5 Minutes With Kieran Harte (REA Group)

Kieran Harte is a Senior Product Manager for Global Display Advertising at The REA Group; operator of Australia’s most popular real estate website, realestate.com.au, based in Melbourne. Emerging from the general dotcom crash of 2001 and with over 4.1 million* unique visitors per month, REA has now taken on the challenge of becoming a truly global online real estate advertising company, by operating 16 websites in 10 countries for residential real estate, commercial real estate, home improvement, and back-office solutions for agents including web design services and training on online trends.

Describe Product Management

Product Management is about keeping up with what is happening in our market as well as understanding consumer trends and behaviours. For us, it’s about being accountable at a functional level. Looking at the external market factors and making sure we are in the game. It is also about seeing a product initiative go from inception to launch. Importantly, Product Management is about getting ‘buy in’ from everyone in the organisation and making sure you are working well with all those involved such as designers, developers, marketers and sales representatives.

What are Product Managers responsible for at The REA Group?

The REA Group Product Management is set up into different functional areas which our Product Managers oversee; display advertising, overseeing local Real Estate Agents products, data and overseeing the consumer experience. Each Product Manager is responsible for understanding external market factors, building their concept paper and business case and then being accountable for the completion of product requirements, getting the product built and collaborating with sales and marketing for launch.

What issues do you face as a Product Manager?

Moving into a global market means that we can’t make assumptions about our overseas markets and things that work in Australia, don’t necessarily work oversees. So there are cultural factors to consider and understanding the consumer in each market. The other challenge is really about overseeing the end to end product management and making sure all the right people are involved and there is buy in and ownership across the product’s lifecycle.

* Source: Nielsen//NetRatings Market Intelligence, October 2007