Monday, August 13, 2012

Product Management: Evaluate product as buyer would

As a product manager, I occasionally think about why I made a decision to buy something.  It helps me understand what buyer is going through when they make a purchase decision.  Idea is to get inside of buyer's mind so that you can overcome objections and respond with the most appropriate answer for each buyer.

When I look at my buying decisions, I consider following:

1. Figure out what it does.

2. Estimate how often I will be using it, and divide the price by frequency to get to per usage charge.

3. Can I live without it?  Do I need it now?

4. What do other people say about it?

5. Do the design and the brand represent me?

I could use this every morning.
After creating the list, it even surprised me to see that I look at total cost of ownership (#2) and emotional engagement (#5) before making purchase decision.  Reading other user's product review (#4) is something that I do regardless whether I'm buying a book or buying something online.

#1 is rarely a problem for a product that I'm familiar with.  But if I saw a new website for the first time, I want to know what the website does before I pay for anything.  And even after I figure out what it does, I go through mental checklist of whether it is something that I can substitute with existing tools and if it makes economical sense to buy it now (#3).

When I create a product, I have to overcome the same objections when buyers look at my product.  I have to make it clear that what my product does, how useful it will be on day-to-day basis, how much time it will save starting now, and what existing customers are saying about it.  Of course design and brand image must coincide with typical buyer's as well.

That's a lot of things to think about.  Each point deserves careful thinking on product manager and product marketer's part.

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