Jim Semick

Blog Post
Tying Strategy to Your Product Roadmap
Jan 17, 2017 -

We’ve all heard about “strategic” product roadmaps. But what exactly does that mean in practice? A roadmap is a plan for your strategy that maps out the direction of your product. It provides context for your stakeholders and communicates the why behind what you’re building. Ideally, it’s a high-level visual summary that helps product managers get everyone on the same page.

A product roadmap isn’t simply a list of features or the backlog. The roadmap needs to communicate the big picture to the organization—the initiatives that move the needle, expand markets, address competition and create customer value. That big-picture thinking can’t be distilled in a list of features.

Jan 17, 2017 -

We’ve all heard about “strategic” product roadmaps. But what exactly does that mean in practice? A roadmap is a plan for your strategy that maps out the direction of your product. It provides context for your stakeholders and communicates the why behind what you’re building. Ideally, it’s a high-level visual summary that helps product managers get everyone on the same page.

A product roadmap isn’t simply a list of features or the backlog. The roadmap needs to communicate the big picture to the organization—the initiatives that move the needle, expand markets, address competition and create customer value. That big-picture thinking can’t be distilled in a list of features.

Blog Post
Product Launch 30 Day Plan – Week 4
Feb 15, 2016 - Week 4 of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan is about refining and finalizing the launch plan. Through the third week you have developed a general approach to achieving your product launch goals. Now is the time to rationalize. It’s not possible to do all things for all people. Choices have to be made. Trade-offs need evaluation. The driving principal to rationalization should be your launch goals. What is the shortest path to achieving those goals? Not all Market Segments are Equal The purpose of product launch is to create momentum. Momentum isn’t possible when there is a lack of focus, a lack of direction. That’s the reason why the Product Launch 30 Day Plan starts with defining launch goals. The first question to ask is “Which market segment(s) provide the shortest path to accomplishing our launch goals?”. Once you have that list of market segments, the next question to ask is “Which of those market segment(s) should we focus on?”. If you don’t have the resources (or the market segment expertise) it isn’t a wise decision to go after every market segment. There are two things you are doing. Launch goals create a measurement of success and an urgency. […]
Feb 15, 2016 - Week 4 of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan is about refining and finalizing the launch plan. Through the third week you have developed a general approach to achieving your product launch goals. Now is the time to rationalize. It’s not possible to do all things for all people. Choices have to be made. Trade-offs need evaluation. The driving principal to rationalization should be your launch goals. What is the shortest path to achieving those goals? Not all Market Segments are Equal The purpose of product launch is to create momentum. Momentum isn’t possible when there is a lack of focus, a lack of direction. That’s the reason why the Product Launch 30 Day Plan starts with defining launch goals. The first question to ask is “Which market segment(s) provide the shortest path to accomplishing our launch goals?”. Once you have that list of market segments, the next question to ask is “Which of those market segment(s) should we focus on?”. If you don’t have the resources (or the market segment expertise) it isn’t a wise decision to go after every market segment. There are two things you are doing. Launch goals create a measurement of success and an urgency. […]
Blog Post
Product Launch 30 Day Plan – Week 3
Sep 01, 2015 - In Week 3 of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan you have enough information to assemble the team to finish the launch planning process. A launch team needs a broad perspective of your organization and of the market. For that reason you need a cross functional team (CFT). Follow the links to Week 1 and Week 2 before continuing with Week 3. Organize the Launch CFT The purpose of a Cross-Functional Team is to provide the insight and expertise of many people. Insight and expertise that makes launch planning more thorough. CFTs should have the smallest number of people needed to address the launch readiness gaps identified in Week 2 of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan. These are experts in their area of responsibility.  They are capable of representing their functional area. They can make decisions and can offer recommendations based on how things work in their departments. The minimal group is the inner circle of the Launch CFT. Use an outer circle of advisors to provide extra insight.  They ensure small details outside the larger readiness gaps are not missed or forgotten. The Launch CFT needs a leader. This leader drives the completion of the Launch Plan and the achievement […]
Sep 01, 2015 - In Week 3 of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan you have enough information to assemble the team to finish the launch planning process. A launch team needs a broad perspective of your organization and of the market. For that reason you need a cross functional team (CFT). Follow the links to Week 1 and Week 2 before continuing with Week 3. Organize the Launch CFT The purpose of a Cross-Functional Team is to provide the insight and expertise of many people. Insight and expertise that makes launch planning more thorough. CFTs should have the smallest number of people needed to address the launch readiness gaps identified in Week 2 of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan. These are experts in their area of responsibility.  They are capable of representing their functional area. They can make decisions and can offer recommendations based on how things work in their departments. The minimal group is the inner circle of the Launch CFT. Use an outer circle of advisors to provide extra insight.  They ensure small details outside the larger readiness gaps are not missed or forgotten. The Launch CFT needs a leader. This leader drives the completion of the Launch Plan and the achievement […]
Blog Post
Product Launch 30 Day Plan – Week 2
