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Transform a marketing person into a product person in 12 easy steps. First admit you have a problem...
October 25, 2011 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Help me be the best product development person ever! (Or, what don't I know about product development that should scare me?) Books, research, advice, online courses, whatever!

I've got a potential opportunity to move from the marketing side of my company to the product development side working on mostly hardware (although there are some software components, they would be developed to enhance the experience, not be sold on their own).

They like my "passion for the category" and think I could bring a fresh perspective to the product line, etc. But I feel like there's a big difference between selling it and making it and I don't want to be the schmuck who takes 6 months to add value to the team.

Yes, I know the team and I've met the engineers -- and I speak product better than any other marketing drone. I've been to the factory and understand terms like "bill of materials" and "firmware." But it's still a major career shift for someone who has working in the field she got her schooling in for more than 10 years.

1 - Can you recommend resources -- books, podcasts, whatever; I know the consumer industry, but I suspect there's a lot more to product development than knowing the term "scrum"?

2 - Any advice of what to do, or what not to do, knowing that a reformed marketing person is one step up from contagious leper in most circles

I need to know stuff to actually succeed if I get an offer. Or be scared off so I don't get into something I can't succeed at.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I speak product better than any other marketing drone

As a marketing drone, my first observation would be to find a job where you do not consider yourself and your coworkers drones.

knowing that a reformed marketing person is one step up from contagious leper in most circles

I don't get this. Marketing people are here to help sell the product in an efficient way. I guess it's all about not making promises that can't be kept by engineering, and also truly understanding the opportunities presented by the technology. This means working collaboratively, listening, and incorporating the ideas of others into the overall plan (when it makes sense).

Anyway, I always thought product development was all about understanding the customers. Where your strength comes in is that you understand the capabilities of your technology and your engineering team.

Find out what your customers want. Build relationships with your customers online. Get your customers to provide input into the product roadmap.

Read up on pragmatic marketing.

Also, take the usually six months' "schmuck" time and use it to listen and learn.

But if going into marketing makes you feel like a drone or a leper or a schmuck, why not stick with engineering?
posted by KokuRyu at 11:06 AM on October 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


This isn't going into marketing, this is going from a marketing person to being in product development.

Product people have it up to the eyebrows with anyone who sells something that is not deliverable, or that is deliverable, but only if it wrecks the entirety of the entire dev cycle.

I went from finance to product development. The key is learning your product, and knowing what everything is (firmware is the software program that runs the functions of your camera display, etc) and being willing to learn from the people who you will be working with. You may, indeed, bring a fresh perspective, but I guarantee you there is someone on that team that everyone already respects, so figure out how to get cozy with that person. He or she will be your best way into the department and will (hopefully) be a great mentor/teacher.

There are no stupid questions. Mirror a lot. "OK, so you said, this is that, and it works this way, right?" LISTEN.

LISTEN.

LISTEN.
posted by Medieval Maven at 11:12 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


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