Customer Analysis Strategies the Many Essay

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For product management professionals in the B2C market, the challenges are even greater as the competition and speed in their markets is magnitudes greater than their B2B counterparts. Often consumer-oriented products have a high degree of seasonality to them, substitutes abound, and product lifecycles can be very short (Thorpe, Morgan, 2007). Determining the best possible market segments, defining customers as accurately as possible and monitoring the performance of go-to-market strategies is critical for a new business to succeed in consumer-based or B2C-oriented markets (Van Fleet, Van Fleet, Flint, 2010). Considering how competitive the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market is and the level of investment required for any new product to be successful, the need for accurate customer information becomes central to innovation (Kannan, Yim, 2001). The success of Proctor & Gamble in the CPG markets they compete in is evidence of how thoroughly customer insight, intelligence and market segment analysis permeates their company and its strategies (Kannan, Yim, 2001). The product management teams at P&G focus on the segmentation profiles of their customers, defining them from a demographic, psychographic and behavior standpoint through the use of continual customer panels and research programs (Crocker, Tay, 2004). P&G regularly uses such advanced forms of research as perceptual mapping and cluster analysis to understand the motivations, needs, and wants of their customers (Kannan, Yim, 2001). Just as b2B-based product management teams are actively changing the cultures of their companies all the time to keep them focused on customer needs, product managers in B2C are even more critical to making this happen. In the B2C markets, there is much more churn and rapid change, making the role of the product manager critical to staying on top of customers' needs over time. The product management professional must be a catalyst of customer-driven change.


At the most fundamental level, customer insight and intelligence that product managers have must encompass the unmet needs, values, preferences and wants of customers including how these aspects that define the market segments customers participate in over time (Crain, Abraham, 2008).
Product management professionals must understand the nuances of their customers not just at a moment in time, but over the long-term. This includes understanding how they make decisions on which brands to buy, how the purchasing process works in both the B2B and B2C-based industries, and how a product's given features and benefits are perceived. Too often companies become so myopic in their view of their products. Of course, they see their own products and solutions as exceptional yet it is in an accurate view of their product and solutions from customers that real sales growth and customer loyalty can be earned. It is the center; the essence and catalyst of what makes a product management professional succeed or not; there is no substitute for knowing a customers' needs and segment characteristics. It is the foundation of all successful product management and strategic market planning efforts and programs.


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Van Fleet, E.,.....

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