On Saturday, October 29th, employees of ReadyTalk, including myself, had the pleasure of attending the second annual Rocky Mountain Product Marketing Camp at the Tivoli Center in Denver. While the lack of traditional camping activities had initially made me question my bringing a guitar and S'more ingredients, the long list of collaborative and educational sessions focused on Product Management and Product Marketing made the one-day camp a worthwhile experience.
With 13 sessions (including the opening keynote) available, I've detailed some of our favorite takeaways from self-stylized "unconference" below:
- Participant driven sessions: Participants, prior to the start of the free conference, were allowed to vote for what sessions they wanted to fill the twelve session time-slots. The twelve sessions with the most votes were these sessions offered through the day, providing attendees with a large influence on the overall tone of the conference.
- Customers make the brand: Gerry O'Brion's keynote on "What big brands know" showcased some sharp ideas on how to simplify your product marketing by focusing on what your product's distinctive competency is and reminding everyone that in the digital age, your brand is never more than the sum of your customers interactions with your product or service.
- Customer loyalty is influenced most by delivering on expectations: When looking at the business-to-business segment, customers rated what influenced them the most in terms of product loyalty. Brand accounted for about 15% of their overall customer experience while their sales experience accounted for 53% of their overall customer experience. Most customers surveyed cited that their satisfaction with a product was controlled by their initial experience with their sales person and how well the experience matched with expectations presented early on in their relationship as a customer.
- Product Owners should focus more time on customer interaction: Steve Jobs was unique. Product Owners should rely more on customer interactions than intuition and impulse as we look at improving the future of Product Management.
- Innovators should be troublemakers: While thinking outside the box may sound cliche (because it is), innovation isn't a simple process. There's an inherent comfort in doing what's been proven to work historically. Challenging the status-quo requires resolve and dedication to your idea, not just creating an idea outside of a proverbial box.
While the above certainly isn't a comprehensive list of all of the great takeaways from last Saturday's sessions based on the unique format of this year's Rocky Mountain Product Camp, I'm looking forward to seeing the annual "unconference" make a permanent foothold in the Denver region over the next few years.
Did we miss any key takeaways from this years Product Camp? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this year's Product Camp or on Product Management & Marketing in general below in our comments field.
Brandon Hess works at ReadyTalk as a Product Marketing Manager. Starting his initial career as a web designer, Brandon eventually decided that the web could design itself just fine and that his true interest was in marketing. Following his passion through the agency, startup and newspaper industries, he eventually found his way home inside the wonderful walls of ReadyTalk. In his free time, he enjoys debating why Lord of the Rings is superior to Harry Potter, collecting all things Batman and answering questions about his height (6'8" by the way).