In short…

  • Focus on the Value of the Product, not cost
  • Factors affecting value: Quality of Product, Support Services, and Perceived Features
  • Segmentation, Differentiation, and Positioning: Different from a competitor, serve the market better than the competitor, better features
  • Intangibles differentiate the product (75% while tangible is 25%)): Brand attachment, Customer engagement, supply chain, human capital who serve the customers, IP of the product.
  • Value Migration →Initital phase: R&D, Design, Core Parts. Later Stage → Brand and Service, Customer Solutions
  • Market development is also important: Initial phase is product development and the later stage is market development
  • Defining the scope of the product (book on Kindle can also be read on mobile)
  • Design thinking → starting from the customer, develop the market
  • Management issues change with the product life cycle

Pricing Basics

Focus on value

Price elasticity of demand = %change in Quantity Demanded / % change in Price

PED = sale increase by 20% / price reduced by 10% = 2

Monopolies have PED as 1. PED > 1 → elastic, PED < 1 → inelastic (price doesn’t impact demand, e.g.: addictive substances)

In commodity markets (similar products), PED is highly elastic. Product differentiation disappears. Small change in price, leads to massive change in sales

If PED is 3, a 10% cut in price leads to a 30% increase in sales. If the margin is 20%, should we cut the price? The answer is NO because a 10% price reduction leads to a net margin of 10%, so to get the same profit margins as earlier, sales should increase by 100%

e.g.: SP→120, CP→100, Margin →20, Sale is 10 units. Revenue →1200. Profit → 200

New scenario after 10% price reduction:

SP→110, CP→100, Margin →10, Sale is 13 units. Revenue →1430. Profit → 130

In perfect markets, competition is so high that all firms break even. Not much profit.

Hence firms try to de-commoditize the market and focus on cash flow (not just revenue). Hence Segmentation is important.

Perfect Competition to Decommoditised market
Perfect Competition to Decommoditised market

Price Wars:

Pepsi and Coke have similar prices. But then they differentiate their marketing. Price wars lead to a reduction in profit.

Management literature is based on the Greco-Roman way of thinking. One has to lose for one to win. This is not always the best strategy.

Impact of premium pricing on products.

Generally, the net margin on products is 8.5%

If a firm can increase its pricing by 1%, its new margin would be 9.5%, almost 12% greater profit margins than its competitors.

Marketing Strategy and Product Development

Marketing strategy is dependent on segmentation and differentiation

Different from competitors: Pricing, product features, and competitive edge

e.g.: Push technology differentiated Blackberry from Nokia

Value creation needs channel partners (retailers for FMCG) and collaborators (software for hardware)

Different selling patterns for each product:

  1. Mobile – product reviews on YouTube
  2. Car – test drives
  3. FMCG – discounts and sampling

Where and how to compete, to be distinctly different, the value that the customers want, and how to extract that value from the market.

NarrowCasting: Instead of looking at a broad spectrum, focus on tactical issues, ground-level issues

Rule of three:

As the market expands, the market consolidates leaving 3-4 players in the market

Generalist: focus on volume and scale, push sales, full line of products (Toyota, Volkswagen, Samsung,)

Specialists: extract a much larger margin by focusing on niche markets, and lower volumes (Porche, iPhone)

Product Life Cycle:

Product Life Cycle
Product Life Cycle

Product development has to be a continuous process

The profit gap is the difference between product’s expected profit and the actual profit

Hence Ansoff’s Framework is used for product growth strategy:

Ansoff's Framework
Ansoff's Framework

Brand Equity: Penetration and Market Development

New Product Development Value: Product Development and Diversification

Customer Equity: Penetration and Product Development

Customer Acquisition Value: Market Development and Diversification

Aaker’s Vertical Integration is an addendum to Ansoff Matrix

Forward Integration → Apple has its own stores to compete with its own retailers, to generate more profit

Backward Integration → Amazon manufactures/sources the top-selling products on Amazon, to generate more profit

Product and Market Development Processes

Product Development Process – Engineering

Research, Design, Test the design, Manufacture, Market, and Evaluate the product

Design Thinking:

