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Showing posts from April, 2008

Focus vs. Innovation?

Idris Mootee recently blogged a response to an AdAge article (paid subscription required) by Al Ries. Here are some excerpts from the Ries article: "What makes a powerful automobile brand today is not innovation, but a narrow focus on an attribute or a segment of the market." "Innovations outside of a brand’s core position can undermine a brand." "Most brands don't need innovations; they need focus. They need to figure out what they stand for and then what they need to sacrifice to get there." Yep, sounds like vintage Ries. But Mootee disagrees: Mr. Ries is so wrong on this one. Mootee counters: What the automobile industry needs today is NOT a narrow focus or an attribute or another brand. They have been doing that for decades and look at Detroit today. Really? When I ponder the Detroit automobile industry, I think "scattered", not "focused". This counterexample from Mootee is not convincing. As a matter of fact, it tends to su

Enable Your Product Manager to Be Strategic

Pragmatic Marketing's Steve Johnson has written an e-book, The Strategic Role of Product Management . In it, Steve argues that strong product management is key to the success of a company when it is strategic and focuses on identifying and solving market problems. A key graph from the book is: Increasingly we see companies creating a VP of Product Management, a department at the same level in the company as the other major departments. This VP focuses the product management group on the business of the product. The product management group interviews existing and potential customers, articulates and quantifies market problems in the business case and market requirements, defines standard procedures for product delivery and launch, supports the creation of collateral and sales tools by Marketing Communications, and trains the sales teams on the market and product. Product Management looks at the needs of the entire business and the entire market. What can you, as a corporate execu