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Product Management Course for all aspirants transitioning into the most in-demand role as a product manager.

All the strategic concepts that will shape your attitude and mindset.

Why is Empathy such an Important Skill ?

Product teams can make anything they wish. In a constantly changing environment, the challenge is to make something people Love.

Good products are built based on grasping the needs. Truly Great products are built based on grasping the feelings.

Empathy is the ability to hear, see, think, feel, say, do and experience like others. Customer and Colleague alike.

Why is empathy so important ?

“For every Action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Like cosmos and physical things human behavior is reactionary. For every behavior you exhibit towards others, they exhibit a response. Positive or Negative.

Higher density of positive behavior means that relationships are healthy and primed for mutual benefit. A load of negative behavior is one of top reason for product failures.

Holding the internal team accountable for empathetic behavior is essential for delighting the customers.

Why should digital product espouse empathy ?

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget ‘how you made them feel.”

A market is defined by a set of potential customers who have a set of needs. Needs are fulfilled by products or services with attractive value propositions. Market environments are lopsided. It’s either tilted in favor of the seller or the buyer.

Need groups due to their shared interest reference each other when making a buying decisions. They constantly evaluate their experience and put undue pressure on vendors to make something that suits them.

Precisely why, all innovative products must overcome odds and years of obscurity before they can be demand positive. Crossing the chasm and emerging as a mass market favorite requires customer loyalty.

World of subscription driven intangible products like software is even more daunting as the product needs to keep up with customer evolution and continuously delight them.

If we want users to like our software we should design it to behave like a likeable person: respectful, generous and helpful.

In other words, the software built anticipating the changing needs of the customers and need groups will stand out.

Given the plethora of choices, a sensitive, personal and humane touch will differentiate your promise. A product can only match such ideals with conscious empathy of the teams involved.

Why Product Teams should focus on Customer needs ?

People don’t buy from you because they understand what you do. People buy from you because you understand what they do.

What’s in it for me is the subconscious drive propelling individuals within groups, organizations and nations.

Competing priorities of life, human psychology and market led culture all reinforce the need to maximize self gain. Decision to purchase a product is no exception.

Based on multiple research, it is found that we humans have 10+ intrinsic desires.

Thinking, Association, Acceptance, Competence, Influence, Autonomy, Relationship, Stability, Purpose and Status are things associated with career and work.

As a customer, heightened need for gain and improvements is a reaction to insecurities about perceived deficiencies in status quo.

A buyer goes through a journey of discovery with a clear purpose. Transition from dissatisfaction to satisfaction. Transform Painful Experiences to Gainful Outcomes.

What drives customer behavior ?

Students of psychology and human behavior use several words to explain the intangibles. Emotions, Feelings, Drive, Motive, instincts, decisions, Needs, Wants, Desires, Impulses, Jobs etc.

Abstractions with no clear cut and universally agreed definition. They help explain the causation of our behavior.

Notwithstanding the levels and depths of their layers, the world of business uses a few terms to explain the journey of a human from skeptic to customer.

Applying these terms to distinguish groups helps businesses focus on high potential options.

People with needs are said to have immediate propensity for action. Business Scientists further categorize needs to unworkable, unavoidable, urgent and underserved in order to give a criterion for investors to weigh the business case tradeoffs.

Customers are only worried about their need that must be fulfilled.

What causes shift in customer loyalty ?

Humans are allergic to change … – Grace Hopper

Have you ever wondered how facebook out competed myspace, google vanquished yahoo, instagram outsmarted flickr, salesforce over sap etc ?

There are more examples of winners and the vanquished in both the b2c and b2b markets.

incumbents while leading the way have to work day and night to fend off competition from existing and new entrants.

How is it possible that the things we rave about today becomes obsolete tomorrow ?

What does the consumer see different that they ditch the current solution for the new ?

In hindsight, we can be philosophical about innovation, disruption or dig deeper to find out the causes. In order to fathom how facebook outsmarted myspace, one needs to grasp how myspace outcompeted it’s predecessors.

Some users wanted their own page to express, some wanted to overcome their social inhibition to find pals, some wanted to hook up, some wanted a friendster alternative, some to find lost friends, some to advertise…you get the idea ?

Change happens only when the new solutions can delight the customers with a 10x better solution. (kano model)

How can product teams ensure customer loyalty ?

Customers are married to their own goals. They choose best options within their constraints.

Sometimes vanity matters while in other occasions value matters. Everything is relative to their journey in life and the compulsions of their existence.

Customer Loyalty is a function of how well we understand their head and heart. As long as there is no better alternative, they stick to their existing relationship.

Happy Customers is a mirage. Satisfying them requires being ahead of their expectations and anticipating their needs.

Mike Jones, the former head of MySpace stated, “.. the world had been trained by MySpace that social networking was interesting, but the actual product had been perfected by Facebook”

Availability of an improved choice accelerates change. Moving droves of users away from their existing choice.

From chat rooms to social networks to messenger to …, the need for interaction, engagement, appreciation, association remains unchanged while the tools fulfilling those needs evolve with environmental impetus.

“People hire a product or service to get the job done” says Clayton Christensen. Jobs to be done is a framework to explain human choices and change behavior.

Journey to give up on old ways in favor of the New way.

What is this thinking behind customer purchase decisions ?

Everything we consume is hired. Take a sample case of ordering food online. you need to be hungry, it is breakfast, lunch or dinner time, there is no food at home, have other work to complete and need help.

We don’t order every meal online. Sometimes we cook, go out to dine, take food at office. As per BJ Fogg, the behavioral psychologist a unique combination of trigger, abilities and motivation lead to a particular behavior.

We have different choices under different circumstances yet consistent in our behavior. quite easy for us to fire with the same panacea we hire.

What explains our behavior of protracted choices ?

Bob Moesta a leading consultant explain this using the forces model. he hypothesized an internal struggle justifying favorable and unfavorable arguments for consumption.

There are Push (internal and external) and Pull (expectation, outcome) forces accelerating the “why’s” to consume.

There are also habits (internal and external) and concerns (self doubt and trust deficit ) that are stifling consumption and explaining “why not” ?.

Hiring and Firing are deliberate choices. Manifestation of conscious, unconscious pain avoidance and gain seeking

The process of Product Definition

The Process of Product Definition

Last updated Sep. 1, 2018

Program Director – Product Management

Digital Product leadership


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