“It’s the job of sales”, “It’s the job of marketing” I hear you say. But it isn’t necessarily sales, with a laser-like focus on their latest prospects and their own commission plan. And, it isn’t necessarily marketing, preoccupied with brand, advertising and collateral.

It’s the person who has made the effort to talk directly to a number of customers, get input from the sales teams and review the latest research from marketing to form a broad and balanced view of the whole market.

Working in product management or product marketing, it’s difficult to see why this isn’t part of your role … but is it something you’ve actively embraced?

“But I’m too busy!” I hear you cry… maybe we can help.

You can see that the average product manager spends 13% of their time covering for other people and 24% working in areas for which their responsibility is unclear (Source: Product Focus Survey 2009/10). If you can focus some of your effort ensuring others pick up their responsibilities you might be able to free up some of your time to work on important areas such as this.

It’s still a tough market for most of us. The person who has spent time talking to customers and forming a balanced view of the market is more credible and influential than the guy who just bangs the table loudly.

Having strong customer insights provides a solid foundation in your role and offers some personal protection if redundancies strike. The person who can say ‘I know what the market wants’ is in a very powerful position.

Andrew Dickenson
Director, Product Focus


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