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Seeing What’s Out There

Product
Strategy

24 September, 2021

Scott Jones
Scott Jones

VP of Product at MarketerHire

Scott Jones, Senior Product Manager of Cloud Data Services at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise, shares his approach to market research.

Problem

I do a lot of interesting consulting work with a particular fintech company in New York. It’s been a pretty open-ended partnership; they have a reasonably junior-level team, so there is plenty of opportunities to mentor.

They had a Head of Product who had left, and I was introduced to their CEO by a former colleague. He brought me on as a consultant on a preliminary basis in order to get a feel for whether or not we liked each other. The new, de facto Head of Product has been doing really well. I’ve been working a lot with them.

They’re super young and did not have a lot of experience at first. For about six months, they have been leaning on me to solve problems where they aren’t sure about the right solution.

Actions taken

We discuss strategic ideas and look into them in order to identify a possible opportunity. This can include building financial models to work off of and research on what’s out there currently. A possible project may be redoing our enrollment process. We do our homework and figure out what needs to be done.

We actually did this recently, taking ten fintech and insurance tech products and documenting how they do their enrollments on a very granular level. We can then codify this collection of data, cherry-picking the absolute ideas, and how we might carry those ideas forward into our own enrollment process. It’s a curated set of ways that our team could potentially differentiate themselves in this market.

There is an art to taking ambiguous information like this and coming to a conclusion on how to interpret it and what exactly to do with it. It’s a rinse-and-repeat approach to the work that we do together. Here is the five-step model that one company used, and this is the seven-step version that another company tried. Which one is superior?

You take from these stories and make a case for each part of the puzzle. Does it make sense or not? How might your team do it better? The marriage between thorough research and the technical skills to meet your goals are all that it takes to get your idea off of the ground. If you have the capacity, you can build the product.

Lessons learned

  • Gathering a lot of data is the best way to come up with an opinion that takes you places. You can look into the pros and cons of what your predecessors tried. After taking them all into consideration together, formulating your own strategy becomes much easier.
  • Everything really ties back into communication and evangelism for the product. None of this happens in a vacuum.
  • What works in one case may not work in another. There is this idea of carrying a bag of tricks with you. I’m hypothesis-driven in everything that I do. Being dynamic in this way has proven to be vital to my success.

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