The fact that we are facing hyper-competition is well known. And so is the fact that the future will be more competitive than the past. Product development and introduction by companies is getting trickier by the day. Pricing, placements, timing, positioning are getting more complex as time passes-by.

Here are four gates or conditions that products need to pass in order to be successful in the market. While they seek to address some of the challenges product managers face, they are by no means comprehensive.

Relevance to a heterogeneous set of customers

The days of segmenting your customers, into three segments which are easy to manage and understand segments, are over. Today’s global markets present a very unique scenario wherein customers behave very differently wrt categories. For example, in developing countries mobile phone users spend upto 10% of their family income in the lower income groups, a little less than what they would spend on food or education. This thinking is counter-intuitive to marketers. The products we build need to address this extreme complexity of customers. There should be something for every class of customer in the product portfolio.

Flexibility in offerings
Making products desirable for consumers is crucial. One of the elements of this desirability is the ease of use because the offerings are inherently flexible. Flexibility could be wrt:

• Product forms
• Ingredients (or specifications)
• The way they work with complementary products
• Business models to engage with

Customers do want the flexibility to choose what they buy from you and ‘bundle’ it with other products. However, there is an equal desire that says “Hey Mr. Vendor, can you manage this piece for me completely so that I do not have to send my energies on this?” The products therefore should not require 17 other things to work properly for it to deliver the benefit optimally. Is this a challenge? Yes it most certainly is in a world where products tend to be less ‘complete’ owing to shorter development lifecycles. The beta version has become the norm which forces customers to spend significant time testing products before they buy them.

Decreasing involvement
Does your product gain attention from prospects and customers in an attention-deficit world? Increased affluence, shorter buying cycles, increased choices and competition – all have reduced the involvement levels of customers tremendously.

The article is republished with permission.


Image Courtsey: [ Stuart Miles ]/



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