Recently, I switched jobs. As a marketer, I was faced with the task of preparing items for my successor while concurrently planning my own agenda as someone’s successor.
As I thought about the quandaries faced by both myself and my successor — how to get up to speed and synthesize data to market an unfamiliar product — I realized that essentially this daunting chore comes down to forging strong relationships with two separate but equally important groups of co-workers.
In a recent post, I mentioned a quote that cited essential pieces of knowledge that all marketers need to create a truly product-centric marketing program — information on the products and the customers. The following two groups of people can help you get both.
The people who create your product give you invaluable insight on many of the questions that you need answers to. This product had to be developed for a reason. These are the people to ask. What’s different about the way we make our widget? Is there a secret sauce? It will soon be your job to communicate all of these ideas to the marketplace. You need to soak up as much information from this group as possible.
I lump these two groups into one super group because titles and org charts aside, basically what I’m saying here is that the second group is the staff on the front lines with your customers. The yin to product development’s yang, these individuals have a unique understanding for why your customers need your product.
And yet it goes beyond that. They know about the market’s values too. They know they don’t just want a better widget. They want a better widget so they can make their lives or the life of their business better. Your front line staff is key to helping you translate the product’s features into a compelling solution that will appeal to your market.
The Point? The whole ‘2 groups of people’ idea initially struck me as a big ‘duh’ but the more I thought about it, the more imperative it became to concretize this concept. Plus, after you mentally label these co-workers as a resource, you then prime your brain to catalog each encounter with these invaluable individuals as an important experience.