Weekend Reading

 Bridging the gap: How and why product management differs from company to company

Companies, like many in New York, that are introducing solutions to mature industries tend to be sales-driven, so product teams are informed by what customers will readily buy and are measured based on output and revenue. Companies, like many in the Bay Area, that are creating new categories are generally vision-driven, so product teams are more cross-functional and iterative, and are measured based on validated learnings and outcomes. The two models on each end of the spectrum manage risk differently and, with regard to startups, offer a varied range of results. Predicated on introducing solutions to previously unarticulated problems (e.g. Snapchat), Bay Area startups and product managers are tasked with launching moonshots. Failure is more frequent and expensive but success is exponential in size.
How Marketing can assist in Maximising Growth
Fortunately, there's a good rule of thumb called the "70-20-10 rule" that business leaders can use to address the current vs. future aspect of the resource allocation challenge. The 70-20-10 rule has been used for a variety of business purposes. For example, Google has reportedly used it to manage the innovation process, and Coca Cola has reportedly used a version of the rule to guide marketing investment decisions. The marketing version of the 70-20-10 rule says that about 70% of your marketing resources should be devoted to capabilities and programs with a proven track record of acceptable performance. These will include marketing channels, techniques, and technologies that your company is currently using successfully. The 70-20-10 rule does not mean that companies should simply "keep on doing what we're already doing." It means that marketers should evaluate how well their "bread and butter" programs are performing and continue to invest in those that are delivering acceptable results.
Why your customers want to buy is as important as what they want to buy
In complex, discretionary B2B buying environments it’s just as important - often more important - to understand why your prospective customer has embarked on their buying journey. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that no matter how perfect your salespeople’s understanding of their prospect’s needs is, and no matter how good a job your salespeople have done in influencing those needs in your favour, if you don’t understand why your customers are buying, you’re flying blind.
Replacing the Sales Funnel with the Sales Flywheel
One of my favorite business school professors used to say, “If you want to build a great company, your product has got to be ten times better than the competition.” Today, that advice feels out of date. If you want to build a great company in 2018, your customer experience has to be ten times lighter than the competition. It used to be what you sell that really matters, now it’s how you sell that really matters Unlike some changes in business philosophy, the flywheel is not an all-or-nothing proposition, Any tactical change to reduce friction, or organizational alignment of forces that optimize for customer delight, will have a measurable impact on customer experience. Early successes will breed increasing support for a full flywheel approach.

10 Commandments for Marketing and Product in a Software Startup Artificial Intelligence Strategy: 7