Do we need more people or stronger people?

Myopia will blind you

The product groups within most companies add more and more people as the company grows. It is exciting to be a part of a company that is in the midst of a meteoric growth. New faces bring new experiences and feed the high emotional energy already present to create an overwhelming euphoria. There is a feeling that this will go on forever. The Finance and HR teams try to be the pragmatic voices; however, how can you challenge our success? After all, we ARE Compaq, Digital, Wang, Concurrent, NetFRAME, AST Research, etc.!!! When one brings up the fact that the next tier is very aggressive and is about to kick us between the legs, you hear things like “THAT will never happen!” Or “You don’t know what you are talking about.” However, when business slows and their jobs or bonuses are jeopardized, the upper management of a company then looks at these same groups to cut overhead to make the P&L look better. Too cynical a viewpoint? For the purposes of this article…no. I have seen this phenomenon many times.

What can you do?

Now that the framework has been set up, what can you do as a product person?! It seems rather bleak…doesn’t it? Hardly. A Product Manager (PM) or a Product Marketing Manager (PMM) can have a profound impact on an organization by managing up and over, regardless of the size of the company. Do we need both PMs and PMMS? The answer is…it depends. As the company grows, the decisions carry with them more responsibility (dollars); consequently, the quality of output is heavily stressed versus the quantity. The activities are very similar in both company types. It’s the depth that changes. It’s for this reason that a functional shift occurs and new titles emerge—Planners, Business Development Managers, PMs, PMMs, SEO Managers, geo marketing managers, channel marketing managers, industry marketing managers, BI, Analytics Manager. The market gets sliced and diced until there is a marketing manager responsible for every major segment of the market and every customer type. As a PM/PMM, what does this mean? Please Chris…tell me something good!       Continue reading