This week on Product Love, I talked to Brian Brinkmann, the VP of product at Logi Analytics. When Brian graduated with his MBA from the Kellog School of Business at Northwestern University, he could have taken a variety of paths — investment banking, management consulting, etc. But he chose software because what he really wanted to do was create interesting products that helped people solve problems. Sounds like a natural product manager.
This week’s episode covers the line between product marketing and product, the importance of embedded analytics, and why PMs should avoid feature clutter.
The Line Between Product Marketing and Product
Everyone knows that product marketing and product go hand-in-hand. But sometimes specific tasks and duties fall in the chasm between the two. According to Brian, this problem is a matter of inbound versus outbound.
Inbound is product management, where it’s important to examine the market and find problems that need to be solved. Product management focuses on enabling internal organizations such as sales, product, and engineering. A product manager’s key questions are: Does this problem have a solution? Can my product become a solution?
Product marketing is the “outbound” side of the equation — it’s all about how to position the product. Also, Brian tends to think of thought leadership, content, and demonstrations as part of product marketing. Admittedly, the two roles may overlap depending on organizational structure — great product people can also be fantastic product marketers.
Embedded analytics refers to analytic content and capabilities integrated within applications. Brian advocates this setup because data is woven into the fabric of the application.
Embedded analytics need to flow with the rest of your tool or solution. The best thing about embedded analytics is that it doesn’t require sophistication to utilize. Once it’s integrated into the application (where your end-users experience it), Brian believes you’ll benefit from the full power of analytics.
Our products were originally made to do one or two things really well. They’re what Brian would call single-source products. But organizations tend to scale, and so do products. It’s natural for products to expand their use cases and encompass additional features. Brian acknowledges the inevitability of expansion (whether prompted by investors or competitors) and notes its importance for growing and challenging your team. However, Brian warns that as we grow, we shouldn’t forget our product’s core value.
Teams need to ensure that they’re still able to solve the same problems and address the same audience. After all, the worst thing you can do is promote a bunch of new features or capabilities that serve no real purpose other than “clutter.” Never stray away from your roots — the people you serve and the problems you solve.
Check out this week’s episode of Product Love to learn more about the importance of embedded analytics and the best qualities of successful product managers.