Jul 29, 2015 - In Week 1 of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan the focus was on the most basic product launch information. In Week 2 you will gather more information, assess your organization’s strengths/weaknesses, and organize a cross functional launch team. After Week 1 you have the following completed: Defined product launch goals Established product launch priority Refined target market segments Chosen product launch strategies to support the launch goals I suggest you complete the these deliverables before continuing Week 2’s assignment. It’s OK if it takes longer than a week to complete Week 1’s deliverables. It’s better to complete the deliverables from beginning to end before continuing with Week 2 of Product Launch 30 Day Plan. Understand Your Buyers Who are the people you need to achieve your product launch goals? These are the people who need to take an action you want. They are people who are within your target market segments. The tool used to represent these people is a Buyer Persona. The purpose of the Buyer Persona is to provide the launch team a common picture of a buyer. Much has been written about Buyer Personas so I won’t to go into great detail here (it’s also covered in the […]
Jul 29, 2015 - In Week 1 of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan the focus was on the most basic product launch information. In Week 2 you will gather more information, assess your organization’s strengths/weaknesses, and organize a cross functional launch team. After Week 1 you have the following completed: Defined product launch goals Established product launch priority Refined target market segments Chosen product launch strategies to support the launch goals I suggest you complete the these deliverables before continuing Week 2’s assignment. It’s OK if it takes longer than a week to complete Week 1’s deliverables. It’s better to complete the deliverables from beginning to end before continuing with Week 2 of Product Launch 30 Day Plan. Understand Your Buyers Who are the people you need to achieve your product launch goals? These are the people who need to take an action you want. They are people who are within your target market segments. The tool used to represent these people is a Buyer Persona. The purpose of the Buyer Persona is to provide the launch team a common picture of a buyer. Much has been written about Buyer Personas so I won’t to go into great detail here (it’s also covered in the […]
Blog Post
Product Launch 30 Day Plan – Week 1
Jul 21, 2015 - Product Launch 30 Day Plan The purpose of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan is to provide a starting point for Launch seminar attendees to get started planning a product launch. Think of it like a Quick Start Guide that is designed to get customers up and running quickly, and to help put into action what was learned in the Launch seminar. I like to think of it like cooking. When you attend the Launch seminar, you learn about the cooking tools and the ingredients. The next step is to prepare a meal and for that you need a recipe. Think of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan as a recipe. The recipe will need to (and should) be adjusted to suit your tastes. Don’t think of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan as an absolute. Think of it like a guide that’s intended to provide the insight and foundation for your successful product launch. Every organization is different and every market segment has its idiosyncrasies that have to be factored into the Product Launch 30 Day Plan. Good luck, think about the ‘big picture’, and have fun! Week 1 – Product Launch Basics The first week of the Product Launch 30 […]
Jul 21, 2015 - Product Launch 30 Day Plan The purpose of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan is to provide a starting point for Launch seminar attendees to get started planning a product launch. Think of it like a Quick Start Guide that is designed to get customers up and running quickly, and to help put into action what was learned in the Launch seminar. I like to think of it like cooking. When you attend the Launch seminar, you learn about the cooking tools and the ingredients. The next step is to prepare a meal and for that you need a recipe. Think of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan as a recipe. The recipe will need to (and should) be adjusted to suit your tastes. Don’t think of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan as an absolute. Think of it like a guide that’s intended to provide the insight and foundation for your successful product launch. Every organization is different and every market segment has its idiosyncrasies that have to be factored into the Product Launch 30 Day Plan. Good luck, think about the ‘big picture’, and have fun! Week 1 – Product Launch Basics The first week of the Product Launch 30 […]
Blog Post
Are You Listening to Learn or Listening to Sell?
Jun 26, 2015 - You want a better understanding of the markets you serve. You want to identify new markets. You want to identify new, innovative solutions that can vault your career and the fortunes of your company. Are you using your best listening skills? Too often you have your Listening to Sell filter on and miss important insights. The Listening to Sell filter discards information that isn’t relevant to selling efforts. You hear only what you need to move the sale forward. Listening to Learn is filterless. It’s an activity with no agenda; no preconceived notions. It is almost childlike in the wonderment of learning something new, something you never knew before. It opens your mind up to seeing problems in a whole new light. You see things differently.  The problems identified could lead to new markets, new solutions, and new growth opportunities. It’s unreliable to expect your salespeople to identify the next product and the next market because they Listen to Sell. It’s not a surprise and it’s not a criticism. It’s a fact. It’s how we expect them to perform and it’s how they are compensated. Someone in your organization needs to practice Listening to Learn. Who does this today? How can you engage more resources to practice Listening to Learn? […]
Jun 26, 2015 - You want a better understanding of the markets you serve. You want to identify new markets. You want to identify new, innovative solutions that can vault your career and the fortunes of your company. Are you using your best listening skills? Too often you have your Listening to Sell filter on and miss important insights. The Listening to Sell filter discards information that isn’t relevant to selling efforts. You hear only what you need to move the sale forward. Listening to Learn is filterless. It’s an activity with no agenda; no preconceived notions. It is almost childlike in the wonderment of learning something new, something you never knew before. It opens your mind up to seeing problems in a whole new light. You see things differently.  The problems identified could lead to new markets, new solutions, and new growth opportunities. It’s unreliable to expect your salespeople to identify the next product and the next market because they Listen to Sell. It’s not a surprise and it’s not a criticism. It’s a fact. It’s how we expect them to perform and it’s how they are compensated. Someone in your organization needs to practice Listening to Learn. Who does this today? How can you engage more resources to practice Listening to Learn? […]
