Simple ideas aren't so simple
Sometimes I pine for the simple days of a single, great product. The product managers I meet are usually in an enterprise, B2B software world with a single sales force selling hundreds of products, each with its own message and value proposition. Product managers spend a disproportionate time selling to their sales people and then supporting each sale. Their web sites are a morass of links and it is truly difficult to find anything.
In some book I read recently (probably) the author proposed that 250 people as the largest a company could be and remain effective. Beyond that, companies become internally focused and spend too much time talking to one another instead of to the market.
What got me thinking about this single product orientation is. They have a single value proposition: fresh coffee is better than store-bought. Period. Actually, they're not a "one product" company: they sell 30+ flavors of coffee. But they have positioned themselves as one thing, one product, one message: fresh coffee. The web site is humorous, easy to navigate, easy to use, and makes it easy to buy. They caution you to not buy or be forever dissatisfied with any other coffee. I've ordered some and I'll let you know if they keep the promise.
Could an enterprise company use this approach? First we'd need to organize our products into logical families or suites and then promote each with a single message. Most of all, we'd need the courage to keep it simple. Contrast the Yahoo! home page with Google's. Can you imagine how many product managers want their product featured on the Google home page? Yet someone there has the conviction to say no.
Could you use these techniques in marketing your products?
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