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Monthly Archives: March 2009

I am working on a new product, performing a round of competitive research to assess the market and obtain some insight into how other players are conducting pricing. It’s definitely early stages of the product; the feedback in the daily scrums is about wrapping this second iteration and prioritizing for the third. So we’re not finished conducting some key product definition decision making. And yet, we’re getting questions about finalizing the product naming. It is too early in the process; naming should be one of the last steps in the process, not the first.

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Godin writes about transparency and engagement in business as ways to become more intimate with the customer base. Having spent the past week compiling results from a customer survey, my head has been in a similar place.

How do we protect the company’s IP while competing with companies who give their product away for free?

How can we ensure our technological innovations are forward-looking and strategic and not just from the hip reactions? Are we an innovator or a fast follower? These are questions worth answering before becoming entrenched in dev.

What’s the best way to communicate to customers about coming changes and promised product enhancement?

Friday I converted dry customer survey data into a user persona for our sales team to use in their renewal discussions.

-Sales does not need extensive graphs and data to pore over; they need psychographic information they can use immediately. Give them a user persona, one they can create an emotional persuasive connection with.

-As marketers, we’d rather see the data. Give me reams of data, graphed and sorted for use in future campaigns and value prop focus groups. Howver, sales needs something they can use yesterday. They don’t need the deep think; they need the immediate persuasion.

-In a persona, present roles and responsibilities, but also the deep pain points. ‘Up at night’ should be considered: what’s the unconscious need keeping my customer up at night?

-If you can give sales a tool that will aid them in their very next conversation, then you’re doing your job. Don’t think next quarter; think 5 minutes from now.

Why is the Snuggie experiencing such breakthrough success? Facebook users comment on the photos of their friends, saying “where did you get that? I want one. They have them at Walgreens, etc etc”

It is a comfortable product that begs for documentation. It is not enough to own one; the ownership must be shared through shared photos, word of mouth, letting curious others try it on. It’s a bit like the product version of karaoke: once you’ve finally tried it, you have to talk about your experience with it. And this is one reason the Snuggie is such a fine product for 2009: it is an experiencial item, tailor made for inclusion into social media photo sharing.

It is outlandish, yet tame in its overall appearance. Wearers feel like they’re acting silly by wearing it, and yet it covers the entire body. So it’s safe for photo sharing.

It makes people laugh. It incites conversation with strangers, like the people I heard waiting in a checkout line, talking about the Snuggie one man was buying, how other stores were sold out, how the commercials are the new ‘i’ve fallen and I can’t get up’, what youtube versions of the commercial they’ve seen.

Snuggie’s success can be largely attibuted to word of mouth – that and that they’re mighty comfy…

Zack Gonzales

While in line at the Newflower Farmer’s Market (great prices!), I saw some hand wipes, individually packaged, for sale at .79 cents each. For hand wipes.

These wipes, made by Giovanni Cosmetics, are memorable not because of the ingredients – yet at almost a dollar a wipe, surely they are some quality wipes – they stood out because of branding. Each unit bore the tagline: “germ killing mini machines”.  How cool is that?  Those aren’t staid old dime a dozen wipes.  They are germ killing mini machines.

Not only is that fun to say and therefore sticky, the phrase is written in quotation marks, inviting someone to say it out loud.  I can just hear the kids: “Mom, do you have any germ killing mini machines in your purse?”

Zack Gonzales

In marketing and PR, when a new product or service is released you oftern hear about it in comparative terms, such as ‘the iPod of hospital documentation solutions’, ‘the iPod of tax software’, etc.

A year or two ago it was Starbucks: the Starbucks of bike stores, the Starbucks of doggie day cares.

This year, rather than look to Apple as we so often do, I’d like to recommend studying the release of the odd product the Snuggie. Originally brought to market via infomercials, the Snuggie has exploded into this year’s Crocs and/or pet rock.

What can technology product marketing managers learn from this consumer product?

+KN | Kitsune Noir » The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Cody Hoyt.

A wild new wallpaper from Kitsune Noir.  Quote:

For his wallpaper he created a totally beautiful wallpaper filled with a ton of wonderful shapes and filled with bright colors. He obviously knew how to make me happy. Be sure to check out the largest version of this to see all of the amazing details he put into this, it’s not to be missed.

Testing my new toy, mobile phone G1 posting from my T-Mobile Android phone. Best toy ever.

Santini Hand Cut Chips.

The overlapping typography is gorgeous and sets the stage for the sweet chili negative space on the other end.  I’d never open the bag!  Although hand cut chips are a yum.

Years ago, a mentor told me that being a product manager is about balance. And she was right. All stakeholders are right… all the time. Disagreements in feature value assignment is largely due to perspective. Like skiing on ice, its all about negotiating the bumps and achieving perfect balance.