  1. Inspiration: Generation of Idea
  2. Empathy: Look at the idea from the lens of the customer, screening the idea
  3. Ideate: Ideate the concept
  4. Implementation: Implement the concept. MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
  5. Prototyping: Create a prototype. QFD (Quality Function Deployment)

Quality Function Deployment (QFD):

Customer needs to be met by both product engineering needs and customer perception needs

e.g.: Electric cars have no engine sound. So EV companies add sound modules to give the perception of the normal car to the consumers

Innovation Strategy across PLC

Product Development:

Idea and concept development

Product Development

Market Development:

Managing growth and value creation

Managing growth and risk

Business Sustainability and Value Extraction

Innovation Strategy Across PLC
Innovation Strategy Across PLC

Proof of Concept is when the idea survives the valley of death.

Managing Product/Technology Life Cycles

In a short life cycle environment, technology depreciates, hence there is a need for speed

Geoffrey Moore’s Framework for Consumer Segmentation Depending on Product Adoption

  1. Innovators: First one to test the new product
  2. Pragmatics: Verifies the product to the market
  3. Conservatives: After pragmatics, tests the verified product
  4. Skeptics: Don’t ever buy

While launching a product, prices and complementary products have to be considered before launching the product, then bringing the market and product together, and then maintaining the market

Searching costs → cost of switching to a new product

e.g.: In the USA digital payment adoption is slower due to credit card penetration. In India, there was no such searching cost for consumers from switching from credit cards to UPI

Technology Adoption Life Cycle

  1. Introduction: Attract customers. Focus on product design
  2. Growth: Shift from design to market development
  3. Maturity: Product differentiation and Branding lead to repurchases
  4. Decline: Switch the product strategy

Cost of Market Entry Delays

Importance of Timing

The second entrant to the market generally ends up with 60-70% of the market share compared to the first mover, since the first mover can get a quality share of mind of the customer.

The third entrant gets 60-70% of the second entrant.

e.g.: If the Total Addressable Market (market size) is 500 million,

market share of 1st three moves is 60% → 300 million

Now using the assumption of the cost of market entry delay:

x + 0.6x + (0.6*0.6)x = 300 million → x = 153 million

First Mover: x → 153 million

Second Entrant: 0.6x → 91 million

Third Entrant: (0.6*0.6)x → 55 million

For the second entrant, the cost of being late is (153-91) = 62 million

If the Contribution margin is 15/unit, then the second entrant is losing 15*62 million = 930 million/year

Cost of delay/day = 930 million/365 = 2.54 million per day

Managing Strategy Across the PLC

  1. Product Development
  2. Introduction: Push, Innovation, Top of mind awareness, Branding, Trial, Initial Purchase
  3. Growth: Push, Growth, Brand, CRM, Top of mind awareness
  4. Maturity: Pull, Operational Excellence, Services, and Solutions for customers, Retention, Availability, Brand Loyalty
  5. Decline: Exit/Rejuvenate
Management Challenges over Product Life Cycle
Management Challenges over Product Life Cycle
How Sales and Profit Change over Product Life Cycle
How Sales and Profit Change over Product Life Cycle

Brand Access: Consumers should be able to access the product in their market

Customer Value and Solutions

Role of Brand

Role of Complementary services

Role of Product Design relative to supply chain efficiency

Product Performance vs. Customer Service → This has to be managed

Product performance can be measured by Benchmarking against competitors

Customer Value-Centric Brand Innovations
Customer Value-Centric Brand Innovations

Ambidextrous Organizations focus on all: operational excellence, product differentiation, and customer centricity, brand centricity, managing the ecosystem (product and its complementary products/services)

Note: These are notes from the ISB Executive Education – Product Management program for my personal consumption.

In case you are looking for a Product Management course, I would highly recommend joining this cohort-based course.

PS: You can connect with me for review or referral discount


Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer (if any)

When I am not working/watching movies/reading books/traveling, you can reach me via my Twitter/LinkedIn or you can contact me here

Categories: Product Management