Mktg SIG: Product Strategy in a Slow Economy
Fritz Mueller, Principal - Velocity Product Management
For many companies selling technology products, the worst is over and it is now time to rebuild. Unfortunately, IT spending is flat, there are too many competitors, and internal plans for moving forward don't inspire anyone. How do you come up with a strategy that is more just than a survival plan?
Companies suffering from sluggish sales know that too few customers want the products that are being offered, but all too often, there is an underlying cause that goes unrecognized: the product strategy. Problems with sales and revenues can often be traced to poorly formed, incoherent, or poorly targeted product strategies. What many people think of as product strategies are really just product plans, and that's where the trouble starts. Product plans have to be based on sound product strategies that match solutions to real customer needs. Without sound strategies, the plans can result in well-developed products that are completely off-target for the actual market.
Fixing a product strategy can be challenging, because it requires the company to focus on understanding and fixing what is really broken, not just on changing what everyone already knows how to change. Often, the best ideas for new strategies come not from senior management, but from product managers, sales reps, service technicians, and others outside the boardroom. Many people within a company have the skills and information needed to formulate a new plan and get the company back on a healthy track; those who have the courage and initiative to develop and drive their plans are frequently rewarded with promotions.
In this session you will learn:
- the four elements of a product strategy
- how product strategy differs today versus three years ago
- how the product strategy relates to other elements of an overall corporate strategy
- how to identify the weaknesses in your company's product strategy
- how to create a new product strategy
- examples of brilliant successes companies achieved when they changed their product strategy
You'll come away with ideas for how to strengthen your company's strategy and advance your own career in the process.
About the Presenter
Fritz Mueller - Velocity Product Management
Fritz Mueller is principal of Velocity Product Management, a consulting company serving networking and Internet industries. Fritz has over 15 years of technical and product management expertise in networking products and services.
As Senior Director of Product Management at Keynote Systems, Fritz was in charge of defining the company's product strategy. He helped develop one of the market's first applications based on web services, which allowed Keynote to sell its website performance measurement service in an efficient, easy-to-use form. The resulting surge in sales earned Keynote the leading position in website performance measurement, and led to the company's IPO in 2000.
Prior to Keynote, Fritz served as Product Line Manager for core networking software products at NetManage, the leading supplier of TCP/IP application software for PCs. By combining innovative marketing and a product strategy that emphasized usability rather than complex features, Fritz helped NetManage achieve top marks from Business Week for sales and earnings growth in 1994, 1995, and 1996.
Before NetManage, Fritz served as Product Manager at Telebit for their line of IP routers, the industry's first dial-up routers used to offer home Internet access.
Fritz holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Mitchell Park Community Center
3800 Middlefield Road
(between Meadow Drive and Charleston Road)
Palo Alto, CA
7:00-7:20pm announcements and introductions
7:20-8:30pm presentation and discussion
$15 at the door for non-SDForum Members
No charge for SDForum members
Free to TiE members during the months of Nov/Dec.
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