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Collaborative Conversations: Using social media in product management


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Social media presents many opportunities and challenges for product managers.

In this presentation brainmates outlines how how social media is being used by to help define, develop, deploy and maintain products and services.

Published in: Business

Collaborative Conversations: Using social media in product management

  1. 1. Collaborative conversations Using social media in product management Page no. white paper presentation | August 2010
  2. 2. Overview Paul Alex Gray, Senior Consultant at brainmates has published a white paper on a topic that is highly relevant to product managers.  Overview of social media  Four functional applications of social media within product management  Three case studies representing different applications  The opportunities and challenges for product managers  An action plan to begin using social media in your role To get your free copy of the white paper please visit or email
  3. 3. What is social media?
  4. 4. Social Media is… Conversations across boundaries Sharing of ideas and opinions Instantly accessible and spread virally Permanent Owned by the audience Facilitated through technology 4
  5. 5. “Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build 5 relationships.” David Alston
  6. 6. Old world: I speak, you listen
  7. 7. New world: Many conversations
  8. 8. Like it or not… Everyone’s talking about your product 8 8
  9. 9. Social media is part of modern life 5 of the global top 10 sites are social media (Facebook, Youtube, Wikipedia, Blogger, Twitter) source: May 2010 B2B and B2C marketers are increasing spend on social media initiatives faster than any other category. It will account for almost 18% of marketing budgets by 2014 source: CMO Survey, American Marketing Association Feb 2010 Every negative comment shared via social media reaches 30 other people Source: Convergys Corp, Nov 2009 85% of social media users believe a company should interact with customers via a social media presence Source: Cone Business in Social Media Study 2008 9
  10. 10. Social media implications for product managers 10
  11. 11. “Product managers must join online conversations to understand what customers like, what they don’t like, what they want and how they want it. This insight helps in the design, development and deployment of products that are relevant, compelling and competitive.” Paul Alex Gray, brainmates 11
  12. 12. Applications for product managers Product managers define, develop, deploy and maintain products that: 1. Deliver more value than the competition 2. Create a sustainable competitive difference 3. Generate business benefit to the organisation “Now we’ve got social media that allows both B2B and B2C product professionals to engage in dialogue with individual customers and users to give them a much deeper, more nuanced understanding of the products and services being offered and in turn gain a deeper understanding of what customers like and dislike about the offerings” April Dunford, founder and principal consultant at Rocket Launch Marketing 12
  13. 13. Functional applications of social media brainmates has conducted research which suggests product managers use social media in four ways: Download the white paper to learn more about the four functional applications. Visit or email 13
  14. 14. Monitoring & Listening 67% of product managers and marketers are already using monitoring tools such as Google Alerts or Backtweets to find references to their products or services and any references related to their market, customer segments or competitors. As this function was so common, many expected to do about the same although those yet to start using social media stated that this would be their stepping stone. No, 33% 14
  15. 15. Promoting and sharing 66% of product managers and marketers use social media tools to promote and share information about their products. Most expected to significantly increase this in the next twelve months, mostly through major services such as Twitter, facebook and RSS feeds although some individuals are using niche networks or developing their own proprietary social media tools. 15
  16. 16. Gathering feedback Only 29% of product managers and marketers report that they use social media tools such as Uservoice or Crowdsound to gather feedback. The expectation was that this would significantly increase in the next twelve months as organisations became more receptive to accepting feedback and input in product development cycles and for existing products. 16
  17. 17. Collaboration 65% of product managers and marketers reported that they used social media tools such as Wikis, LinkedIn Answers or Google Wave to collaborate with others. The view was that this would also increase with a major focus being on involving external parties such as suppliers, partners and customers. 17
  18. 18. Social media in action The white paper provides detailed summary of three case studies in which social media has supported product development and ongoing product management and marketing efforts. “As a new business with limited marketing funds, Shoes of Prey had to invest wisely to not only build brand awareness but also create demand for the product. From day one we nurtured relationships with customers via social networking.” Michael Fox, Director of Operations and Co-founder “The customers determine our product roadmap. They tell us which features they need most and provide feedback on all our ideas and developments. It’s a collaborative effort that helps us ensure we delivery quality and value to our customers” Nicholas Muldoon, Technical Product Manager “Good social media focuses on what can be provided beyond the core product. It’s about giving something back to others. Engaging and inspiring your fans and customers, your partners and suppliers and fellow producers” Jared Gulian, Founder Download the white paper to read the full case studies. Visit or email 18
  19. 19. BRAINMATES MODEL Applying social media in product management 19
  20. 20. Supporting the product management process Effective product management requires practitioners to solve lucrative customer problems that drive significant value for businesses over a period of time. The brainmates Product Delivery Cycle provides a structure that outlines the activities and deliverables used in creating profitable products. Social media can be used at multiple stages to support the definition, development, deployment and maintenance of products 20
  21. 21. Stage 1 - Idea Key stage actions & deliverables • Ideation and innovation workshops • Interviews and discussions with customers • Market analysis including foreign markets • Market opportunity discussion report Social media opportunities • Listen out for customer demands • Investigate market problems • Ask market for feedback on ideas and concepts Social media challenges • Most vocal customers may not be representative of your audience • Finding pertinent content amongst high volume of conversation data • Balancing espoused market requirements with commercial constraints 21
