What buyers really want; meet me in Minneapolis and Chicago; product roadmap webinar

Understanding what buyers really want
You’ve probably heard the saying, “No one wants a drill, they want a hole in the wall.” The idea behind this quote is that what customers say they want – a drill – is just a means to the end; namely, a hole in the wall. However, as I argue in my latest post on the SiriusDecisions blog, buyers really don’t want a hole in the wall — that hole is just a means to an end. Even in b-to-b markets, marketers and product managers need to meet buyer’s personal emotional needs as well as their business-related rational ones. Read the full post for more: What B-to-B Buyers Really Want

What’s the Best Way to Announce a Price Increase?
Also over on the SiriusDecisions blog, my colleague Lisa Singer tackles the fun subject of price increases. Pretty much every product or solution has to deal with it at some point, and there are ways to do it well and do it poorly. Often, companies stumble over the communication around a price increase — surprising customers with it, being accused of trying to sneak it in, not providing rationalization. Lisa provides a straightforward and practical set of guidelines for the best way to announce a price increase.

Meet me in Minneapolis and Chicago
I’m excited to announce some upcoming events in Minneapolis and Chicago in late February where Lisa and I will be presenting and leading discussion on product management best practices — and you’re invited. (If you like what Lisa and I blog about, you’ll love the live show.)

Product planning and innovation can be expensive, taking several months — if not years — before adding to a company’s bottom line. Similarly, the maintenance of a profitable portfolio of products has become increasingly important to organizations where there is stiff competition for sales and marketing dollars. Increasingly, b-to-b product managers and marketers are taking a detailed look at the success of new product introductions, seeking frameworks and decisionmaking criteria to enhance new product success in the market.

In complimentary half-day advisory forums in Minneapolis (Tuesday, February 26, 2013) and Chicago (Thursday, February 28, 2013) where we’ll share research and lead discussion on our best-in-class framework which is designed to help you optimize a customer-centric innovation and go-to-market business process for new product success.

These forums are designed for business-to-business product management and product marketing leaders. Seating is limited so learn more about Leveraging the SiriusDecisions PMM Model to Drive Customer-Centric Innovation and register today for your seat at the Minneapolis event or the Chicago event.

Upcoming webcasts: Best Practices in Product Roadmaps; B-to-B Personas and Buying Cycles
If you can’t make it to Minneapolis or Chicago, don’t worry — we’ve got some webcasts coming up which are open to all as well.

On Thursday, February 21, I’ll be presenting Best Practices in Product Roadmaps. Roadmapping is always a hot topic, though it seems like recently it’s been getting more attention. My blog post on Three Problems on Product Roadmaps generated a bunch of comments and got a ton of traffic — and roadmaps have been the subject of other recent posts on other blogs as well. I’ve been talking with a lot of product managers about the struggles they have with roadmaps — the challenges in creating, documenting, and sharing them effectively. Through our interactions with clients and other research, we’ve uncovered some key best practices to make roadmaps effective, including how to develop roadmaps which can align stakeholders behind a shared strategy and vision; how to use roadmaps to build support from senior management; and how to document and communicate your roadmap so as not to set unrealistic expectations (especially among your sales team, channel partners, and customers).

So, if this sounds of interest, make sure to sign up for the Best Practices in Product Roadmaps webinar on Thursday, February 21, 2013.

And, the day prior, my colleagues Marisa Kopec and Pat McAnally will be presenting a webcast on B-to-B Personas and Buying Cycles. While the traditional type of persona exercise works for consumer-based marketing, advertising and Web design, much of its content isn’t relevant to understanding b-to-b buyers. In b-to-b, where buying behavior is phased (buying cycles), highly complex and inclusive of multiple individuals with different requirements (buyer roles), what matters are the key attributes required to inform marketers, sales and product management on what b-to-b personas need to facilitate their buying process.

The webcast will cover how b-to-b personas are an important part of market / product definition and positioning/messaging; a template for defining a b-to-b persona and the key attributes that must be identified to build them effectively; examples of best-in-class personas and actionable guidance for creating your own personas. Learn more and sign up for the B-to-B Personas and Buying Cycles webinar on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

What’s hot on Twitter
Here are a few of my tweets which have generated the most interest over the past few weeks; to get these in real-time, follow me at @jefflash: