What are some key indicators that it’s time for a product management makeover?

Just like your home decor or your wardrobe, a product management makeover is in order every few years.

The leading indicator that makeover time has arrived is the changing business landscape of your target customers.

For example, if you target high-tech companies, consider the following market dynamics and their implications on your customers.

  1. Ongoing market consolidation across large, medium, and small companies has resulted in larger and more complex product portfolios.
  2. The convergence of software, hardware and services has forced traditional companies to find creative ways to differentiate what’s now a commodity.
  3. All things cloud and/or mobile.

To what extent do product management and product marketing disciplines need to change to align with the new customer landscape?

Here’s one of the most important aspects of structuring your product management and product marketing teams. Some part of your team structure has to mirror the business of your target customers.

For example, if you target specific verticals like retail, banking or healthcare, your product teams should have roles that mirror those verticals. If you’re more horizontal and your applications target the finance department, your teams should have experts on financial reporting, compliance, the comptroller’s office, etc.

If product management and/or product marketing teams are organized 100% around products, you’ll struggle to build, market and sell solutions with strategic value because there’s no role that’s tasked with understanding what’s strategic to your customers. Don’t say it’s the responsibility of the product manager. It’s not a product by product thing!

Here’s the bottom line. The complexion of most of your customers looks completely different today than it did 10 years ago. If you’re still doing product management and product marketing the way you were doing it 10 years ago, maybe it’s time for a makeover!

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