My very first experience at a Product Camp unconference was educational, productive and exhilarating. Held at the GTRI conference center in Midtown Atlanta and organized by John Peltier, Jason Brett and a bevy of dedicated volunteers, it was probably one of the best non-leisure uses of a Saturday I’ve had in a while.

 

In the spirit of the unconference, all sessions are determined on event day by popular vote. Those proposing sessions go on stage to give their respective pitches in 3 minutes or less. Powered by an all-star panel of product management experts, my proposed panel got the thumbs up from attendees. Kudos to panelists Jeff Lash of Sirius Decisions, Andrea Moe of AirSage and Chidi Afulezi of redKola Digital. Here’s a recap of what was discussed:

Call of Duty Launch Event
Call of Duty Launch Event By Smartyhall, on Flickr

On measuring successful product adoption:

  • Defiine metrics for success before a product is introduced to its audience
  • Positive reviews and word of mouth are common measures of success for B2C products
  • Mobile apps are measured by the number of downloads; those with in-app purchases are able to track conversions
  • Product usage is a common measure of adoption for B2B products but the volume of support calls could be an indicator of success

On critical factors affecting product adoption:

  • Identifying an internal champion for B2B products is crucial to adoption success
  • Understanding the intended audiences’ needs is key to adoption with B2C products
  • Understanding the corporate buying process and decision-making dynamics is crucial to building the right product and therefore increasing your chances of successful product adoption
  • Analytics can tell you what’s happening but they can’t tell you why
  • Throughout the product life cycle, talking to customers or prospective customers face to face is crucial to understanding the “why” behind customer needs and wants
Listen to your kids
By Bindaas Madhavi, on Flickr

On customer discovery/listening methods:

  • Schedule meetings with prospects or customers during a tradeshow or conference
  • Dedicate a certain number of days a month to only interviewing customers in person or via phone
  • Do not get defensive; the goal of these sessions is to uncover the unvarnished truth about their experience with the product

 

On the role of the product launch:

  • A product launch is not the finish line
  • Product launch plans need to encompass pre-, post- and launch activities for internal and external customers
  • A tiered approach is recommended for both B2B and B2C products
  • Engaging influencers prior to a public launch can be an effective method for gaining buy-in early on but discretion has to be exercised when deciding on when a product is ready to be introduced to this audience

On when to engage product marketing:

  • Members of the product marketing team need to be engaged in the concept stage
  • Product marketers need a more than cursory understanding of the product

On the one thing the audience should take away from the panel:

  • Leave your office and embark on a listening tour of your customers
  • Embrace failure and learn from it
  • Product adoption is planned and begins at the concept stage

 

What else? Did we miss anything?  For recaps and valuable nuggets from others see this and this.

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