Blog Post
A product launch is a campaign
Jul 02, 2015 - kam-peyn Campaign: “a systematic course of aggressive activities for some specific purpose” Given the above definition of a campaign, it’s easy to understand how a product launch fits nicely into that definition. Unfortunately many product launches don’t follow that definition. You want your product launch to be aggressive, where aggressive equates to selling more stuff more quickly. Does your product launch wind up being a whimper that doesn’t produce anywhere close to the results expected? Wait. What is expected? The root cause (assuming the product doesn’t suck) is that your product launch was neither Aggressive nor does it have a Specific Purpose. Relative to a product launch, ‘Specific Purpose’ means there are clearly defined and measurable goals. Do you have defined metrics and timeframes? Is there shared understanding of the product launch goals or are there different interpretations? Without a Specific Purpose you cannot define ‘Aggressive’. All things being equal, a company with a launch goal of $500,000 will drive a product launch that is significantly less Aggressive than the same company with a $50,000,000 launch goal. More than likely the budget, resource requirements, and intensity will also be significantly different. For your next product launch define the Specific Purpose […]
Jul 02, 2015 - kam-peyn Campaign: “a systematic course of aggressive activities for some specific purpose” Given the above definition of a campaign, it’s easy to understand how a product launch fits nicely into that definition. Unfortunately many product launches don’t follow that definition. You want your product launch to be aggressive, where aggressive equates to selling more stuff more quickly. Does your product launch wind up being a whimper that doesn’t produce anywhere close to the results expected? Wait. What is expected? The root cause (assuming the product doesn’t suck) is that your product launch was neither Aggressive nor does it have a Specific Purpose. Relative to a product launch, ‘Specific Purpose’ means there are clearly defined and measurable goals. Do you have defined metrics and timeframes? Is there shared understanding of the product launch goals or are there different interpretations? Without a Specific Purpose you cannot define ‘Aggressive’. All things being equal, a company with a launch goal of $500,000 will drive a product launch that is significantly less Aggressive than the same company with a $50,000,000 launch goal. More than likely the budget, resource requirements, and intensity will also be significantly different. For your next product launch define the Specific Purpose […]
Blog Post
Why references, reviews, and referrals matter
Jul 14, 2015 - Today you will get a request from a member of your sales team for a ‘reference’. An individual who is using your product today, likes it, and is willing to say nice things about it to other people who have not yet bought. Why are references, reviews, and referrals so important? If you shop on Amazon chances are that you look at the reviews from other buyers. This functions as a reference for you. It gives you comfort that you’re making a good decision to purchase, based on other people’s feedback. That comfort helps you to take the risk of spending your money. The benefit to buyers of references is it reduces their perception of risk. The better the reference, the lower the perceived risk. Without a reference the purchase might still happen, but the buyer will have to work through the pros and cons of making the decision. There will be more questions. They will test you more thoroughly. It will just take more time. The benefit to you is that it shortens a buyer’s buying decision. Translation: a shorter sales cycle. Sometimes it makes good business sense to wait until you have a few references before launching a product. […]
Jul 14, 2015 - Today you will get a request from a member of your sales team for a ‘reference’. An individual who is using your product today, likes it, and is willing to say nice things about it to other people who have not yet bought. Why are references, reviews, and referrals so important? If you shop on Amazon chances are that you look at the reviews from other buyers. This functions as a reference for you. It gives you comfort that you’re making a good decision to purchase, based on other people’s feedback. That comfort helps you to take the risk of spending your money. The benefit to buyers of references is it reduces their perception of risk. The better the reference, the lower the perceived risk. Without a reference the purchase might still happen, but the buyer will have to work through the pros and cons of making the decision. There will be more questions. They will test you more thoroughly. It will just take more time. The benefit to you is that it shortens a buyer’s buying decision. Translation: a shorter sales cycle. Sometimes it makes good business sense to wait until you have a few references before launching a product. […]
Blog Post
The 70% Solution
Jan 23, 2015 - There are basically two kinds of software companies. One provides as complete a solution as possible (a product) and the other is essentially a services company that combines some software that requires services to complete the solution. Sometimes this is referred to as a 70% Solution. The two approaches can be profitable. The big differences between the two approaches are operational business models, the ease of growing, and margin. Strategies With a complete solution, the strategy is to identify a problem or need, and build a complete software solution that requires very little dependency on additional services to make the solution complete for a market of buyers. Ideally no services are needed. With a 70% solution, the strategy is for the software to be a tool that drives services revenue. The software needs to be complete enough in the buyer’s eyes, but still require services to take it from a 70% solution to a 100% solution. Needs Identification With a complete solution, needs are identified through market sensing activities. Needs are identified, clarified, validated, and quantified. Then the solution is created. Every capability built into the solution is evaluated on the basis that it satisfies a broader market need. With […]
