Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Three steps toward creating market-leading products

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The goal of every company and product leader is to invent products (or services) that become recognized market leaders. Creating a new product category is icing on the cake, but also rare and extremely difficult.

We all know about companies and products like VMware, Google, and Uber that have not only developed cool products, but also fashioned new life-changing industries. Thinking about it from that perspective might cause us to shrink and say, “I could never do that.” However, there are many lesser-known companies and products that lead their markets; and done right, creating new markets and categories is well within our grasp.

Three steps-leading products

Reaching the product leadership summit will take extreme focus and hard work; it also requires strong drive and commitment. It’s not the best strategy for every company, but making the effort to become the leader will improve your company no matter where you land. Here are three steps to get you headed in the right direction:

  1. Understand the problem: It’s likely that most of the potential customers do not even know they have the problem you’re looking to solve. Make sure you understand the problem clearly and do the research necessary to come up with the solution(s) that will solve the problem you’ve identified.
  2. Change their thinking: When creating a new product or category, you need to change the way potential customers think about it. Do it in a way that gets them thinking about it in a new light, that helps them see a whole new way of solving their problem.
  3. Become the recognized leader: Turning potential customers into customers requires leadership. Communicate the problem in a well-defined way that helps them see how it solves their problem. Then evangelize your solution in a compelling way that drives change. Finally, work hard to turn potential customers to customers, gain market share and become the recognized category leader.

The steps above are not, by a long stretch, complete, nor are they the only steps you’ll need to take to create market-leading products; however, as Lao Tzu said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” What will be your next step?

Questions: Why is it important to create market-leading products? What category leader(s) have you created/do you want to create? Please leave a comment in the space below.

The Product Management Perspective: The journey of a product manager is all about creating market-leading products. We have the opportunity to change our companies. We can make all the difference to our products and ultimately the customers we serve by focusing on our markets and creating winning products.

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