What is Product Management?

Product management is the process of developing and launching and looking after all the marketing and customer necessities of the product.

Product management involves creating a vision for the product and building a strategic plan to market the product. It is a shared responsibility with other teams in the business. It is also about taking care of the post-sales process, which includes sales performance, customer service, and inventory stock, among others.

In an e-commerce website, product management goes beyond “what you are selling.” It deals with the entire site as a “product.” Read about product management in e-commerce here and its importance here.

You can say product management is the core part of a business, especially e-commerce. This article explores various principles of product management.

Principles of Product Management

Principles of product management

Let us look at the principles of product management one by one.

Competition analysis

To start planning a business strategy, you might need something to measure your methods against. Especially when you have a cutthroat competition. Who better to start than your competitors? 

A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.”– Ovid

Study your competitors. Analyze what and how they do their business. You must try to get answers to the following questions (and more, but most importantly, these):

  • Who are their targeted customers?
  • What are their niche products?
  • What are their selling strategies?
  • What challenges do they face, and how do they overcome them?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are their post-sales commitments?

Answers to these questions will give you an insight into how to do business and manage your products. 

Learning from others’ mistakes is wise. However, you should not rely on your competition too much. Your business strategy should be unique, and competition analysis is just the way to ensure that. 

Customer-centric approach 

A business aims to generate revenue. How does it do that? By selling its products. And who buys the products? Customers. Customers are the most crucial part of any business. 

We don’t want to push our ideas on to customers, we simply want to make what they want.” – Laura Ashley

Once you identify the products you want to sell, the next step is to make sure you design or manage them per how your customers would like. Since they are the ones who will buy your products. 

You must seek answers to these questions:

  • What type of customers looks for these products?
  • What kind of product do they want?
  • Why do they want it?
  • What are their expectations of the product?
  • How do they search for it?
  • Where do they mostly buy/look for it?

Customers should be your topmost priority. You must communicate with them and get their feedback about your products and ideas. Accept any constructive criticism with open arms because it will help you in the long run.

Clear and long-term product vision

Now that you know what you want to sell and to whom, it is time to create a compelling product vision that will drive your business forward.

A product vision is a long-term goal you set for your product-to-be. It is like a statement or document that should explain what you want to achieve with this product. 

Here is how CleverTap plans its product vision:

Creating a product vision is like creating a signature dish. Along with the approach, what is also important is that you have the right ingredients for creating the vision

The ingredients that I have to come to believe makes for a solid foundational vision are –

a. Ask yourself, “why you?”

b. Keep your customer persona at the front and centre.

c. Be precise. Do not say “We do this and that.” Don’t try to be everything for everyone.

d. Think big, think long.

e. Be inspirational. Like Steve Jobs said, “Your vision should be such that it pulls both your employees and customers.”

f. Don’t be rigid. Be prepared to adjust, iterate and course-correct.

Jay Magdani, Product Manager at Clevertap

The vision must clearly state: 

  • what the motivation behind the product is;
  • how it differs from others in the market;
  • what can customers expect from it and how it is going to help them;
  • the budget required;
  • the possible time frame, etc.

While designing the product vision, make sure to keep it customer-focused, but at the same time, it should align with the business goal. It should inspire the development and marketing team, and it should be the baseline to plan the product strategy. Remember – keep it short, clear, and engaging.

Communication is key

Communication is your ticket to success, if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively.” – Theo Gold

Communication is like a gold mine of any production process. You can achieve so much with effective communication. 

Communication with the team and customers is vital in product management. You must be able to communicate complex matters with the various department effectively. To develop or manage a product, every department has to be in sync. This can only be possible with clear and frequent communication. 

Communication with potential customers plays a significant role, as well. Getting to know their expectations, requirements, feedback, experience, etc. will help in managing and developing the product strategy well. 

Deliver quality products 

 “Quality is the best business plan.” – John Lasseter

Customers want what is best in the market. Many factors determine “best.” One of them is quality.

You can design or sell your products at a lesser price than the competition, but if you compromise with its quality, it might have a negative impact. You must try to strike a balance between cost and quality. People appreciate good quality; they would even pay for it no matter the price. 

In this competitive world, it is not difficult to find the best thing. If you cannot deliver quality products, then the customers will move on to your competitors.

Quality is everyone’s responsibility.” – W. Edwards Deming

Coming up with a quality product is teamwork. As already discussed, effective communication is the key to good teamwork. Every member has to work towards developing or bringing quality products. 

Wrapping Up

These are the essential principles of product management that any business must follow. It is not easy. It takes time, effort, and a lot of teamwork to get it right.

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to read your thoughts.

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