Jan 23, 2015 - There are basically two kinds of software companies. One provides as complete a solution as possible (a product) and the other is essentially a services company that combines some software that requires services to complete the solution. Sometimes this is referred to as a 70% Solution. The two approaches can be profitable. The big differences between the two approaches are operational business models, the ease of growing, and margin. Strategies With a complete solution, the strategy is to identify a problem or need, and build a complete software solution that requires very little dependency on additional services to make the solution complete for a market of buyers. Ideally no services are needed. With a 70% solution, the strategy is for the software to be a tool that drives services revenue. The software needs to be complete enough in the buyer’s eyes, but still require services to take it from a 70% solution to a 100% solution. Needs Identification With a complete solution, needs are identified through market sensing activities. Needs are identified, clarified, validated, and quantified. Then the solution is created. Every capability built into the solution is evaluated on the basis that it satisfies a broader market need. With […]
Blog Post
It Starts with a Conversation
Jan 15, 2015 - Successful products have something in common. They satisfy a need. They do a few things exceedingly well. People like them so much they tell others. We often think that a successful product starts with an idea. An idea so amazing it will change everything. But the idea is just the spark. The spark begins to smolder after we start having a conversation. A conversation with real people, in a real market, with real needs. As we interact with the market and learn, the smolder becomes a flame. We learn more. We refine. We get more feedback. We discover which fuel makes the flame grow. The flame grows to become a forest fire. Nothing can put it out now. Without a conversation, the spark is vulnerable. Just a little rain and it’s snuffed out. Get out of your office. Have a conversation. Don’t let your idea become vulnerable. Build a fire that’s unstoppable.
Jan 15, 2015 - Successful products have something in common. They satisfy a need. They do a few things exceedingly well. People like them so much they tell others. We often think that a successful product starts with an idea. An idea so amazing it will change everything. But the idea is just the spark. The spark begins to smolder after we start having a conversation. A conversation with real people, in a real market, with real needs. As we interact with the market and learn, the smolder becomes a flame. We learn more. We refine. We get more feedback. We discover which fuel makes the flame grow. The flame grows to become a forest fire. Nothing can put it out now. Without a conversation, the spark is vulnerable. Just a little rain and it’s snuffed out. Get out of your office. Have a conversation. Don’t let your idea become vulnerable. Build a fire that’s unstoppable.
Blog Post
A Product Launch “Is He Cheating on Me” Quiz
Jan 08, 2015 - It’s a new year. The first quarter is a time for launching new products and expectations are high. Launching a product successfully is hard work. And what I mean by ‘successful’ is that it meets or exceed goals that have been defined for a successful launch. The launch goal could be revenue, it could be market share, it could be changing perception in the market about your company. A successful product launch could be a game changer for the company and for you. Often (as in 95% of product launches fail) we discover the launch problem after it’s introduced to the market. In our eagerness to get to market quickly, shortcuts are taken. In some cases shortcuts that shouldn’t be taken. Cosmopolitan magazine regularly has a quiz to help their readers sort out important life issues like “Is he cheating on me?”. I thought we could borrow the quiz approach and apply it to launching products to see how prepared you are for your next product launch. Each of the questions in the quiz is designed to help you think through a product launch across the entire spectrum of new product introduction. Each question has a score from 1 to 5. 1 […]
Jan 08, 2015 - It’s a new year. The first quarter is a time for launching new products and expectations are high. Launching a product successfully is hard work. And what I mean by ‘successful’ is that it meets or exceed goals that have been defined for a successful launch. The launch goal could be revenue, it could be market share, it could be changing perception in the market about your company. A successful product launch could be a game changer for the company and for you. Often (as in 95% of product launches fail) we discover the launch problem after it’s introduced to the market. In our eagerness to get to market quickly, shortcuts are taken. In some cases shortcuts that shouldn’t be taken. Cosmopolitan magazine regularly has a quiz to help their readers sort out important life issues like “Is he cheating on me?”. I thought we could borrow the quiz approach and apply it to launching products to see how prepared you are for your next product launch. Each of the questions in the quiz is designed to help you think through a product launch across the entire spectrum of new product introduction. Each question has a score from 1 to 5. 1 […]
Blog Post
The One-Trick Pony Launch
Mar 04, 2015 - The product launch worked so well last time so why not do the same exact things again? There is just this one, small, really important detail. Do you know why it worked so well? Maybe it was the right product at the right time that solved the right problem. Maybe it was really good execution. Maybe it was dumb luck. Maybe it was something else. It’s easy to repeat what you’ve done before but hard to replicate the success. It takes work, a good strategy, and knowledge of the market. Hubris runs rampant when the first product launch succeeds. You feel invincible; anything you do from here forward is going to be a winner. And then the second launch flops. You convince yourself it must be a fluke, an anomaly, an outlier. It could happen to anyone. You shrug it off and move on. And the third launch flops. Hmmm. It can’t be the product or the strategy. Must be the execution. Identify and punish the guilty. After the next flop the blame storming meetings consume the agenda. Know the market. Understand the problem. Solve it. Launch with the right strategy for the right reasons. Define the parameters of a successful launch. Execute […]
