Chapter 06 - Product and Brand Strategy
Product improvement is a top-level management decision, but the information needed
to make the improvement decision may come from the consumer or the middlemen.
A discussion of product improvement would not be complete without taking into
account the benefits associated with benchmarking, especially as they relate to the
notion of the extended product, the tangible product along with the whole cluster of
services that accompany it.
The formal definition of benchmarking is the continuous process of measuring
products, services, and practices against those of the toughest competitors or
companies renowned as leaders.
It is an effective tool organizations use to improve on existing products, activities,
functions, or processes.
Benchmarking can assist companies in many product improvement efforts, including:
oBoosting product quality
oDeveloping more user-friendly products
oImproving customer order-processing activities
oShortening delivery lead times
IV. Organizing for Product Management
Whether managing existing products or developing new products, organizations that are
successful have one factor in common—they actively manage both types.
Under a marketing-manager system, one person is responsible for overseeing an entire
product line with all of the functional areas of marketing such as research, advertising,
sales promotion, sales, and product planning.
This type of system is popular in organizations with a line or lines of similar products or
one dominant product line.
Sometimes referred to as category management, the marketing manager system is seen as
being superior to a brand manager system because one manager oversees all brands within
a particular line, thus avoiding brand competition.
Under a brand-manager system, a manager focuses on a single product or a very small
group of new and existing products.
Successful new products often come from organizations that try to bring all the capabilities
of the organization to bear on the problems of customers.
This requires the cooperation of all the various functional departments in the organization.
Thus, the use of cross-functional teams has become an important way to manage the
development of new products.
A venture team is a popular method used in such organizations as Xerox, Polaroid, Exxon,
IBM, Monsanto, and Motorola.
A venture team is a cross-functional team responsible for all the tasks involved in the
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