all sales. It takes the same commission on Beta sales. These are products that haven’t received any customer feedback and aren’t quite ready for a mass audience.

Beta

A Beta product maker can pick testers for the products and await their feedback. Based on the feedback, Grand St. says the maker of the product can then decide to seek more funding for changes or get the product ready for the marketplace or pre-order sales.

Pre-Order

If a product is within six months of being ready for the marketplace, it can be sold through a pre-order feature on Grand St. The site doesn’t take a commission on those sales and there are no monthly fees linked to selling on Grand St.

Sellers need to handle all their customer service and shipping commitments, the company notes in its seller guidelines.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]