Monday, August 31, 2009

Product Differetiation, why it matters, part II

In my last blog I stated that , "differentiation is at the crux of an effective go to market strategy".

Why? First, let's define product differentiation.

Product differentiation is the messaging that communicates
why your product is better than the competition at delivering
a set of business benefits that matter to a set of buyers

So, there's a definition. Been too too busy doing to write...But please note the absence of the word "Feature" or "feature set" in this definition. More to come on the roles of features in product differentiation next time...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

PDP™, More to Come, and why it matters

Thanks for the positive feedback on Product Differentiation Pressure™, or PDP™. PDP is a concept which I've been working on for a while, and there is much more to come. Before I dive deeper into the symptoms of poor PDP, I wanted to talk about why this is so important.

I am a classically trained technology marketer. I crossed the chasm and grew up in the tornado. I've got a lot of respect for the traditional view of whole product from Geoffry Moore, and positioning ala Reis and Trout, and the good old 3 Ps and 4 Cs that I learned in Marketing 101. In fact all of these are tools to pull out and use with success.

Why then focus on product differentiation, especially at a time where all the experts say differentiation is not substainable?

Well, to me, differentiation is at the crux of an effective go to market strategy. That's a bold statement, so I guess I better explain why. But the kids are roused now and blogging time is over for this morning...time to cook breakfast...more to come later...


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Diagnosis - Poor Product Differentiation, How to Spot a Silent Killer!

So many products, product lines, and even companies suffer from poor differentiation and don't even know it. Poor differentiation is like high blood pressure, it kills silently and slowly. Products don't maintain price points, it's hard to scale sales, etc. If only we had a simple cuff to put on our arm to measure our "Product Differentiation Pressure™." Well, until then, here's a simple list of symptoms of this silent killer...

  • Selling on price not value
  • Difficult to replicate sales success across reps or channel partners
  • Win rate below achievable (as benchmarked by best reps)
  • Difficult to partner (long initial sales cycle or stuck with techies)
  • Selling lower in org than desired
  • Stagnant marketing (conversion rates, content, etc…)
  • Lack of breakthrough beyond tech evaluators/cognoscenti
  • Sub-optimal targeting
  • Feature and/or generic focused discussion
  • Product roadmap not “focused”, spread like “peanut butter”
  • Product requests accepted that don’t seem to fit with agreed priorities
  • Lack of real or perceived strategic “vision” in roadmap
Ask yourself honestly if these symptoms reflect your product or company. If you answer yes to more than a few, you've got a low Product Differentiation Pressure™ or PDP™, and unlike blood pressure, where high kills, low PDP is the killer here.

In my next blog, we will look at each of these symptoms in a bit more depth...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SWATing Away at Marketing Plans

It's been quite a while since I blogged about anything even somewhat substantial. I am heads down on my project with Nimsoft. It is exciting and challenging, and I am loving it. We've built a very aggressive launch plan, and are now in deliverables execution mode. This is the grind part of the project, and every inch of progress is hard work. The team here is great and we are doing a lot of good work together.

I just put together a nice summary preso of the Secure Computing SWAT initiative work we did on Web2.0 threat protection in the late 2007- end of 2008 timeframe. It was probably one of the most successful campaigns that I've worked on end to end. This was really successful on a lot of levels, and is a model that I am using today for the current project we are doing. If our Nimsoft "Project Owen" is half as successful, than we hit a homerun at Nimsoft.

As I work on solidifying the KJR Assoc consulting business, the SWAT case study is a great template and service offering case study. It's all coming together...Looking forward to chatting with several friends on this topic over the next weeks, squeezing this in between presentation, whitepaper, website, demo, and other Owen deliverables...

Head back down now...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Clouds here, clouds there, macrotrends, opptys?

It seems to me that Cloud computing is everywhere, as I've pointed out in a previous post. I would like to point out 3 macro trends that get are related, but get a bit less attention

Trend 1: The Merging of Enterprise and Service Provider: For years, it's been talked about, but virtualization and "cloud" will accelerate this even more. The compute "grid" is pretty dang agnostic about location, Service providers will need to be more enterprisey and visa versa.

Trend 2: Disambiguation of terms: Cloud means so many things to so many it is almost meaningless. It's much more interesting to talk about PaaS or ITaaS or SaaS and their interrelations than throw out the "cloud" word willy nilly, though even these terms need better definition.

Trend 3: Federation will be the next hot space. Whether federation of resources across hybrid space or federation of security or federation of x, I predict that for the "cloud" to really accelerate, we must lower the friction of federation across just about all the core IT functions. Some bigger vendors are missing this as Billy Marshall points out here...

We are entering the next generation of IT infrastructure and we get to solve all of the old management problems over again, yeah for us!!!!