  22. 22. Stage 2 – Product Strategy Key stage actions & deliverables • Investigate concept and contrast market problems against organisational capabilities and competitive threats • Conduct due diligence to determine feasibility • Develop competitive analysis, product comparisons and business case Social media opportunities • Incorporate internal and external input and feedback on ideas • Develop more rigid business case and platform pre-testing Social media challenges • Opening up to market presents competitive risks • Challenging established processes and politics can distract stakeholders 22
  23. 23. Stage 3 – Product Planning Key stage actions & deliverables • Identity and understand customers and articulate market problem • Develop market segmentation and targeting, personas, use cases and requirements documents Social media opportunities • Validate assumptions and unearth new facets about market problems • Develop more realistic personas • Tap into customers, community, partners and others for early-stage feedback Social media challenges • Involving more stakeholders adds time and cost pressures • Can create expectations that all proposed ideas will end up in final product leading to potential let-downs
  24. 24. Stage 4 – Product Definition Key stage actions & deliverables • Articulate solution that will solve market problem and satisfy needs/wants • Provide product requirements for development and other teams to build and deliver prototype and solution Social media opportunities • Validate features and benefits via internal and external stakeholder reviews • Prioritise elements on product roadmap • Provide guidance for internal colleagues who work on subsequent stages Social media challenges • Additional inputs can impact timeframe and cost of product definition and development • Focusing on ‘moving targets’ can distract team • Finding balance between market requirements and commercial feasibility
  25. 25. Stage 5 – Launch Planning Key stage actions & deliverables • Prepare customer facing messaging and ready teams for launch and ongoing support • Develop value proposition, sales collateral, marketing launch plans Social media opportunities • Test marketing messages and ideas with evangelists and fans • Compare with competitive offerings and position your product on its strongest points • Develop pre-awareness and excitement in market Social media challenges • Getting messages to your target audience via the right social media channel(s) can be complex • Pre-awareness can provide competitors with insight to your product and plans
  26. 26. Stage 6 - Launch Key stage actions & deliverables • Coordinate internal and external teams • Manage product launch, maintain velocity and act on feedback quickly Social media opportunities • Maximise awareness within target audience and create buzz • Tap into tools to spread word via conversations and engagement with customers • Immediately capture and act upon feedback Social media challenges • Overly ‘selling’ a product via social media channels can lead to backlash • Not sticking to promises or assumptions by customers can lead to disappointment • Products that fail to meet customer requirements will be mercilessly grilled
  27. 27. Stage 7 – Day-to-Day Product Management Key stage actions & deliverables • Continue to refine and improve product • Assist marketing, support, sales and other teams • Provide in-life product reports, updates to roadmap and relevant collateral Social media opportunities • Engage customers and transform them into evangelists • Alert customers of new features • Listen to what people say about your product and take necessary action Social media challenges • Additional time and effort required to stay across social media • In certain segments or industries, customers may still not be that ‘connected’ into social media • More responsibility and pressure for busy product management teams 27
  28. 28. There are thousands of social media tools 28
  29. 29. Choosing your tools Focus on what you’re trying to do first. Then select the appropriate tools. Gather feedback Monitor & Listen Share & promote Collaborate 29
  30. 30. Starting your social media journey 30
  31. 31. Social media action plan Product managers should follow this model to integrate social media within their existing job functions and responsibilities 31
  32. 32. Watch & Learn Find the spaces where your customers, competitors, partners, fans and critics are talking. Listen to these conversations. Set up monitoring tools such as Google Alerts, RSS Feeds and Collecta to monitor references about your product and market Allocate time each day to learn more about how social media tools work and think how they can relate back to your strategic and tactical product management responsibilities 32
  33. 33. Talk & Listen Try out relevant social media tools. Be cautious and quiet until you feel confident. Consider using tools personally before professionally. Join the conversation by registering with relevant tools and communities. Provide comments when you can add value to the conversation. Don’t ‘sell’ your product. Activate your professional accounts and provide useful information. Feel free to let the world know you’re learning as you go. Honesty is greatly appreciated. 33
  34. 34. Share & Engage Start engaging others on a regular basis. Answer questions when asked. Share ideas, opinions and comments across all relevant social media tools. Ask customers for their opinion. Invite them to share openly and honestly with you. Accept what they say and act on it. Apply more functional goals such as testing concepts, announcing product updates and providing additional useful resources. Introduce other members of your team and organisation to these tools and help to educate them. 34
  35. 35. Facilitate & Encourage Develop thought leadership around your product or service Go out of your way to provide value to customers and the broader community. Look for internal and external opportunities to use social media in other business functions such as customer service, operations, crisis management and community engagement. Share and help others grow. You’ll learn more and feel good too! 35
  36. 36. Remember – it’s not about tools and technology 36
  37. 37. It’s about listening, connecting and sharing 37
  38. 38. Conclusions The collaborative conversations of social media bring new opportunities for product managers to enhance customer knowledge and create more compelling products. The changing nature of buyer-seller relationships means customers are more empowered and interact with each other using a range of tools. Product managers must join online conversations to remain aware of evolving customer problems, needs and wants and to continue to define, develop, deploy and maintain products that satisfy customers. 38
  39. 39. Request the white paper The full white paper is available for free. • Visit • Email
  40. 40. Product innovation and design. brainmates leads companies to define, develop and deploy customer-centric products and services. Web: Email: Twitter: Page no. Phone: +61 (0)2 9232 8147