Our Microwave died -so we turned to BestBuy.com & Target.com for help but instead of coming to the rescue, they just pissed us off with bad Websites that prevented us from buying from them.
Instead of Target and Best Buy leveraging their greatest assets – locations with easily accessible inventory, their Websites made it virtually impossible to find what’s actually available in your nearby locations.
Considering how frequently we use the microwave for reheating leftovers, ad defrosting dinner items, we needed a replacement ASAP – and we needed something that looked good and could fit into the cubby hole we’d built in the cabinet.
Given the urgency and the need for exact measurements this was a perfect opportunity to use the Web for some initial research and then purchase in store until we discovered yet another reason why the big box retailers are struggling.
Best Buy = Worst Experience: You can filter by brand and whether items are on sale, but you can’t filter by what’s actually in store. So in order to find which of the dozen or so microwaves out of the 126 listed is actually available locally, I need to click through to each individual microwave and search to see whether it’s available.
Target = Off Target: At least Target allows you to filter by in-store, but you have to drill into the individual item to find out if it’s at a nearby location. And of course while trying, I got an error 😦
Considering the billions Best Buy and Target have invested in real estate and inventory, they could at least invest a few million to make it easy for shoppers to find what they need at their nearby location instead.
Want to know why the RIM management team should be fired and BlackBerry has gone from cool to crap?
The green flashing light!
Anyone who’s owned a BlackBerry knows what I’m talking about. In the top right corner there exists a mysterious flashing light – sometimes it’s green; sometimes it’s red. What it does and why it’s flashing no one knows and no one cares as far as I can tell.
Instead, it just irritates! At night if I want to use the alarm function or want to leave my phone next to my bed I have to cover it with a shirt or something else so it doesn’t bother me. I finally managed to figure out how to turn off the green light but now an orange one appears…. sigh 😦
I’m sure I can find out how to turn that one off as well but my point here is: How many tens of millions of dollars has RIM wasted on a feature that adds limited to no value – or even negative value over the years?
Just because a feature may have made sense in version 1.0 doesn’t mean it makes sense in version 2.0! As a product manager you have to be ruthless about what features to include and which you exclude.
Products are just like art – whether music, writing or photography – what you exclude is just as important as what you include. There’s a classic scene from the Movie Amadeus where the king tells Mozart, “It was good there are just too many notes. Just cut a few and it will be perfect!”
Take that too heart! It will save you money from developing drivel that few people use and frustrates even more users. Even better, it will focus your efforts on polishing the key pieces your customers really care about.
Just imagine all the wasted engineering and design efforts that have gone into enabling the flashing lights. I can just imagine being in design reviews where they’re trying to increase their screen size but can’t because of the flashing light.
RIM wake up! Eliminate the flashing light and focus your efforts on what we really want: Touch screens, bigger screens and more apps! Until then I’ll wish I had an Android or iPhone.
Product managers are supposed to be the voice of the customer and the market, but in most companies that’s a lie. Why? Because a product manager by definition is first and foremost responsible for their product – which is inherently internally focused. As a result, when they look at the outside world it’s almost always through the lens of their specific product.
Instead of looking at how their product fits into the customers’ ecosystem, processes, etc… they look at how their customers fit into their product – and then can’t figure out why adoption rates are so low.
And since in larger organizations each PM typically looks at the world through their product silo, it’s difficult to figure out how each of the pieces fits together.
So what can organizations do?
Create market, customer, persona or process advocates
Organizations need customer or persona advocates that aren’t tied to a specific product but instead responsible for becoming the subject matter expert on the markets, customers, personas or processes served by the company.
In some companies the UX department handles this but oftentimes the UX group is more focused on the screen design usability without understanding the larger context.
By making individual PMs responsible for being customer advocates it should help force the product managers to be more customer centric and drive collaboration across the organization.
Map the customers’ customers journey
I’ve read a lot about customer journey mapping but for the most part it’s always been in the context of the customer’s journey with your company. For B2B companies, mapping the customers’ customers journey may be even more helpful as it forces you to understand what your customers’ processes are and how you potentially fit or don’t fit into their processes as your number one goal is to help your customers be more successful.
By mapping the customers’ customer journey you should be able to spot opportunities to develop new products or better position your existing products to meet your customers’ goals.
I’m a bilingual former reporter turned product manager and guerrilla marketer who thrives on developing and marketing new media, software and Internet initiatives.
In addition to my full time job working for a Fortune 100 company, I'm the founder of www.MyRepresentatives.com; your one stop shop for engaging with your political representatives online. Version 1.0 is live today in Shelby County TN.