This week’s guest is Rich Mironov, who has held marketing and product management positions at many silicon valley companies including Tandem (when we called cloud computing “timesharing”), Sybase, Air Magnet and iPass. He also recently has presented to various agile product management groups around the world. He recently wrote about 8 mistakes beginning product management teams make here on LinkedIn’s Pulse as well as in a 2008 book The Art of Product Management: Lessons from a Silicon Valley Innovator. He also actively blogs about these topics too.
We talked about the importance about researching markets and not making the mistake of generalizing from a single case study or customer. You want to spend time talking to dozens of customers before making any product decisions, otherwise you are making decisions on “air.” You don’t want to build something that no one wants and as he says, there are no health benefits from joining a gym. Marketers are going to do better if they have some idea of what their customers are doing with their products too.
Marketers should get a deeper understanding of the business problem their products are trying to solve. And since most users only use a few functions of every product, it is important to focus on the three or four things that really matter about the product. You have to become trilingual in technology, customer speak and finance, but no one is born speaking all three.
Marketers should know that product managers are pulled in a lot of different directions, and figuring out where the dividing lines between product managers and marketers is a good thing to do up front. Find the best stories from the product team and make them sing.