Now that you have that Cat

In Building a Dog. Oh, Make that a Cat we discussed how to measure development impacts relative to demands that would take us off our roadmap. We needed to say no. We needed to construct the numbers that would say no for us.

Your manager made you build the cat anyway. Now what?

Well you have to sell that cat, but worse, you are only set up to sell to dog people. The cat project actually cut into the dog you have to sell to dog people. Selling the cat means selling to cat people. Sure there are a few dog people that have a cat, there are a few dog people that have a hamster, or a full blown zoo on their hands, so cross-selling the cat to your install base is possible. Cross selling will generate revenues sooner, than your efforts to sell to cat people. The cat certainly was a matter of leveraging your company’s economy of scale. But, cat people never heard of you.

The cat market exists, so the usual marketing approach will work, but it will take time. You have to cross the Chasm. Moore’s chasm is really about waiting around until your marketing gains traction. Press releases and advertising generate a market slowly. The cross selling to your installed base of dog owners will help in the short term.

Selling to an install-base, to existing customer, is supposed to happen at a cost of sale 60-90% less expensive than selling to new customers. This is the reason for retention marketing, but to make it work, you have to sell in a manner that realizes these results. This complicates you sales compensation, sales force structure, and marketing. You actually end up marketing and selling to your install base differently than to your prospects. If you don’t differentiate, you won’t capture your increasing return.

I used the Triangle model to show how marketing and sales realizations are built from the application they are dependent on. We’ll start with the cat. I omitted the campaign to cross sell to dog owners from this first diagram.

Selling Cat New Customers

Selling Cat New Customers

The development effort ended up being divided between effort on the dog application, and effort on the cat application. Starting with the cat application (yellow-orange) at the base of the development triangle, marketing (light brown) is shown as a triangle projecting through the application as it realizes a touchpoint collection that will be exposed to the market. Similarly, a sales (blue) training program is likewise projected through the application as it realizes it’s touchpoint collection elements.

Then, I’ve drawn a plane (dark red/brown) connecting the marketing touchpoints with the sales touchpoints to represent the product’s interface with the market. Then, I’ve drawn the market as a volume projecting from the market interface plane. The customers (yellow) are shown at some distance from the market interface. In between the customers and the market interface, the chasm (clear) appears.

Selling the Dog

Selling the Dog

The dog diagram is significantly more complicated, because the undelivered functionality gives rise to undelivered marketing and sales training components. So the marketing and sales training projections are shown as being divided in two parts: marketing delivered (light brown) and undelivered (gray), and sales training delivered (dark blue) and undelivered (light blue). Likewise, the installed-base customers are divided into those that were not impacted by the undelivered functionality (red) and those that were (blue). The prospects are likewise impacted by the undelivered functionality (clear), because some prospects, Unaddressible Customers, are not in the market without that functionality.

While not quantifiable in the sense of bits, a product manager can determine the cost of the cat marketing effort, the degree of cross-selling possible, the dog customers that could not be gained due to the loss of functionality, lost marketing and sales training effort, the effectiveness of sales to retained customers, the loss of retained customers due to the absence of promised functionality, and the effects of growing the dog business a slower than intended. Plenty of number can be had on the operational end of the cat and dog fight.

If you want a cat, put it on the roadmap. Then, enable the organization to succeed at both the cat and the dog by growing a cat organization, so the dog doesn’t pay. Then, once the cat organization is staffed build and release cat version 0.1. Don’t switch animals in the middle of a roadmap. And, once you have more than one product, the technology layer will need its own independence, rather than having its development tied to either the dog or the cat. You are building a pet store after all.

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One Response to “Now that you have that Cat”

  1. Requirements as Circles « Product Strategist Says:

    […] a geometry around bits in previous posts. See “Building a Dog. Oh, Make that a Cat”, “Now that you have that Cat”, and “Taxicab […]

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