How can a Product Manager capture real insights that leads to better market positioning and compelling value propositions
One of the more challenging areas that clients highlight to me is their ability to capture the interest of their target markets through sales and market positioning. They are often trying to target so many different audiences in a single campaign that their core message is potentially diluted.
In order to help with this, it can make sense to start by assessing and prioritising market opportunities and then defining positioning for each prioritised opportunity. I find that approaching this in an iterative way makes sense –
- Insight: In order to understand where market opportunity might come from and to position clear value to these markets it is important to ensure you leverage relevant market and industry insights. Taking time to understand what you are seeing and hearing at a market and industry level is important for you to then create relevant messaging at an industry level.
- Focus: As we discussed in The Paradox of Choice there may be a wide range of market opportunities open to your business. Rather than try to address all opportunities at once it is important to segment and focus so that you are not “scattergun” in your approach to sales and marketing. Trying to be all things to everyone at once will mean your messaging is confusing.
- Position: Once you have prioritised the market opportunities with the highest potential to drive your business goals, you need to consider how you can position value to these segments so that they engage with you. In order to understand the value you can deliver you need to get under the hood of each prioritised market segment and really understand their needs – capture this as a hypothesis.
- Validate: Your hypothesis of value (for each market segment) is just that – a hypothesis! You need to engage with the market through VoTC interviews to ensure you have understood them correctly.
- Communicate: Having validated that your hypothesis of value for each market segment is as realistic as it can be you need to consider how you communicate with these markets through sales and marketing campaigns.
- Feedback: Finally you need to consider how you capture market feedback – what metrics of success can you define, how will you know if your campaigns are resonating?
If your target customers cannot understand how you can help them then they will struggle to understand why they should invest in your product or solution.
So what exactly does Market Positioning mean if you are a Product Manager?
It is a detailed representation of:
- The prioritised market segments that make sense for your business
- The main buyer personas for this target segment
- The key problems & needs of the prioritised market segments for which you have a proposed solution
- An assessment of the competitive landscape
- An articulation of how you really solve problems for your market
- The unique selling points for your solution
- The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your solution
How will Clarifying Market Positioning help you as a Product Manager?
- Supports the creation of external market messaging that resonates with your targets clients
- Supports sales engagements and targeting of new customers
- Helps engineering to better understand the customer’s needs & wants so that they can create products that customers love
This representation of the value that your organization can deliver for a targeted market segment is hugely insightful across your organisation – particularly for sales, engineering and marketing. It also informs your product vision and strategy.
Market Positioning – How can IntegratedThinking Help?
I have over 30 years’ experience working with scaling and established organisations across multiple sectors and disciplines.
I currently work with organisations like Enterprise Ireland, Technology Ireland, UCD Mentoring for Scale and Trinity College to support their clients to take a more “commercial” and “strategic” approach to how they drive client focused solutions to market and grow market share:
- I have been a Senior Business Mentor with Trinity College’s International Growth Programme and design and develop programmes for Executive Education in Trinity Business School – specifically in the areas of Leadership Development and Innovation
- I am a Strategic Marketing Coach/Mentor with Enterprise Ireland’s Strategic Marketing Review Initiative (SMR)
- I have been an Executive Coach and Mentor with Ibec’s Product Management forum
- I am a Business Mentor with the UCD’s Mentoring for Scale Initiative
- I was VP of Product Management in a large multinational technology company
- I bring tools and skills that you may not have internally from my many years of working as a mentor
- I can moderate discussions at a leadership level and coach/mentor the team – often asking questions the business is afraid to ask itself
- I will provide a structured approach to capturing insights for your business that will help you to focus and articulate a stronger value proposition
- I will help you to get things done and to focus when you are strapped for time or resources
- I can provide supportive executive and team coaching skills – often so important when crucial conversations need to happen at a leadership level
Market Positioning – The Approach
I see myself as an insight detective – using tried and tested coaching skills and tools that help businesses to explore and focus on key market opportunities that will drive revenue for their business.
- I offer a free consultation with new clients – this allows you to get to know me and helps me to understand your requirements more clearly – rapport is so important!
- My approach is relevant across all sectors. I have worked with organisations across many sectors including environmental, not-for-profit, health and life sciences, food, electronics, software, environmental, fintech and education services.
- I am mindful that most organisations are resource strapped and time poor so I always work in ways that can work around these constraints. I prefer short (less than half day) workshops that deliver value quickly.
- I instill the mindset, skillset and toolset that will empower your people to own this process so that even when I am no longer involved your strategic marketing journey can continue without me.
- Our first workshop brings the leadership team together to help each member of the team to
- Reflect on where the business is at the moment (your mission)
- Articulate your current view on what you are hoping to achieve (your vision)
- Understand the key concepts of high performing strategic marketing or product management
- Consider the key gaps in your approach to strategic marketing or product management that might be holding you back
- If you are happy to continue following this first workshop then we can proceed to get under the hood a little more. We move on to work through the Market Positioning Canvas to help you reflect on your current market positioning – enabling you to identify specific areas of this positioning that needs more work:
- We only focus on areas where there are defined gaps so that I can help you to move forward as quickly as possible!
- If more detailed work is required on your market positioning then I recommend we follow a 5 Step process called Insight 2 Value that combines coaching & mentoring expertise with a clear methodology and toolset to support businesses to:
- Capture Insights: supporting you to capture, articulate and understand research and data on your current business context, future market opportunities, buyer behaviours and competitive landscape
- Focus: applying a methodology and tools to identify and prioritise key market opportunities that will drive revenue and enable you to clearly articulate your service/product/solution offering for these markets
- Position: creating a positioning statement that enables you to differentiate in a competitive landscape
- Validate: Applying Voice of the Customer (VoTC) techniques to enable you to validate your market hypothesis through qualitative and quantitative research
- Communicate: Creating a compelling message that can be used in a target marketing campaign. Supporting you to create a Marketing Plan that will drive engagement with your target markets
My approach is consultative and collaborate. Furthermore, I strongly believe in approaches that help your business to align the disciplines of engineering, sales and marketing. I have the foundations and understanding of how products are designed and engineered and I know the importance of an aligned approach across the organisation. For those of you in the Technology Sector, everything we do will help you to create relevant business requirements (Business Epics) for the product or solution development backlog – aligning strategic marketing and solution development (engineering).
“Working with Siobhan enabled us to really understand the market we are addressing and the problems and needs of our customers – we learned to recognize the huge benefits that can be achieved from an “outside in” approach to product management. As a result, we have strengthened our value proposition”Bill Walsh, CEO Aspire
“Siobhan strongly informed our strategic discussions for growth. The structure of her engagement and the thinking behind it has very much helped me in my high-level discussions with investors. Highly recommended”Des O’Mahony, CEO Bookassist
“Our sessions with IntegratedThinking have instilled our strong believe that if you understand your customers and your market then you can build products that sell themselves. The team here in DSI really enjoyed the in-house product management sessions and are continuing to apply the practices learned.”John Murphy, CEO DeCare Systems Ireland
“Having worked with IntegratedThinking we now have a much stronger link between commercial strategy and product delivery. We have a clearer understanding of the key benefits that product management can bring to a startup organization”Grainne Barry, Director, Salaso
Please feel free to contact me via email email@example.com. I will be happy to prepare a short proposal to outline an approach that will provide more detail on the transformative steps of my process.