Product Marketing Philosophy
Q & A with Franck
How important is market research? How do you use it to formulate your strategy?
Before designing any product, you’ve got to do some groundwork to look at price range, what has been done, to understand that what you’re trying to create is unique and that you don’t follow someone else’s path. Data helps to define the features that others don’t have that will allow you to shine and be attractive in terms of price point. I do feel that it’s up to you to really go for it, develop the best product in mind (with the team), and it’s not necessary to do focus groups at the early stage. Once the final prototype comes around, then you can get some real feedback to get some answers that may not be about product improvement, but how to communicate the story. Minor details can help refine the design or refine the story.
How do you approach international strategy (emerging markets versus fighting for market share)?
I don’t control too much of sales, but emerging markets usually buy into existing franchise models that are safe bets to build brand exposure on products that already work. For those markets in which we are already established, there are different needs – and sometimes you manage to create one strong product that can fit all in terms of product appeal and it’s just a tweak in colors that will make sure clients in Asia, Europe, or in the US that the people are into. The other factor in each continent, sometimes you have very different trends. So, at this stage, you have to design product with that specific consumer in mind without polluting the process with the idea of trying to satisfy everyone in the world. If I have a client in Japan, I focus only on satisfying that person in Japan. I find that usually you can create something that can be shared that is unique and breakthrough, beyond current trends, across the board in all markets.
When it comes to merchandising product, how do you know which are winners and losers? How does it affect your product line strategy?
I see merchandising as growing plants – it’s organic. You have some products that grow as soon as they’re launched – like quick fashion trends that grow fast and die quickly like leaves. They leave room for other products. The roots of the plants are the franchise – need new colors, features to keep them alive to be sure the whole plant alive. The branches are products that are future trends that will take time to establish. They last for a few years, so make sure that they’re trimmed and encouraged to grow so they’re not forgotten. Every month, you look at sales reports and cut what’s not working anymore and in terms of inventory make it easier and leave room for new-ness.
Market opportunities. How do you recognize an opportunity in the market?
I recognize it when we have an idea and I keep looking to see if it’s out there and when I don’t see it – I try to understand why nobody else has done it before and if there is potential for that idea to grow substantially so that it can generate strong revenue for the company.
How do you balance business growth needs as indicated by investors in relation to creating strong, brand products that are authentic and relevant to consumers?
In terms of designing product, it’s about staying true to what your brand is and who you want to be. Have that in mind. If you start to question if it’s authentic or not, then it’s a path I try to avoid. It may bring a quick profit on the short term, but it will damage brand image on the short term. I’m more into long term growth rather than a quick check from a customer.
How can you tell the difference between a good marketing strategy versus a poor strategy?
For me, a good product strategy is when everything is aligned – product is cleaned, everything is easy to use, then the marketing communication is aligned with the message that is clear, curated, and considered. Everything just makes sense. A poor marketing strategy is two things: 1) The product sucks. 2) They try to just pack it with features that will satisfy everyone and then the message is completely lost and nobody doesn’t understand what it’s about and they don’t understand how to use it because they’re just too much stuff on it.