InnovationLeadershipMultiple ContributorsPositioningProduct ManagementProduct MarketingResearch

4 Product Management Success Stories

A few weeks ago, I posted 4 Mistakes to Avoid in your Product Management Career. In that post, Shardul Mehta, Veronica Figarella, Ninon LaForce and I shared some hard lessons learned; hopefully to help you avoid them yourself.

In this post, we each share a success story, but this time in hopes that the insight would help you gain success.

Feel free to use the comments section to share a success story you had in your career.  I’d love to hear from you.


Shardul Mehta – Always continue to innovate

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on many new ideas, be they new products, new services, new processes, new ways of doing business, or even new businesses. Some have seen the light of day, many others have not. But I am convinced that one of the reasons I have enjoyed success in my career is because I was never satisfied with the status quo and always pushed for change.

Has it gotten me into trouble? Has it caused folks to be annoyed at me? Has it made me feel like an island at times? Absolutely. Has it possibly at times limited my advancement opportunities in the short term? Perhaps. Do I regret any of it? Not one bit.

I’ve learned that innovation represents change, and in order to affect change, you have to help people through their change curves. This takes a lot of work. Human beings by nature resist change. The status quo is familiar, comfortable, safe. Different is not.

I’ve also learned that when it comes to successful innovation, in the end most often people don’t dwell on the turmoil of the journey, but rather remember the result and the impact it had on them. That is incredibly gratifying. And why I continue to sign up to do it again and again.

Ninon LaForce – Be an early entrant into a market

The first product I managed at a telecom startup was an audio conferencing product for wholesalers. It helped that the audio conferencing industry was just at the beginning of the growth stage so everyone wanted to get into the action and there was very good money to be made.

I worked with an amazing team of developers and telecom engineers. I was the primary contact for large wholesalers of our services and worked day-to-day with amazing product marketing managers at those organizations. I learned a ton from them. It was energizing and exciting. This kind of success does not happen everyday so I was and still am, very proud to have been part of it, and being and early entrant into what became a large market was a big factor in the success.

Veronica Figarella – Have a well supported Product Marketing plan

As I continued learning about the importance of knowing your market and your customers, I got better at understanding the market’s opportunity and building my products’ unique value proposition.

On my latest job, my first task was to build a Product Marketing Plan. The product was almost ready for launch (so they said) but had no clear positioning.

In the past, I would have hurried to complete the plan after learning everything about the product and its features, attributes, possible improvements, etc. After many mistakes, I realized that it is better to start analyzing the market, the consumer and the competitors instead.

The result was a well rounded Product Marketing plan with a clear calculation of the size of the opportunity, measurable and achievable objectives and a plausible marketing budget. Everybody was happy.

Of course learning about the product benefits is fundamental in building a Product Marketing plan, but without knowing what problems the product solves it is difficult to answer and sustain: “How many of these are we going to sell?”

Saeed Khan – Fully align your company to your target market

Many years ago I did some consulting for a startup. The company had a lot of things going for it. The management team was solid, they were well funded, and they had good core technology. My consulting efforts were focused on helping them refine their product strategy. At least that was the objective going in.

After many discussions and meetings, what I recommended was not a refinement, but a redefinition of their product, their go-to-market and in fact, their target market.   The market they were originally aiming for was big, but very crowded with established companies. The new market segment was smaller (but still large) and had no dominant players. After I delivered my report to the CEO and we reviewed my recommendations, I moved on to other projects.

I found out a few years later that the CEO had taken my recommendations and implemented them, almost wholesale. They rewrote large parts of their product, refocused on a different market segment, repositioned themselves and found success. I still keep in touch with people from that company today.

Although my contribution was small — I was just a consultant 🙂 — , the impact was enormous. I credit the CEO for implementing my recommendations. A lot of CEOs wouldn’t have taken that risk.  But I see it as a big success both for me, as  well as for the significant value Product Management can bring to a company.

Tweet this: 4 Product Management Success Stories – http://wp.me/pXBON-3ez #prodmgmt #innovation

Please share your success stories in the comments below.