Mar 04, 2015 - The product launch worked so well last time so why not do the same exact things again? There is just this one, small, really important detail. Do you know why it worked so well? Maybe it was the right product at the right time that solved the right problem. Maybe it was really good execution. Maybe it was dumb luck. Maybe it was something else. It’s easy to repeat what you’ve done before but hard to replicate the success. It takes work, a good strategy, and knowledge of the market. Hubris runs rampant when the first product launch succeeds. You feel invincible; anything you do from here forward is going to be a winner. And then the second launch flops. You convince yourself it must be a fluke, an anomaly, an outlier. It could happen to anyone. You shrug it off and move on. And the third launch flops. Hmmm. It can’t be the product or the strategy. Must be the execution. Identify and punish the guilty. After the next flop the blame storming meetings consume the agenda. Know the market. Understand the problem. Solve it. Launch with the right strategy for the right reasons. Define the parameters of a successful launch. Execute […]
Blog Post
Should Salespeople Work the Trade Show Booth?
Dec 18, 2014 - Are salespeople the right resource in the booth? Trade shows set the stage for mismatched expectations If not salespeople working the booth, then who? If salespeople should work the trade show booth is one of the questions that comes up frequently when I’m teaching classes for Pragmatic Institute. The ensuing discussion can get really interesting and sometimes a little heated. It’s a question that begs further discussion given that it’s often the Sales Team that is driving the need for trade show attendance. For many technology companies the number of trade shows in which they are exhibiting is down compared to previous years, but for the trade shows that they do participate in the need to show a return on investment is every bit as challenging. History In the early days of the technology industry, sales transactions could be conducted in a trade show booth. It was easy to justify the attendance at an event based on revenue. Over time the ability to conduct sales transactions in the booth has been taken away. Even though this is the case for most trade shows today, there is still a sense from the Sales Team that it’s an opportunity to sell. This […]
Dec 18, 2014 - Are salespeople the right resource in the booth? Trade shows set the stage for mismatched expectations If not salespeople working the booth, then who? If salespeople should work the trade show booth is one of the questions that comes up frequently when I’m teaching classes for Pragmatic Institute. The ensuing discussion can get really interesting and sometimes a little heated. It’s a question that begs further discussion given that it’s often the Sales Team that is driving the need for trade show attendance. For many technology companies the number of trade shows in which they are exhibiting is down compared to previous years, but for the trade shows that they do participate in the need to show a return on investment is every bit as challenging. History In the early days of the technology industry, sales transactions could be conducted in a trade show booth. It was easy to justify the attendance at an event based on revenue. Over time the ability to conduct sales transactions in the booth has been taken away. Even though this is the case for most trade shows today, there is still a sense from the Sales Team that it’s an opportunity to sell. This […]
Blog Post
Prioritize Product Launch Resources with Launch Tiers
Dec 10, 2014 - Use product launch tiers to allocate launch resources Prioritize launch resources based on business/market impact Companies with large product portfolios can face a dizzying pace of product launches. Realistically, not every product update needs the resources of a full-blown product launch so we need a rational way to prioritize resources to more closely match business outcomes. One method is to allocate launch resources by prioritizing product launches based on a combination of the impact on the market and the impact to the business. Products that are expected to have a larger impact, get more launch resources. Products with a lower impact, get fewer launch resources. We can do this by establishing launch tiers: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 launches.   The x axis represents market impact: how the product launch will impact the market. The y axis represents business impact: how the product launch will impact the business. Tier 1 Tier 1 product launches are the highest priority and are reserved for products that are expected to have the most impact. Tier 1 product launches are less frequent and have significant strategic impact. A Tier 1 product launch might include new product categories, introduce an acquisition, or represent a […]
Dec 10, 2014 - Use product launch tiers to allocate launch resources Prioritize launch resources based on business/market impact Companies with large product portfolios can face a dizzying pace of product launches. Realistically, not every product update needs the resources of a full-blown product launch so we need a rational way to prioritize resources to more closely match business outcomes. One method is to allocate launch resources by prioritizing product launches based on a combination of the impact on the market and the impact to the business. Products that are expected to have a larger impact, get more launch resources. Products with a lower impact, get fewer launch resources. We can do this by establishing launch tiers: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 launches.   The x axis represents market impact: how the product launch will impact the market. The y axis represents business impact: how the product launch will impact the business. Tier 1 Tier 1 product launches are the highest priority and are reserved for products that are expected to have the most impact. Tier 1 product launches are less frequent and have significant strategic impact. A Tier 1 product launch might include new product categories, introduce an acquisition, or represent a […]
Blog Post
Do you have the right product launch goals?
Oct 01, 2014 - Tweet You’re working hard toward launching your next product. Your project plan is glorious. The deliverables are well defined. The activities are noted. The interdependencies are evident in the Gantt chart. You have the best people on your cross-functional product launch team. You are set. Or are you? Do you and your team know what a successful product launch looks like? How will the success of the product launch be measured by the executive team? If you can’t answers those questions you’re not alone. Many companies get so fixated on getting “stuff” done in support of a product launch, they lose sight of what’s really important: achieving business goals. To start to nail your product launch goals you have to backtrack to what the business is trying to accomplish. Then you can identify metrics that are in support of those goals. Maybe you’re introducing a new product. It’s a product that – naturally – the executive team expects to add to the top/bottom line of the business. Chances are they have a specific set of numbers in mind… add $3.2 million in incremental revenue… increase margin by 17%… increase the customer renewal rate from 78% to 85%… establish a beachhead in […]
