Expert's Panel

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    Resources and time are always in short supply. Where do you get the most bang for the buck in the product marketing world?

  1. I think it is in product definition. If you define your product correctly and it is saleable, it will give you the best return. Everything else will tend to work out if you do a good job here. If you don't get the product defined correctly in the first place, you're dead. Product definition is the relatively inexpensive part. With equipment you will typically spend 20, 30-million developing the product, but you don't spend very much defining the front end for engineering.
  2. Have you ever done the exercise where someone asks you to write down virtually everything you do for two weeks in a row? When you add it up you find that out of your nine-hour days you spend so many hours eating food, so many hours talking to customers, etc. It's scary. Of the many times I have seen this applied in organizations, invariably the biggest chunk of wasted resources go to useless meetings—sitting in a room with other people talking about things where there is no productive outcome. So, I would recommend you do such an exercise and at the end of the data gathering period sit down and look at the results and that's where you will re-prioritize. For example, you may find you only spent 3% of your time talking to the customer and it produced the greatest results compared to all of the other time commitments.
  3. So far we've answered the question "from a broad perspective what is the most important thing for product marketing to do." The first answer was product definition and I haven't heard any disagreement with that. The second aspect is knowing how you use your time. There is only one thing I would add which is that you really need to understand your "Pareto List." What is most important for you in your job? What are the broad objectives and strategies of your company or division? What are they for your immediate organization and your job? If you haven't got that clear in your head, you will have great difficulty in selecting the right items to work on because you need to know the outcomes you are seeking.