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My product management toolkit (11): assessing the market

17 Jun

As a product person it’s extremely important to keep a finger on the market pulse at all times. It can be very easy to get locked into a tunnel vision where you’re so focused on developing your product that you lose sight of market needs or what your competition are doing.

Let’s be clear: this doesn’t mean that your product or company has to become ‘me too’, blindly following what the competition is doing. Equally, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t develop a feature if another company has already done it. Understanding your competitive landscape and your positioning in it urges you to constantly reflect on positioning, user needs, customer segments and differentiators.

Tool 11 – Assessing the market

As with anything, there are a number of ways to look at the market your company or product operates in. I’m personally not wedded to a single technique; whatever approach or visualisation gives you the best picture of your market and the players – competitors or customers – in it. As part of my toolkit, there are a number of simple techniques I often use to paint this picture: the KANO model, the Business Model Canvas and the Value Proposition.

KANO – Distinguishing between “Basic needs” and “Delighters”

Kano_model_showing_transition_over_time

Taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kano_model

I find the KANO model a great way to look at the market through the lens of a customer. Which needs are considered to be “basic needs” and why? What are the “delighters” that will give your product an edge? It’s fairly easy to learn from your (target) customers about where they perceive your product or features to sit and learn how this positioning compares to your competitors.

Business Model Canvas

the-business-model-canvas-shadow-hero

Taken from: http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas/bmc

Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas lets you look at your product more holistically, taking into account important factors such as revenue streams and customer segments. I’ve often used the Business Model Canvas as a starting point for a group exercise where we filled in the canvas together or where I provided the group with ‘my canvas’ and asked them to critique.

Value Proposition Canvas

value-proposition-canvas-explained-5-638

Taken from: http://www.slideshare.net/juliusparrisius/value-proposition-canvas-explained

I see Alex Osterwalder’s Value Proposition Canvas as a great extension of the Business Model Canvas, the empathy map and the jobs-to-be-done framework. It’s a really useful tool for delving into the (assumed) problems that you’re looking to solve through your product or service, understanding the value you’re creating for your customers.

Related links for further learning:

  1. http://www.kanomodel.com/
  2. http://www.mindtheproduct.com/2015/09/video-building-winning-product-strategy-kano-model-jared-spool/
  3. http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas/bmc
  4. https://strategyzer.com/books/value-proposition-design
  5. http://businessmodelalchemist.com/blog/2012/08/achieve-product-market-fit-with-our-brand-new-value-proposition-designer.html

 

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