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Excellent reference for Product Managers

Transcript of The product manager's handbook the complete product ma (1)

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  • ProductManagersHandbookThe Complete ProductManagement Resource

    second edition

    T H E

    Linda Gorchels

    NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group

    NTC Business Books

  • Copyright 2000 by Linda Gorchels. All rights reserved. Manufactured in the United States ofAmerica. Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publicationmay be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrievalsystem, without the prior written permission of the publisher.


    The material in this eBook also appears in the print version of this title: 0-658-00135-3.

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    DOI: 10.1036/007138989X

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  • Preface vAcknowledgments ix

    Part I The Role and Operation of ProductManagement 1

    1 The New Product Management 52 Introducing Product Management and Managing

    Product Managers 173 The Cross-Functional Role of Product Managers 294 Product 51

    Part II Planning Skills for Product Managers 65

    5 The Product Marketing Planning Process 696 Customer Value Management 897 The Annual Product Plan 103

    Part III Product Skills 129

    8 Evaluating the Product Portfolio 1339 Strategic Product Planning 145

    10 New Products: Proposal, Development, and Launch 15511 The Financial Side of Product Management 191

    Part IV Functional Skills 199

    12 Pricing Products and Services 20313 The Product Manager as Marketing Manager 22114 Product Management: The Final Frontier? 239

    Appendix: Sample Job Descriptions 253Endnotes 269Glossary 275Index 281


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  • v

    Back to the Future

    The changes I have observed in business have been dramatic since thefirst edition of my book was published. The Internet was a fledglingconcept at that time and now it has become a fairly standard part ofbusiness. Although globalization was a growing phenomenon prior tomy first edition, it has also escalated in importance.

    On the other hand, there have been some constants. Through allthe turbulence, there remains a need for entrepreneurial spirit, for anability to work with and through other people, and for a clear andfocused direction. These are the characteristics of a product manageracting as the general manager of a virtual company.

    Product management has long been viewed as one of the moreeffective organizational forms for multiproduct firms. The advantagesare numerous and frequently documented. First, it provides a dedicatedchampion for a product, brand, or service. Second, a healthy internalcompetitive environment can be created. Third, by championing anumber of offerings, a firm can more quickly respond to shifting cus-tomer loyalties. And, finally, an opportunity is provided to readilyassess candidates for promotion to higher management levels.


  • Nevertheless, the effectiveness of product management is contin-gent upon several factors. If we expect product managers to trulychampion brands, they must be engaged in both day-to-day decisionissues and in developing the strategic future paths of their offerings.Although some companies have created a hierarchical product man-agement structure to do this, effective product management in thefuture will result from a horizontal decision-making process. Productmanagers will play a major role in most product-related decisions,while relying on specialists to carry out many of those decisions. Theemphasis will be on matching customer needs with corporate capabil-ities through the development of specific products and services.

    Now, to introduce the second edition, Id like to use the contem-porary format (often used in website design) of frequently asked ques-tions (FAQs).

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is a product manager?

    A product manager is typically a middle manager charged with man-aging and marketing existing products (and developing new products)for a given product line, brand, or service. Other job titles could includebrand manager, industry manager, or customer segment manager.(Note that the term product will refer to both products and services.)

    What types of companies use product managers?

    Product managers are used in all types of companies from consumerpackaged goods to services (such as financial institutions) to industrialcompanies (such as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), com-ponent suppliers, and after-market firms) to nonprofit organizations(such as hospitals).

    Whats the difference between product management andproduct development?

    Product management is the holistic job of product managers, includ-ing planning, forecasting, and marketing products or services. Productdevelopment is a corporate process of designing and commercializingnew products. This book focuses on product management.

    vi The Product Managers Handbook

  • Who should read this book?

    This book is targeted most directly at existing product managers andcustomer segment managers (primarily in nontraditional roles beyondconsumer packaged goods). However, it has been used effectively bypeople in all types of companies and industries. Many new productmanagers and directors or vice presidents of product management ormarketing have found it valuable as well.

    What will I learn by reading this book?

    Youll learn about different approaches to product management fromdifferent types of organizations, as well as ideas for getting work donethrough other functional areas. Youll learn how to develop annualmarketing plans for your products and services, with a special empha-sis on enhancing customer loyalty and profitability. Youll learn how tostrategically evaluate your product portfolio, walk through a typicalcorporate development process, and prepare for effective launch strate-gies. And finally, youll learn various ways to add perceived value bothto your product and to your effectiveness as a product manger.

    How will I learn these skills?

    Several techniques have been used to help you in the learning process:(1) real-world cases showing product management in action, (2) hands-on worksheets for the planning process, and (3) checklists at the endof each chapter for evaluating progress at every critical stage. In addi-tion, this edition has new chapters on the impact of technology onproduct managers (Chapter 4), customer value management (Chapter6), and the financial side of product management (Chapter 11).

    What feedback did you receive on the first edition?

    A review published in the July 1997 issue of the Journal of ProductInnovation Management stated

    This book is a handy broad-based reference guide describing allaspects of the product management function and relating them to thecontemporary and turbulent business climate. . . . It provides a real-istic overview of the many roles product managers play and it exam-ines, in an organized fashion, a variety of management tools whichmay be employed to maximize the value of the product manager.