I write quite often about leverage, using the 80/20 principle or its other fractal dimensions 64/4 etc. I am regularly trying to figure out more points of leverage so that I can become more effective and see how it plays out even in my practice of marketing.
I consume a lot of content through podcasts and I subscribe to a considerable number of them. Today while seeing my pattern of consumption of content from these podcasts, I realized that I predominantly end up with only 3-4 of them and within those also the primary ones are the Ilovemarketing.com podcast with Dean Jackson and Joe Polish and the Morecheeselesswhiskers.com podcast with Dean Jackson.
This is the true fractal nature of 80/20 where just these two podcasts are utilized by me for a major portion of my listening even though I subscribe to 15 or 16 of them.
If I look at at my consumption of digital entertainment platforms – Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney etc. I have a subscription for maybe 10-12 of these platforms but I end up primarily on just Netflix or Prime.
Again concentration on consuming through a few platforms for a majority of the portion of my time.
The internet has created a level playing field in a lot of areas and the “long tail” impact exists where even small players get a chance to play.
On the other hand from a marketer’s perspective for you to be able to dominate a market therefore you have to be able to choose a very fine niche so that, for that category you can become the top player so that by default people have to use you.
There’s massive leverage in choosing a very small niche and then moving into other adjacent categories. As a product manager if you operate in the digital consumption category, you should be leveraging on this instead of trying to be everything to everyone.
Till next time then
I was watching Shark Tank a little while back . There was this young lady who came with a business model which she called as an Ed-Fintech model and she started rattling some numbers from different global agencies on why they are in such a good space. They had not even started on revenue.
What happened – young person, giving “gyaan” with no revenue – suddenly with every statement that she made, most of the “sharks” pounced on her.
Problem perception- those sitting on the other side of the table thought she was acting as a “know-it-all”. They felt she was arrogant and that hurt some egos. No one ended making her an offer. From her perspective maybe she was just being confident with the research that she had done. Net outcome no investment
I remember about 25 years back there was a Korean company called Daewoo which entered India and launched a sedan. It was an extremely well engineered car which the Indian market had not seen till then. Now some of the early users of the car did not understand the way the fuel gauge was calibrated and they got the impression that it its a fuel guzzling car.
That perception got created with some users but the competition took advantage of that and blew it out of proportion. Eventually the car was a huge looser and whatever forecasts were made went south.
As a product manager or a marketing manager you have to keep an eye on the perception that is getting created and handle it, because once its made, it is not easy to brush off and it becomes reality.
Till next time then.
So in my last 2 posts I wrote about couple of areas, on how as a product manager, I would get my forecasts wrong.
In this one, we will talk about competition. Whenever there’s a good market, you will have competition come in, sooner rather than later. The more the competition, the more the challenges because you have to estimate in advance how competition would react to your offering.
The advantage of the B2B market is that generally, the competition is defined. Until a rank outsider comes in with a revolutionary product, generally the B2B space is defined and the products/services are also known.
In the market – perception is the reality. So if your competition creates a perception of a superior product/service or a cheaper service or a more flexible service, then all your forecasts can go haywire, if the market believes that your product is inferior in any way / more expensive / less flexible.
When you are working with a specific software tool or you are a partner for only a specific kind of equipment, then your options for differentiation decrease. It limits you to primarily two things – experience that you have and the kind of technical expertise that you have created.
If its your own product/service you can leverage on other things like the kind of packaging that you do, or the software code that you have built.
From a competition perspective the other thing that you need to note is the number of sales people in the market from your competitors versus yourself. If you have 3 sales people while you have competition with 7 sales people each, then its not practical for your team to outrun the competition. Your competition will always have more people covering more accounts. Which means your chance of losing a deal is always higher. Planning without this aspect clearly articulated in your assumptions is a grave mistake.
But marketing – especially in B2 is very interesting because of these factors.
Till next time then.
In yesterday’s post I wrote about how your plans and forecasts go wrong, if the product on which you have based your service model itself doesn’t succeed or the OEM loses focus.
Today we will look at other aspects where because we didn’t see the obstacles in advance, we couldn’t meet our forecasts. This is again from a B2B perspective where we were involved in direct sales to customers.
One big gap which generally arises when we the product managers, do forecasts, is discounting the human factor. We are so focused on the positives of our product or services that we forget that our product has to be sold by someone. I have tried giving targets and I have tried to get sales people to create their own targets and I have failed in both situations.
The key reasons I think, are because we believe that human beings will work consistently like a machine. We lose focus quite fast. If you have to ensure that your forecasts don’t fail then you need to incorporate the factors which can get your persons de-focused.
So think in terms of what all obstacles may come up that you will need to face and what will be your plan. This doesn’t mean that other things can’t go wrong. Its about figuring out what all you can think of in terms of the obstacles. Also understand that I am not looking at moves your competition will make.
As an example one project execution has not gone as per schedule….and your sales person has to hand-hold the customer. How will he make the sales calls then. What happens if half your sales force leaves together or spread across the year and you are not able to hire the right kind of sales people on time. In B2B sales where the lead times are high getting the new person fully operational is a very big challenge. Same could happen on your delivery side.
The more assumptions about your plan that you can call out in advance, the better you can work your forecasts.
Till next time then.