There are few more depressing things to have going on in an organisation than the announcement of staff redundancies. Whether it is due to cost reductions or a company reorganisation, the news casts a cloud over everyone before, during and after the process as teams are broken up and friends and colleagues are shown the door.
It may feel like a good time to keep your head down and just go with the flow, get your job done and try to avoid the chop yourself. There are roles in every organisation where this may make perfect sense, but Product Management is not one of them.
Tactical time wasters
Also during these times there will be pressure to engage in tactical activities to try and ‘make the forecast numbers’ for your product. This can result in a temptation to offer special offers and discounts to get customers to buy your product.
While these tactics may achieve the desired short term goals they will hurt your product in at least three ways:
- Every time you temporarily discount the price on your product you are training the market to expect the new price. This will push your sales into a cycle where customers are always waiting for the discounted price and will slow sales when the price returns to it’ s base level.
- Communicating special pricing offers and discounts distracts the attention from the real value of the product that you are selling. If your customers do not know the value of the product and how it will help them achieve their goals faster or more simply than the competition then the promotion of a temporarily lower price will not make you product any more compelling.
- It burns Product Manager time and effort that could be better spent researching the unmet needs of customers that can be turned into market leading products in 2009. Instead, this is the time to focus effort on innovation.
Product Management requires leadership and a focus on the future. By taking a lead and looking for gaps in the market place there will be great new opportunities to build customer loyalty and value for your product.
Time to start the innovation process
This is a critical time for you as a Product Manager to decide if you want to be the LEADER of the innovation process.
If you do, it will mean fighting off a lot of the tactical demands and getting a team of like minded people together. With your leadership, these like minded people will share your belief that your product can be better and can help you deliver innovations that customers will love.
There are a number of great Product Management discussions going on about how to innovate during “hard times”, which make great reading and I hope will help you consider doing something amazing with your products for 2009.