Atlantic Crossing Digital Consulting

Market-Driven development and Product-Centric marketing for software revenue acceleration

We can build upon our previous observations in the case of the early commercial development of what eventually would become Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The developer Navision (née PC&C) and IBM managed to cooperate to fulfill market demand, using perfect alignment of the Development, Administration, Communications, and Sales functions, all orchestrated by effective Product Management and Product Marketing.

As we noted in our previous blog post, PC&C had a very good understanding of what the market demands were at the time. And they were able to convert that into a first-class product through a largely informal, intuitive product management process that integrated the northwest corner of our model.

So the development was definitely market-driven, the product ideas coming from market observations and/or intelligence. And it is easy to argue that any software developer that brings forward a product that at least some players in the market are willing to pay for, has found success in being market-driven.

The Market-Driven/Product Centric modelBut as most software developers will testify, having a product that some customers will buy, is probably less than half the battle. Then comes all the Product Marketing questions: how will the product be marketed, where, through which sales channel(s), under what name, with which prices, bundled with which other products and/or services, and so on.

All those items must find answers, answers that function well with the product itself. This exercise is far from trivial, as many failures will attest to. Changes to any one of those areas will most likely have an immediate and direct impact on perhaps even all the other ones. As a consequence, the Product Marketing function must have great vision, a very wide angle of view, and great attention to detail in the exchange with each of the “four corners” in the model.

Most importantly, however, Product Marketing must make all these details work, based completely on the product that has been developed – that is the sole point of departure for all these efforts. As the aforementioned René Stockner of IBM and Navision often stated: “A software company is an exercise in Product Marketing.”

With those wise and visionary words, we arrive at the perhaps somewhat counter-intuitive conclusion that software success is built upon Market-Driven development and Product-Centric marketing. And that leads logically to naming our model for software revenue acceleration “The Market-Driven/Product Centric™ Model” – or MD/PC for short.

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