Harsh But Good Advice for Budding Product Managers and Product Marketers
I have been in the game of product management and product marketing for a while now – 13 years. Over that time I have learnt a thing or two and have made just as many mistakes. One thing I do know is that these roles are awesome. This is what I love to do.
What is not to like about these kinds of roles? You work with essentially all other business units, you drive strategy for the business through your portfolio, you get to work with lots of customers, it is a highly visible role and it usually pays pretty well.
Naturally though, there are expectations on you to perform. That is fair enough of course. With great power comes great responsibility (insert lame quote – check). But a not-so-great part of the role is that you are expected to take onboard everyones ideas about the product: how it should look; what it should do; who we should market to; how big the screen capture should be on the brochure, blah, blah blah….
Everyone has an idea on what a product should do or how to pitch it. Ideas are like arseholes – everyone’s got one. I am here to tell you that if you want to be a great product manager or product marketer you need to start reciting this phrase…
Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.
Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant is a phrase I learnt, September 2001. I recall the time well. I travelled to the U.S. from Australia to attended a Pragmatic Marketing training course. Product management/product marketing training options in Australia were non-existant then. Jim Foxworthy was my instructor that shared these sage words. I find them as relevant today as I did back then. It is good to see Jim still at Pragmatic Marketing. Although he is not an instructor anymore, he is the President.
When it comes to prioritising what goes into a product, or which market to address and what is perceived as genuinely valuable you have to block out the noise coming from inside the company. If they ain’t gonna pay then they ain’t got a say. Get your direction from the actual people who will part with their cold, hard, cash – the customer.
Oh, and this goes for your own opinion as well Mr Onlyi Knowitall Product Manager or Ms. Ive Gotaplan Product Marketer. Temper your zeal for creative flair with cold, hard facts from real buyers in the market before slapping that business case on the bosses table or sneaking in that backlog candidate.
But hey, I am not saying ignore great ideas coming from your work colleagues, or what you conjured up in the shower last night. This is really great stuff. But, these are IDEAS ONLY until you have tested them in the market and you can succinctly describe the meaningful value your customers will enjoy – in the customers language.
So, 13 years on and there still isn’t a face to face training course on great product marketing in Australia. To fix this, my friends at Brainmates and I decided to make one. There is a bunch of great processes, steps and tips that have served me well to draw on….. along with some great theories I took away from an MBA at AGSM.
A course is scheduled to run soon for product marketers and go to market professionals. To learn more about what is included and to register you can find out more by clicking here.
This blog was originally published on medium here.