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4 Ways to develop Customer Advocacy and Market Sensing as a Product Manager

By Puja Lakhlani – Head of Product Management @ UST Product Engineering

In product management, customer advocacy and market sensing is the ability to understand the user (customer) problem and demonstrate awareness of overall product solutions while keeping a pulse on the evolving market. Product managers need to build and nurture relationships with their existing customers that are already loyal to them who can act as a champion for their product. This inherently means that there is a market for your problem and people are actually willing to spend money and buy your product for the job that they’re trying to do.

As a product manager, having a good sense of customer advocacy can really amplify your business growth potential. You can also get valuable feedback on how you can improve your product.

Key Takeaways:

  • Product managers are required to understand their customers preferences and pain points really well.
  • They should use well known frameworks to validate the job to be done.
  • They should have cross functional conversations with different teams to understand the market situation of their product better.
  • It is also important to keep a close eye on the competitor companies ethically.
In this article
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    1. Spend time with customers

    As product managers, you want to understand user and buyer behavior patterns. You need to keep in mind the famous acronym NIHITO which means “Nothing important happens in the office”. This means getting out of the office and regularly keeping in touch with your customers and getting to know them. It can be done face to face via user interviews or on the phone. Just having a casual conversation on a regular basis can really help you understand customers better.

    2. Validate the jobs to be done

    Product managers should use well known frameworks to validate the job to be done. This is a very effective framework that helps you meet any unmet market needs. The analogy “You don’t need a quarter-inch drill; you need a quarter-inch hole” captures the essence of this framework really well. By a simple shift in perspective from features to solving problems, product managers can uncover hidden opportunities and develop products that truly resonate with the target audience.

    3. Cross functional conversations

    As product managers, it is important to have as many cross functional conversations as you can. Start with different groups within your own company like sales team, accounts team, support team, etc. They all have a firsthand view of the situation and can give you very valuable insights on how the market and customers are responding to your products.

    4. When in doubt, over communicate

    One of the things is when in doubt, over-communicate your vision and story when delivering complex messages. Try to do it in an in person manner if you can instead of hiding behind an email or voicemail. When appropriate, follow up your understanding in writing because this means that you are able to get out of your comfort zone and genuinely build that relationship.

    Effective communication is a vital skill if you want to thrive as a product manager. For product managers, the ability to understand, tailor messages, and build genuine relationships with stakeholders is essential for success. By utilizing tools like storytelling and over-communicating, product managers can navigate any product problem they come across.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Customer advocacy can be built in 4 main ways like getting to know your customers, validating the jobs to be done, engaging in cross-functional conversations and following your competition.

    Customer advocacy is a specialized form of customer service. It is the ability to understand the customer problems, expectations and pain points and demonstrate awareness of overall product solutions.

    The different teams in an organization have a firsthand view of the situation and can give product managers very valuable insights on how the market and customers are responding to their products.

    About the Author:

    Puja Lakhlani – Head of Product Management @ UST Product Engineering

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