During what I call the “black and white” days of the internet in 1995, when email was a green screen “app”, I presented a direct mail CEO with a business plan for direct marketing online. When he voiced his disbelief in the power of digital marketing, I walked him back to his office, installed the Mosaic browser, and stood behind him while he used the mouse to navigate a few sites I suggested. In about 10 minutes, he went into a trance of amazement at the data, the content and the interactivity. He went on to refocus the company on interactive media.
Had some great conversations with the workshop attendees on how PM teams are incorporating social media into their customer and market intelligence (including, but not limited to, requirements). Thanks to all who attended.
Interestingly, we spent a good deal of time talking about the type of questions people ask. In trying to make sense of both social media and PM deliverables, I made a distinction between problem-centric questions, which center on the customer, and product-centric questions, which (as the name implies) focus on the vendor's products and services.
In the technology industry, people are far more used to posing product-centric questions. Gradually, companies are learning the importance of the problem-related questions. However, it's easy to slip from one into the other. It reminds me of how I used to struggle with guitar fingering. As a novice player, I would concentrate for a while on keeping my fingers straight on the frets. Inevitably, as I started to think about other things (strumming, rhythm, etc.), I'd start to roll my fingers slightly to the side, which made it harder to hit the notes I was trying to reach.
For anyone interested in using social media as a resource for product requirements, persona development, use cases, and other customer insights, the workshop on this topic is scheduled for later this month.
The goal is to give you specific, practical guidance that you can use the day after the workshop. Therefore, I'm asking attendees to bring examples of their current challenges in gaining customer insights, from either a product management or product marketing perspective. We'll use those scenarios during some hands-on exercises.
Here's the link to the workshop, if you're interested. Space is limited, and based on the number of questions I get about this topic, it should be a lively session.