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ARTICLES, TIPS, AND ADVICE ABOUT PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, PRODUCT MARKETING, AND PRODUCT STRATEGY

Away From My Desk – How Weather Impacts Product Management

James thought leader in product marketing and product management leader

James Luizzi

March 1, 2018
Today is typical snowy day in Connecticut, which is where I live, and where I work as well. As you may know, I work for a business named Sequent Learning Networks, we are a training and advisory company focused on Product Management.  Therefore our product is our knowledge and advisory work as well as the training and workshops that we deliver, and I am technically responsible for managing that (ie. Product Manager).  Based on this, we always need to be available to speak to, or visit our customers and/or potential customers no matter what the situation is.  That’s why I want to discuss how we must be aware of how the weather may impact our products success.

The Customer Experience

So today is no different then the any other snow storm that takes place throughout the season, our weather people create a state of hysteria and people flock to the local supermarket for the typical milk and bread gathering.  By the way, why are people buying bread and milk?  Is it all we need as humans to live through the  snow-pocalypse that is about to take place? Anyway…. as you would expect, about 24hrs prior to the storm the usual workplace conversation begin to take place.

“How much snow do you think we are going to get?”

“Do you think we will have to come in to the office if it’s too bad?”

“Is anyone traveling to a customer tomorrow?”

As questions swirl throughout the day about what the expectations are, we receive some clarity to help determine if we should work from home or from the office.  When the snow begins to fall the next morning we all take action, and half the team makes it to office to work while some others work from home.  You see, people live in different areas and while I got approximately 6 inches of snow the office got rain.  Either way, we were able to stay productive, we were able to work and talk to customers and discuss our capabilities to potentially sell more products.

Why Is This Important For Product Managers?

 

They are various environmental factors that could potentially impact our products success, so we must look at each of these and determine trends that uncover both opportunities as well as potential risks.  For example, if a growing trend is for the weather in the northeast to get worse and worse in the winter, we may look to get into more online learning, move our office location, focus on customers outside of the area, or even potentially not deliver workshops in the winter and be a seasonal company.    

With that said, different companies would be impacted differently.  If I worked for a sled manufacturer I would want more and more snow, so I may then look to focus on more sales in the northeast. I may look for focus my marketing and advertising on the northeast more and have different sales goals depending on the region.  Yet me must continue to look at future trends as well because things may change, and we must be ready to potentially pivot if they do.  For example, if trends started showing less and less snow then maybe we need to expand our product set to create toys for kids to use outside without snow. Another idea is maybe I could launch a line of summer products within the portfolio as well to hedge my bets.  No matter your business, the weather will have an impact, some positive and some negative, so it is important that we understand how the weather impacts YOUR business now and in the future? Are you prepared? Are there opportunities you can take advantage of? Would you create different products? Would distribute them in different regions? Would they cost the same no matter where you sold them? Where would you focus you promotional efforts?  

Weather is just one of the many different environmental factors that we should be looking at when we are looking at gathering industry research and planning products for the future.  Within our Gathering Market Insights workshops we discuss this and many of the other industry trends that could impact the success of your business in the future.    

To follow James on his future customer experiences and get some tips and techniques on how to gather market insights in the most effective way, subscribe to our blog series or while your here, read more of the Away From My Desk blogs. 

About The Author

James thought leader in product marketing and product management leader

James Luizzi

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