Monday, February 21, 2011

More Product Management Resources

So I've done a couple of blog posts (here and here) on resources that I like to use to help research the market. Here are some additional resources that I use and would recommend in conjunction with my previous blog post.

  • Google Scholar
    • Every once in while I am researching a topic that may lend itself to some academic research. The best part of this type of research is that the authors are unbiased. However, it may not work very well for more recent business topics. I just like to keep this as a source in my back pocket.
  • Wikipedia
    • Obviously, I don't always believe what is on wikipedia, but it can be a source for additional research. I like to read the links in the "Further Reading" and "References". It's contextual helpful content.
  • Quora
    • I just started using Quora. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but it does seem to have content on there that can be helpful. Especially for very nascent or non-mature markets
  • Google Images
    • Often times I'm looking for articles or data to better understand a market forecast or market players. The images search typically helps point me to the right articles that have the richer market insights via some pretty images.
Are there any other tools that you use? Care to share?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Understanding your Customers Purchase Criteria

A lot of times product managers are so focused the details of the features that are being built and how customers will interact with them that they forget about how customers become aware of and purchase your product. What goes through the mind of a shopper when they are making that decision to purchase.

This reminds of me of what many of the top consumer goods companies do to understand their consumers. They set up a grocery store (fully stocked and functional) on site and watch consumers make their purchase decisions. This is probably why all the kids cereals are on the bottom shelf and all the ones with fiber and oats are at the top :) After they make a purchase decision they interview them and really dig into the psyche of the customer.

How many of us have had a competitor launch a whiz bang feature that you have never even consider? For example, in the early days of LCD TVs no one ever heard of 60Hz or 120Hz, etc. Now it's like an arms race with this stuff (just read the latest Crutchfield). A company made it a purchase criteria through its heavy marketing and then everyone had to follow suit. I'm willing to bet 99% of consumers could not tell the difference between 120Hz and 240Hz. The problem with this feature is that it is easy to duplicate, so any competitive advantage is fleeting.

So as many folks approach you about a feature, always keep in mind your customer and how they decide to make their purchase and don't think that it doesn't change. These criteria change!