Service objectives


The following list represents the Key Service Objectives (KSO) for the Appleton Greene Product Management service.

Appleton Greene & Co Global 1

Market Analysis

 Market analysis is the foundation to your current and future business success and is part of the Business Planning function. This objective focuses on the effectiveness of your market analysis process and can include: information sources and resulting inputs; key contributors to the analysis process; the actionable quality of the outputs from this effort; effective time horizon boundaries; and timely cadence of outputs. There can be numerous sections addressed in a market analysis but in most cases the following 8 are used for an effective market characterization process, each with their own inputs, analysis process, and subsequent output. First is a general market description including market state (current and anticipated), the market ecosystem that surrounds this market today and how it might evolve, market sizing methodology, and trend identification. Next is a customer attributes section including the customer problem or desire, any current solutions that are in use today, unmet needs/drivers creating the new opportunity, how customers measure solution value, customer purchase habits, and anticipated customer evolution. Typically the next section is a customer segmentation process methodology addressing commonality that can be leveraged across multiple segments, key customer expectation or capability differences between segments, segmented customer usage models, segment sizing and prioritization, anticipated common or segment trends, and customer purchase process by segment. Following segmentation is a by-segment customer’s purchase analysis describing the channels and channel attributes where these segments purchase. In most cases this involves a multi-channel analysis describing: the channel type; key accounts and their capabilities; account expectations regarding their gross margins; account planning cycles and lead times; ease-of-doing-business expectations; service levels expectations; and expectations of your predictability. Next is the analysis of any seasonality in this market and how it could affect your business regarding product launch windows, promotional timing, and any anticipated revenue fluctuations. Sixth is an analysis of outside forces that could affect your market including: technology; commodity pricing; economic conditions (e.g. is your product a necessary purchase or discretionary purchase); regulatory changes; exchange rates; etc. Next is a description of any barriers to entry that would impact your potential success in this market. Typically the final section is an analysis of potential supporting players in this market that would reduce your risks or increase your success in this market. As you can see, your market analysis provides key information to your next release of products as well as strategic inputs into your long range planning process. The output of this objective is an unbiased SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely) assessment and potential corrective actions for your organization’s market analysis process. Consulting services for potential corrective actions for improving market analysis results can include: process creation or modification; policy creation or modification; creation or modification of tools, deliverables and communication flows; training delivery.


Appleton Greene & Co Global 2

Competitive Analysis

 There is always competition facing your business either directly or indirectly impacting your success. If you feel you don’t have direct competitors this indicates one of two challenges for your business: does this market even exist if no one else is doing this solution (the assumption is that your market analysis does prove the existence or potential for a new solution category); or once you enter this new category, competition will not be far behind! This objective focuses on the effectiveness of your competitive analysis process, also part of the Business Planning function, and can include: information sources and resulting inputs; key contributors to the analysis process; the actionable quality of the outputs; and how the process ensures timely identification and potential responses to competitive trends and specific competitor moves. To a large extent, competitive analysis needs to be driven by how your segmented customers perceive the value of the competitor’s offering but also includes competitor business attributes that indicate their capabilities and future direction. Fortunately, in many cases, the internet has made gathering a portion of customer perceptions easier than it was in the past although these must be kept in the perspective of how qualitative versus quantitative this information really is and to deeply understand the customers’ perception of competitors requires a more holistic look than just a “vocal few”. The competitive analysis assessment can include: how effectively the analysis addresses the overall competitive landscape in your targeted market(s); the depth of understanding for the top 3 to 5 direct competitors regarding the customer experience they deliver; your analysis process of how those competitors may move forward and/or respond to competitive threats; what are your anticipated advantages over the key competitors; your process for assessing your business’ vulnerability to competitors and potential response. As with your market analysis above your competitive analysis provides key information to your next release of products as well as strategic inputs into your long range planning process. The output of this objective is an unbiased SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely) assessment and potential corrective actions for your organization’s competitive analysis process. Consulting services for potential corrective actions for improving competitive analysis results can include: process creation or modification; policy creation or modification; creation or modification of tools, deliverables and communication flows; training delivery.


Appleton Greene & Co Global 3

Solution Strategies

 As a third part of the Business Planning function, the goal of the Solutions Strategy effort is to describe the “ideal” customer solution from your customer’s viewpoint. Solution Delivery, described below, uses this to determine specific products or product generations and their delivery timing. This objective focuses on the effectiveness of your solutions strategies process translating market analysis and competitive analysis results into the ideal total customer experience benefits your solution(s) should deliver and can include: information sources and resulting inputs; key contributors to the analysis process; the actionable quality of the outputs; and how the process ensures timely identification and potential responses to competitive trends and specific competitor moves. The solutions strategy assessment can include: segment selection process; completeness of your ideal customer experience specification process; business model and potential pricing analysis process; functional/organizational capabilities specification process; market readiness analysis process; opportunities and risks analysis process. The output of this objective is an unbiased SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely) assessment and potential corrective actions for your organization’s solution strategies process. Consulting services for potential corrective actions for improving solution strategies can include: process creation or modification; policy creation or modification; creation or modification of tools, deliverables and communication flows; training delivery.