Oct 01, 2014 - Tweet You’re working hard toward launching your next product. Your project plan is glorious. The deliverables are well defined. The activities are noted. The interdependencies are evident in the Gantt chart. You have the best people on your cross-functional product launch team. You are set. Or are you? Do you and your team know what a successful product launch looks like? How will the success of the product launch be measured by the executive team? If you can’t answers those questions you’re not alone. Many companies get so fixated on getting “stuff” done in support of a product launch, they lose sight of what’s really important: achieving business goals. To start to nail your product launch goals you have to backtrack to what the business is trying to accomplish. Then you can identify metrics that are in support of those goals. Maybe you’re introducing a new product. It’s a product that – naturally – the executive team expects to add to the top/bottom line of the business. Chances are they have a specific set of numbers in mind… add $3.2 million in incremental revenue… increase margin by 17%… increase the customer renewal rate from 78% to 85%… establish a beachhead in […]
Blog Post
What Sun Tzu Can Tell Us About Competitive Intelligence
Sep 25, 2014 - Tweet   “Art of War” is my favorite business book. It has everything we need to know to compete in the cut-throat world of technology. When it comes to competitive intelligence, “Art of War” is highly informative. “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.” —Sun Tzu […]
Sep 25, 2014 - Tweet   “Art of War” is my favorite business book. It has everything we need to know to compete in the cut-throat world of technology. When it comes to competitive intelligence, “Art of War” is highly informative. “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.” —Sun Tzu […]
Blog Post
Assembling Your Armada – Creating Leverage for Your Product Launch
Jul 08, 2014 - Tweet You have access to invisible leverage that could improve product launch success, but few tap into this valuable resource. They’re ‘invisible’ because we often overlook them yet they can have an important positive impact. In the flurry of getting the deliverables ready and activities completed for launch, I’d like for you to stop for […]
Jul 08, 2014 - Tweet You have access to invisible leverage that could improve product launch success, but few tap into this valuable resource. They’re ‘invisible’ because we often overlook them yet they can have an important positive impact. In the flurry of getting the deliverables ready and activities completed for launch, I’d like for you to stop for […]
Blog Post
Will Increased Content Marketing Budgets Have a Positive Impact?
Mar 05, 2014 - Tweet A number of recent studies indicate that budgets for content marketing have increased significantly year over year. While this is certainly a good thing, I wonder if marketing teams will just spend a lot of money and have nothing to show for it at the end of the year. Or worse, take a perfectly […]
Mar 05, 2014 - Tweet A number of recent studies indicate that budgets for content marketing have increased significantly year over year. While this is certainly a good thing, I wonder if marketing teams will just spend a lot of money and have nothing to show for it at the end of the year. Or worse, take a perfectly […]
Blog Post
Win/Loss Analysis: Why Sales Doesn’t Want You Involved
Feb 27, 2014 - Tweet The most insightful information about what’s working and what’s not working, from a product marketing perspective, is found through Win/Loss Analysis. We learn about what needs to be fixed, we learn what to avoid, and we learn what to focus on to win more business. And if we win more, everyone is happier. You […]
Feb 27, 2014 - Tweet The most insightful information about what’s working and what’s not working, from a product marketing perspective, is found through Win/Loss Analysis. We learn about what needs to be fixed, we learn what to avoid, and we learn what to focus on to win more business. And if we win more, everyone is happier. You […]
Blog Post
A New Form of Blogging?
Feb 26, 2014 - Tweet I really enjoyed my friend Jason Baer’s post at Convince and Convert (sorry Jason, I still can’t call you Jay yet) “Did We Just Invent a New Form of Blogging?“. As a teaser… I love SlideShare presentations that tell a story and make a point. Sadly, most don’t; they’re just hawking their product or […]
Feb 26, 2014 - Tweet I really enjoyed my friend Jason Baer’s post at Convince and Convert (sorry Jason, I still can’t call you Jay yet) “Did We Just Invent a New Form of Blogging?“. As a teaser… I love SlideShare presentations that tell a story and make a point. Sadly, most don’t; they’re just hawking their product or […]
Blog Post
Product Launch Analysis: Affordable Care Act 1.0
Oct 02, 2013 - Tweet   Launch Rating:  For those of my friends in technology companies you know exactly what would happen to us if we were responsible for the planning and execution of the ACA 1.0 launch. It would be short and unceremonious. Turn over your building keys, ID badge, gather your possessions, adios. Let’s put politics aside […]
Oct 02, 2013 - Tweet   Launch Rating:  For those of my friends in technology companies you know exactly what would happen to us if we were responsible for the planning and execution of the ACA 1.0 launch. It would be short and unceremonious. Turn over your building keys, ID badge, gather your possessions, adios. Let’s put politics aside […]
Blog Post
#LaunchFail – Losing Credibility with Your Channel
Sep 06, 2013 - Tweet I’m about to tell you something that might not be so obvious to you, but it could be the difference between a successful launch and a failure. Carefully Consider the Implications for the Channel When planning a product launch it’s important to carefully consider the implications for your sales channels. Glossing over this crucial […]
Sep 06, 2013 - Tweet I’m about to tell you something that might not be so obvious to you, but it could be the difference between a successful launch and a failure. Carefully Consider the Implications for the Channel When planning a product launch it’s important to carefully consider the implications for your sales channels. Glossing over this crucial […]
Blog Post
Product Launch and the Pace of Your Business
