When Development kills its own product...
For a software company (be it licensed or Software-as-a-Service) to get to the decision to do Product-Centric Marketing is often a long and winding road. At times the sales and marketing side of the organization is caught up in what you learn in business school about market-driven successes. That alone can kill the initiative - often helped by other functional areas whose key personnel may also have heard the term "market-driven."
Yet, as we discussed in previous posts, to be successful in software the market-driven aspect holds only for the incoming activity, i.e. the feeding of input back from customers and partners back through Product Management & Marketing to Development. The outbound activity in Product Marketing must be Product-Centric at heart while communicating how the product(s) fulfill market requirements.
But once the company MBA's have been convinced, you would think that implementation would be a piece of cake, right? After all, who would be left to protest being Product-Centric?
Well, obstacles often emerge from the most unlikely sources…
Unfortunately, Product-Centric Marketing is often derailed by Development. Instead of seeing the new way of doing things as a validation of everything the VP of Development has been working on for years, this key person, who may often also be the company founder, instead chooses to view the initiative as an attempt to take away his or her almost supernatural powers.
Product-Centric Marketing requires a structured cooperation among all functions (or departments in larger companies). And first and foremost between Development and Product Management & Marketing (PMM). Gone are the days where Development can "surprise" PMM with new functionality that no one outside Development has ever heard of. How can you develop valuable Product-Centric marketing programs with your Communications function if you have no idea what is coming - or, in some cases, what came two weeks ago but nobody mentioned or documented?
So it is absolutely key to get Development to buy into the concept: that cooperation based on long and intense discussions with PMM is necessary for the company to generate the desired sales figures. Figures that do justice to the company's great software products or services.