Re-branding Underscores Exclusive Focus on Product Portfolio Management

Atlanta, GA – April 5, 2011 – ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc., a product management training and consulting firm, announced today that it has changed its name to Proficientz as part of a re-branding initiative that underscores a shift in direction to focus exclusively on product portfolio management and marketing for B2B product and service organizations.  As part of the rebranding, Proficientz also launched its portfolio management framework to signify best practices for managing and marketing product portfolios to help organizations close the gap between their revenue and profitability goals and the management and marketing of their products and services.  

According to John Mansour, Managing Partner at Proficientz, “both the market landscape and our customers have changed significantly since our inception in 2001.  Organizations are more challenged to manage larger and more complex portfolios due to the number of silos and teams with competing agendas.  This is especially true in high-technology due to heavy market consolidation that continues to shape the market.  The silo mentality that’s inherent with traditional product management ultimately stifles an organization’s growth because the sheer number of competing priorities spreads most organizations too thin and prevents them from advancing their market position in any one area of competence.”

Traditional vs. Portfolio Product Management

In a traditional product management structure, products are largely managed as separate entities, with each motivated by product-specific goals.  The down-side of this structure is that it ultimately drives competition across product teams, despite the fact they target the same customers and are accountable to the same corporate goals.   Ultimately, traditional product management can give an organization many feature-rich products but no differentiating solutions that offer high-impact value to customers.    From the customer’s perspective, these organizations appear very fragmented because they’re developing, marketing and selling disparate products that offer only tactical benefits.

In a portfolio product management structure, organizations evaluate and prioritize various market segments for current and future growth potential and then focus on the segments that are most conducive to meeting corporate revenue and profitability goals considering the entire portfolio.  In a portfolio product management structure, high-value solutions are usually comprised of multiple integrated products or services where each plays a specific role in forming solutions that have exponentially higher value together than each has individually.   Collectively, those solutions address the strategic motivations of buyers in a more impactful manner and therefore have higher value to the market.

“The other equally if not more important factor influencing our makeover is the fact that clients have been telling us for several years that our approach is much closer to portfolio management than traditional product management.  It just makes good sense to orient our company toward customer-recognized strengths that offer significant value,” added Mansour.

Proficientz has completely updated its lineup of training programs to reflect its exclusive focus on product portfolio management and marketing and will also offer a Portfolio Management & Marketing Certification.  Highlights include the following practices that transcend all Proficientz training programs:


  • Instead of structuring product management and marketing teams that compete with one another to meet product specific goals, the Proficientz Framework emphasizes integrated teams with a single agenda where high-value, high-impact solutions that drive growth in key market segments take precedence over individual product enhancements.
  • Rather than analyzing markets for each product individually, the Proficientz Framework emphasizes comprehensive market evaluations for key market segments and uses them to determine the portfolio investment mix across all products.  These market evaluations have a dual purpose as they’re also instrumental in creating the organization’s strategic value messages for each market segment.
  • Rather than creating strategies and roadmaps for each product individually, the Proficientz Framework emphasizes one holistic market and portfolio strategy that’s aligned with the most lucrative market segments relative to the organization’s revenue and profitability goals.  Each product has a defined role in forming high-value solutions which eliminates competition for resources because priorities are determined at a strategic level.
  • Rather than creating business and market requirements for each product, the Proficientz Framework emphasizes business requirements that reflect the most critical needs for each market segment.  This approach makes it easier to determine if a single solution can satisfy all markets or if segment-specific capabilities are required.  Design and development efforts are still product specific but occur with much clearer purpose when the goal is a multi-product solution.
  • Usability is the new battleground for differentiation.  Instead of creating use cases and user stories for each product, the Proficientz Framework emphasizes more intimate knowledge of user activities to determine which product(s) create the most useful solutions to complex problems.
  • Rather than creating generic positioning for each product that ultimately results in feature wars with the competition, the Proficientz Framework emphasizes value propositions for a portfolio of solutions that communicate your strategic value to each market segment in their language.   It’s an easier story for sales people to tell and easier for buyers to understand.  Credibility ultimately wins!
  • Instead of reinventing the wheel to produce deliverables for each major rollout, the Proficientz tools and templates capture content throughout the process in formats that are ideal for downstream deliverables, knowledge transfer training and faster company readiness on all fronts.


Motivation for a New Name

When ZIGZAG Marketing was founded in 2001 product management was largely a marketing function and relatively simple product portfolios made it fashionable for product managers to “zigzag” their way through the corporate maze to get new product initiatives to market.  Over the past 10 years, B2B product management is no longer a marketing function in a large majority of organizations and the market landscape dictates more of a team approach to managing products.

Mansour explains, “given the industry landscape today, the marketing moniker is very outdated, and the ZIGZAG name no longer symbolizes our mission of creating market-driven organizations from the top down.”


About Proficientz

Proficientz helps B2B product and service organizations grow revenue and profitability faster with a portfolio management framework that eliminates product silos and helps companies deliver high-value solutions to their most lucrative markets to close the gap between corporate revenue and profitability goals and the management and marketing of their product portfolios.


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John Mansour