Aug 28, 2013 - Tweet When you attempt a fast-paced launch within a slow moving business, you’re asking for trouble. Businesses, like people, tend to have a pace. Some businesses operate at a fast pace. Fast can be exhilarating or terrifying depending on your perspective. Some businesses operate at a slow pace. Slow can be exasperating or comforting. Consider […]
Aug 28, 2013 - Tweet When you attempt a fast-paced launch within a slow moving business, you’re asking for trouble. Businesses, like people, tend to have a pace. Some businesses operate at a fast pace. Fast can be exhilarating or terrifying depending on your perspective. Some businesses operate at a slow pace. Slow can be exasperating or comforting. Consider […]
Blog Post
The New Pragmatic Institute Market and Launch Classes
Sep 26, 2013 - Tweet In July of this year Pragmatic Institute introduced a big change to our curriculum that reflects the feedback we’ve received over the years. Many of you have asked “What’s new? What’s different?”. I’ll give you a high-level overview in this post. The new curriculum consists of five classes, anchored by a prerequisite class titled […]
Sep 26, 2013 - Tweet In July of this year Pragmatic Institute introduced a big change to our curriculum that reflects the feedback we’ve received over the years. Many of you have asked “What’s new? What’s different?”. I’ll give you a high-level overview in this post. The new curriculum consists of five classes, anchored by a prerequisite class titled […]
Blog Post
Product Camp SoCal 2012 from the Bleachers
Nov 04, 2012 - Tweet I just returned from Product Camp SoCal 2012 held at the Cal State University Fullerton campus. The turnout was impressive with over 400 attendees and equally impressive enthusiasm (this was a Saturday!). The facility at CalState Fullerton was ideal and provided plenty of meeting space and room to mingle. If you’re unfamiliar with Product […]
Nov 04, 2012 - Tweet I just returned from Product Camp SoCal 2012 held at the Cal State University Fullerton campus. The turnout was impressive with over 400 attendees and equally impressive enthusiasm (this was a Saturday!). The facility at CalState Fullerton was ideal and provided plenty of meeting space and room to mingle. If you’re unfamiliar with Product […]
Blog Post
Product Launch Date – What’s Best for Your Launch?
May 31, 2012 - Tweet The all important milestone of a product launch plan is the launch date. For many product launches establishing a launch date in the product launch plan involves a lot of discussion, negotiation, and gnashing of teeth. Sometimes the launch date appears to be arbitrary while at other times is carefully planned to coincide with […]
May 31, 2012 - Tweet The all important milestone of a product launch plan is the launch date. For many product launches establishing a launch date in the product launch plan involves a lot of discussion, negotiation, and gnashing of teeth. Sometimes the launch date appears to be arbitrary while at other times is carefully planned to coincide with […]
Blog Post
Product Launch Planning: Sales Channel and Sales Cycle Complexity
May 16, 2012 - As it relates to your sales channel and channel partner readiness, there are two things to consider when developing your own product launch time line. First is the size of your sales channel. The second is the complexity of the sales cycle. By focusing on the sales channel and channel partners you address what is typically the most time consuming and riskiest part of a successful product launch.
May 16, 2012 - As it relates to your sales channel and channel partner readiness, there are two things to consider when developing your own product launch time line. First is the size of your sales channel. The second is the complexity of the sales cycle. By focusing on the sales channel and channel partners you address what is typically the most time consuming and riskiest part of a successful product launch.
Blog Post
A Product Launch Resource You May Be Overlooking
Apr 05, 2013 - During the feverish pitch leading up to the launch of a new product or new version of an existing product, it's easy to focus on the obvious: product, sales channel, and marketing. You may be overlooking an important product launch resource available to you that could have a big impact on your next product launch.
Apr 05, 2013 - During the feverish pitch leading up to the launch of a new product or new version of an existing product, it's easy to focus on the obvious: product, sales channel, and marketing. You may be overlooking an important product launch resource available to you that could have a big impact on your next product launch.
Blog Post
How to Say ‘No’ Without Getting Fired (part 3)
Jan 24, 2012 - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Marketers struggle to say ‘No’ to requests they know are frivolous. Sometimes it’s just easier to go with the status quo than make waves. But admit it: you (and your team) do a lot of extra stuff that is a waste of time and resources. Part 1 was about [...]
Jan 24, 2012 - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Marketers struggle to say ‘No’ to requests they know are frivolous. Sometimes it’s just easier to go with the status quo than make waves. But admit it: you (and your team) do a lot of extra stuff that is a waste of time and resources. Part 1 was about [...]
Blog Post
Launch Clinic Top Product Management Blog for 2012
Jan 24, 2012 - Strategic Product Manager listed Launch Clinic as a top product management blog for 2012 – booya! Thanks, Stewart! Hopefully this whole ‘the world is going to end thing’ doesn’t pan out and I’ll earn my way...
Jan 24, 2012 - Strategic Product Manager listed Launch Clinic as a top product management blog for 2012 – booya! Thanks, Stewart! Hopefully this whole ‘the world is going to end thing’ doesn’t pan out and I’ll earn my way...
Blog Post
The One Thing That Makes You Better
Jan 26, 2012 - Getting better at what you do or who you are takes commitment. It doesn’t happen by accident and no one is going to do it for you. Each day you have an opportunity to become a better professional, a better dad, a better sister, a better friend, and a better spouse. Find The One Thing [...]
Jan 26, 2012 - Getting better at what you do or who you are takes commitment. It doesn’t happen by accident and no one is going to do it for you. Each day you have an opportunity to become a better professional, a better dad, a better sister, a better friend, and a better spouse. Find The One Thing [...]
Blog Post
Why Asking Sales What They Need from Marketing is a Bad Idea
Feb 03, 2012 - A cardinal sin of a marketer is to ask the sales team what they need to be competitive. The response to that question elicits a range of requests, often unrelated to the realities of the market. Recently, two independent reports confirmed for me a trend I’ve been seeing for years: that sellers have far less [...]
