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Showing posts from September, 2007

Industry Experience: How Important Is It?

In the latest Pragmatic Market BlogFest, Steve Johnson wrote about the importance of domain expertise. Steve's two main points are: Developers need to understand the domain and not merely code to specs. Product managers need to understand technology I can't disagree with Steve on these points. However, more interesting to me is: How important is it that a product manager have prior knowledge and experience in the domain? I have written on this topic in the past. In fact, it was one of the first entries in this blog. Below are some more thoughts. Should a company hire a product manager with years of experience in, and knowledge of, the industry? How about a capable and experienced product manager with little or no prior domain knowledge? The key to understanding the importance of domain knowledge lies in recognizing a product manager's most important skill: learning about the market. Thoroughly understanding a market necessarily entails being intimately

The Big Brands Do It, Why Can't We?

Good marketing often contradicts intuitions and instincts . Those wishing to cling to their intuitions find solace in the fact that big companies are just as likely to make mistakes as little ones. Kimberly-Clark, a huge company and umbrella brand, chose "Huggies" as the name of a line of diapers. "Huggies" is a descriptive name in that it implies in a not-so-subtle way that it is comfortable and effective. (Similarly, Procter and Gamble sells the "Pampers" line of diapers.) Yet descriptive names generally don't make good brand names . I can hear it now: "If Kimberly-Clark's marketing department decided on a descriptive name, why shouldn't we?" I should point out that, aside from its descriptiveness, "Huggies" is actually a pretty good name. It is easy to pronounce, easy to spell, and slightly shocking - all attributes that foster brand recall and recognition. Plenty of products succeed despite a descriptive name.

eHealthInsurance.com

A few days ago, I received in U.S. Mail a notice from UniCare that the premiums on my health insurance were going up. Given that my health plan covers little and now is going to cost more than twice as much as it did four years ago, I decided to research other options. I originally signed up for my health insurance plan through eHealthInsurance.com, a helpful service that enabled me to browse and compare numerous plans from a number of different providers. At the site, you can specify various plan features (deductible, co-pay, etc.), view a list of plans that satisfy those parameters, and compare the plan details. It's a great concept. Unfortunately, it has nonetheless frustrated me. The reason is that the service focuses on the features of health insurance plans rather than addressing real-world scenarios. This morning, I went to eHealthInsurance.com to research alternatives to my existing plan. I brought up various plans but scratched my head when trying to determine w