Get the right kind of publicity

If you want to be a bad product manager, do anything you can to get publicity. It’s a crowded marketplace, and you need to “build buzz” and “get eyeballs.” Do anything you can to get attention, even wacky stunts that aren’t really tied to your product. Sure, it may not be too relevant to your business, but it will get PR, right? If you’re trying to drive traffic to your web site, use all the tactics you can to get visitors. Even if most of the visitors not necessarily exclusively in your target market, some of them are bound to be possible customers.

If you want to be a good product manager, focus on getting the right kind of publicity. Often with marketing and public relations, people get caught up in what seem to be good attention-grabbing ideas, not realizing that they are not tied to specific goals or that some small short-term benefits will be outweighed by long-term repercussions. Too frequently focus is on the idea rather than the objective. Justification is provided because something is possible, without thought to whether it is the right thing to do.

At ack/nak, Bob Corrigan gives his take on the old adage that there is no such thing as bad PR, commenting that

there is bad PR, especially if you’re engineering that bad PR. … In the execution of public relations that we proud few, we product managers, must always be diligent. Just because something “can” be done certainly does not mean that it “should” be done.

Before you dive head-first into your next marketing initiative, think about whether it is something that “should” be done. Does it fit with your brand image? Will it reinforce your long-term marketing strategy? Is it likely to influence the key performance indicators and conversions in which you are most interested? Working through these questions with your marketing colleagues and other stakeholders will ensure you are focusing your efforts on the best promotional tactics.