Feb 03, 2012 - A cardinal sin of a marketer is to ask the sales team what they need to be competitive. The response to that question elicits a range of requests, often unrelated to the realities of the market. Recently, two independent reports confirmed for me a trend I’ve been seeing for years: that sellers have far less [...]
Blog Post
Meet John, the Product Marketing Manager
Feb 08, 2012 - Many of you know me from teaching Pragmatic Institute’s Effective Product Marketing and Product Launch Essentials classes. In this role I get the privilege of working with many marketing directors, product managers, marketing executives, and product marketing managers. This experience I wanted to share with you from the product marketing manager’s perspective. The role of [...]
Feb 08, 2012 - Many of you know me from teaching Pragmatic Institute’s Effective Product Marketing and Product Launch Essentials classes. In this role I get the privilege of working with many marketing directors, product managers, marketing executives, and product marketing managers. This experience I wanted to share with you from the product marketing manager’s perspective. The role of [...]
Blog Post
John the Misunderstood Product Marketing Manager
Feb 13, 2012 - Tweet In a previous post I introduced you to John, the product marketing manager. John is very busy and has his share of frustration. Most of John’s frustration is because his role is misunderstood. Product managers think he should do one thing. Marcom another. Sales yet another. How did John get here? For many technology [...]
Feb 13, 2012 - Tweet In a previous post I introduced you to John, the product marketing manager. John is very busy and has his share of frustration. Most of John’s frustration is because his role is misunderstood. Product managers think he should do one thing. Marcom another. Sales yet another. How did John get here? For many technology [...]
Blog Post
What Product Marketing Managers Really Do
Feb 21, 2012 - Tweet What salespeople think I do when they get what they want I am a tireless team player providing everything they need to be successful. What salespeople think I do when they don’t get what they want I am the devil who finds every opportunity to impede the progress of a sale. What product managers [...]
Feb 21, 2012 - Tweet What salespeople think I do when they get what they want I am a tireless team player providing everything they need to be successful. What salespeople think I do when they don’t get what they want I am the devil who finds every opportunity to impede the progress of a sale. What product managers [...]
Blog Post
The Stages of Awareness
Feb 21, 2012 - Tweet Product marketing managers are often asked to create or increase the awareness of a product in the market. The belief is that awareness equates to leads. Buyers are complex beings and go through stages of awareness as I’ve outlined below. An awareness of these stages (pun intended) helps to understand why the trade show [...]
Feb 21, 2012 - Tweet Product marketing managers are often asked to create or increase the awareness of a product in the market. The belief is that awareness equates to leads. Buyers are complex beings and go through stages of awareness as I’ve outlined below. An awareness of these stages (pun intended) helps to understand why the trade show [...]
Blog Post
The Difference Between Lead Generation and Demand Generation
Mar 01, 2012 - Tweet I’m often asked to describe the difference between lead generation and demand generation. It’s not uncommon for the terms to be used interchangeably, but they are very different. Let me explain. Lead Generation is about a single buyer. Demand Generation is about a market of buyers. Lead Generation is tactical. Demand Generation is strategic. […]
Mar 01, 2012 - Tweet I’m often asked to describe the difference between lead generation and demand generation. It’s not uncommon for the terms to be used interchangeably, but they are very different. Let me explain. Lead Generation is about a single buyer. Demand Generation is about a market of buyers. Lead Generation is tactical. Demand Generation is strategic. […]
Blog Post
The Difference Between B2B and B2C Buyers
Mar 12, 2012 - Tweet Marketing to B2C buyers is the same as marketing to B2B buyers, right? Not one bit and to understand why you need to start by examining the buyer. In a B2C market the buyer is spending her own money. In a B2B market the buyer is spending his company’s money. In a B2C market […]
Mar 12, 2012 - Tweet Marketing to B2C buyers is the same as marketing to B2B buyers, right? Not one bit and to understand why you need to start by examining the buyer. In a B2C market the buyer is spending her own money. In a B2B market the buyer is spending his company’s money. In a B2C market […]
Blog Post
Great Example of Informing and Educating with Content
Jan 31, 2013 - Tweet On my home I have a roof that includes a flat area, which is very common in the kinds of home built in the Phoenix, Arizona area. I was told that it’s a good idea to recoat the flat area every 5 years to ensure a good moisture barrier in the (rare) event of […]
Jan 31, 2013 - Tweet On my home I have a roof that includes a flat area, which is very common in the kinds of home built in the Phoenix, Arizona area. I was told that it’s a good idea to recoat the flat area every 5 years to ensure a good moisture barrier in the (rare) event of […]
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5 Ways to Nail Your Strategic Product Roadmap
Dec 13, 2016 -

If your 2017 roadmap is just a list of features that has left you too focused on details at the expense of strategy, it’s time to change your focus.

Dec 13, 2016 -

If your 2017 roadmap is just a list of features that has left you too focused on details at the expense of strategy, it’s time to change your focus.

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How Thought Leadership Can Elevate Your Products and Career
Jun 21, 2016 -

Are you simply managing features, or are you leading the vision for your product?

Jun 21, 2016 -

Are you simply managing features, or are you leading the vision for your product?

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Delight Your Customers While You Turn a Profit
Jun 09, 2015 - Why is pricing software-as-a-service (SaaS) different than pricing traditional products, and why is customer lifetime value so essential for product success?...
Jun 09, 2015 - Why is pricing software-as-a-service (SaaS) different than pricing traditional products, and why is customer lifetime value so essential for product success?...
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