A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, I took a class from Pragmatic Marketing (www.pragmaticmarketing.com) that was for product marketing folks. It was an excellent class as far as I can remember, but there was nothing earth shattering about it. What was great was the ability to take 2 days away from your job to think about your job. Yep. Because Pragmatic marketing is pragmatic, they have build a framework that allows product marketeers to analyze what they do to see how they can do it better.
They make you realize that it is imperative to stop and think and gather outside information in order to do your job. Too many people in product marketing are busy "doing" that they don't spend the required time to "understand" the market and, as a result end up "doing" it again and again with the same results.
Which leads me to the title of my post. Pragmatic Marketing sells mugs, t-shirts, mouse pads, etc. with a very important message:
Your opinion, though interesting, is irrelevant.
What a great statement! It really is the truth. When trying to decide just about anything in product marketing, my opinion is only as good as the information I base it on and 99 out of 100 times, the opinions of a sales person, a development guy, a customer support rep, the head of finance, the CEO, CTO, COO are all irrelevant.
But, it is one of those absolutes that is almost always wrong. Each of those people (with the possible exception of the head of finance) has very important information IF they talk to and LISTEN to the prospect or customer. Each one of these folks talks to a customer at a much different point in the engagement. Some conversations are first impressions, others are during the sale, some right afterwards and ongoing and others talk about the future potential.
So, everyone has valuable information, the trick is getting them to give it to you without spoiling it with their irrelevant opinion!