Product management for SMB marketing websites?

A distinction we like to highlight at Postlight is that a product manager is not a project manager. Don’t get me wrong. Project management is important. But the focus is too often on maintaining a process, not shipping a product. That’s sensible on big projects, but less useful when you need to bring a product into the light. Product managers get in there. Moving things around. Dropping things off. Explaining to the team that the research doesn’t support this tactical move or that. My co-founder Paul Ford says that a good product manager has a crooked index finger from hitting “Command-R” to reload a web app tens of thousands of times. I think that’s right — you’re looking for that person willing to obsessively look at tiny changes until the entire picture of the product comes into view.

Source: What Makes a Good Product Manager?

Tangent time.

Lately I’ve been thinking about SMB marketing websites & eCommerce websites in the context of product management.

You have all the ingredients of a web app. There are UX considerations, performance considerations, back-end logic and infrastructure considerations, user stories and jobs-to-be-done.

(Isn’t monthly unique traffic similar enough to MAUs?)

So, along that train of thought… I wonder what principles we can borrow from product management and apply to SMB marketing & eComm websites?

(Aside: I’m a big fan of Postlight. You should read their blog and subscribe to their podcast.)

“Content so good you could sell ads against it.”

The distribution of content by consumer brands has become more diffuse over the past few year, yet branded content is still in its nascence. Mariah predicts that brands will get into the content game in a far more pronounced way—creating content that would not be a branded advertorial piece, but content so good that advertising could be sold against it.

Source: 4 Ways Digital Retail Will Evolve in the Next Five Years | Custora Blog

As they should. (If you don’t care about your content quality, who will?)

Write something that will stand the test of time.

So, ask yourself this question: What would your audience love for you to write a tutorial on? What could you write about now that you could reference in a year or two from now and people would still be interested in it? Write that.

Source: SEO in 2017: Proven Content Ideas That Attract Backlinks – The Smart Passive Income Blog

I think every business has the potential to create a repository of thoughtful content. It might be a blog, it might be a YouTube channel, it might be a podcast.

The catch? You need to think in terms of “how do I make this better?”, rather than always thinking about “what do I make next?”

On predicting and dismissing technology.

In 2000, it seemed as though the only question any telecoms investor ever asked was ‘what’s the killer app for 3G?’. It turned out that the killer app for having the internet in your pocket was having the internet in your pocket: a general technology breakthrough matters not because of a particular application that it enables but because of all and any of them. I had little idea of the specific ways you’d use your phone to access all the world’s information and share stuff with your friends, but it was a safe bet you’d want to do it somehow.

Source: Not even wrong – ways to dismiss technology — Benedict Evans

Really enjoyed reading this essay from Benedict Evans on how new technology is often dismissed as a toy.

I feel this way sometimes about machine learning, AI, VR, AR… despite also recognizing their tangible, happening-right-now applications.

Aside: Appreciated this almost-timely (and relevant!) comment from Christopher S. Penn’s newsletter: “For the average business, AI is purely hype. The average business is still working on implementing Google Analytics correctly, still trying to determine what a lead is worth. Implementation of and direct use of AI for the average business is many years off, if ever.”