Appleton Greene & Co Global 4

When is just as important as what!

Appleton Greene & Co Global – All businesses have an internal cadence typically driven by their fiscal year for business planning and other internal efforts. Fewer have a cadence for their customer-facing and channel-facing efforts that address product planning, account planning, budgeting, product launch, marketing mix strategy and tactics, and product transitions to name a few. And this externally focused cadence must be driven by customer seasonality. For FedSLED this seasonality typically is driven by fiscal years. For consumers this may be driven by holidays, calendar events (back to school, graduation) or seasons. And while overall B2B may not be as dramatic, this sector usually is not purely linear and can also see volume peaks and valleys depending on the solution category and their customers being driven by the seasonality factors listed above. So why does this matter? Having the right customer-focused cadence allows you to: maximize sales at your maximum price; preserve competitive advantage to the last possible moment; maintain sales velocity by adjusting your marketing mix to the season; actively and collaboratively capitalize on your channel’s planning and actions as they follow their targeted customer segments’ seasonality; actively manage your inventory to reduce cost-of-capital and price-protection exposure; and preserve profits during product transitions. Product management is more than a job title, it is a cross-organization discipline; and Appleton Greene’s Product Management consulting service is ready to work with you to use your customers’ seasonality to define and implement a customer-facing business cadence and processes that enables optimal product and product portfolio results.


Appleton Greene & Co Global 5

Solution Delivery

 As noted above, Services Objectives 01 – 03 above focus on the Business Planning function and how the product management function supports anticipating the target market, competitor and ideal solution evolution over time to enable your organization to proactively adapt and stay relevant to target customers. The Solution Delivery Objective is all about your product management function’s ability to translate Business Planning outputs and solution-specific tactical customer research into actionable specifications, objectives and tactics for implementation and ultimately deliver of one or more immediate total customer experience solutions, and the supporting processes, policies and actions required the across that solution’s product lifecycle enabling consistent profitable delivery. The assessment can include: cross-functional planning processes for requirements gathering and trade-offs addressing solution definition, demand generation, purchase process, solution fulfillment, and customer satisfaction; the functional capability assessment process addressing requirements, ability to deliver and gap reconciliation process; ongoing customer experience communication flows across the vertical functions; assessment of strategies and processes that ensure synchronization across the vertical functions; alignment of the solution lifecycle to customer seasonality and the enablement of optimal processes and policies by lifecycle phase; the solution transitions process (obsolescence, pre-launch and launch) for profitably migrating from solutions in the market today to coming next generation solutions; indirect channel account planning; and identification of potential gaps and “white space” breakdowns between vertical functions during solution delivery and management. The output of this objective is an unbiased SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely) assessment and potential corrective actions for your organization’s solution delivery processes. Consulting services for potential corrective actions to improve solution delivery results can include: process creation or modification; policy creation or modification; creation or modification of tools, deliverables and communication flows; training delivery.


Appleton Greene & Co Global 6

Effective Metrics

 The Effective Metrics objective focuses on the use of metrics to enable consistent successful delivery of your total customer experience. It is well understood that metrics drive behavior and so establishing a correct metrics system for customer experience is critical to sustainable success. As previous discussed, customers focus on the value an organization’s solution delivers based on their perception of the experience and unfortunately customers don’t care about an organization’s internal trials, tribulations, or costs that the organization incurs in that delivery. This means that your metrics set needs to include both a well-defined set of customer-driven effectiveness metrics and a corresponding set of internal efficiency metrics for a delivering superior customer experience while maintaining or increasing your profitability. These two sets of metrics need to be tightly interlocked and ideally cascade from the customer experience set into the internal delivery efficiency set. The challenge many organizations can have with metrics can include: the customer gets “lost” in establishing metrics; the metrics didn’t evolve with changing market and customer expectations over time; metrics reporting is more of a “grab bag” set of metrics than a cascading structure to enable context and subsequent drill-down for root cause diagnosis; lack of common understanding about what the defined metric indicates and how it is calculated; lack of governance allowing metrics to devolve into a set of “be interesting to also see” meaningless metrics that mask the critical few; metrics that only present isolated snapshots versus meaningful trends; conflicting metrics that cause conflicting actions between departments or functions; lack of anticipating the behavior or side effects the metric may drive; ineffective time sampling either delivering “noise” through oversampling or through delayed sampling missing a critical emerging trend. The Effective Metrics assessment can include: are the right metrics being reported to the right audience, is the sample rate correct; are the metrics customer-driven or “noise” that distracts; are the metrics showing trends or just a snapshot that may be aberration versus developing situation; do the metrics logically cascade to enable a “drill down” to actionable root cause diagnosis and correction; are the communication flows delivering the right actionable metrics to the right audience; is there an effective governance process for metrics creation and modification; and is the right owner held accountable for a metric. The output of this objective is an unbiased SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely) assessment and potential corrective actions for your organization’s effective metrics process. Consulting services for potential corrective actions to improve metrics results can include: metrics definition or redefinition, development or clarification of how the metrics cascade; metrics process creation or modification; metrics governance creation or modification; creation or modification of tools, deliverables and communication flows; training delivery.