Collingwood welcomed Sally Foote, VP of eCommerce at GoCompare and Laura Jenner the Director of Product Management & UX at GlobalData Media to share ideas with our own CPO, Jen Thoroughgood and Practice Lead for B2B Information Andy Baker at our most recent webinar on ‘Product thinking for media and events businesses’.
A live poll revealed that around 40% of the webinar audience had almost no experience of product management as a function, while a further 30% had an established product team – leading to a wide range of questions and discussion points for our seasoned panel.
Here are five of the best quotes:
Product thinking is open to anyone
You don’t need a product manager to do product thinking. It starts with the question ‘why’: what problem do we need to solve and for whom. Motivate people who are responsible for developing product by giving them a problem to solve, not a solution to build.
Think of product management like a hub connecting spokes
Or the connective tissue holding a company together. The ‘squad’ you need to deliver at different stages of the product lifecycle may change, but product management should bring together the right stakeholders from across the business to make it work.
Some of the biggest wins come from getting people together to talk about solutions
Give your teams customer contact hours, fortnightly squad reviews, ideation hibs and business-specific hackathons to understand the market and spark creativity. Every member of your team has a role to play in product development. Finding ways to empower your team to share ideas in a constructive way will power solutions.
Is what you’re trying to solve a problem for your audience or for your business?
You don’t need to re-invent the wheel each time to drive value for your audience. Keep tests small but plan for scale. Creating efficiencies in products and templates will allow you to keep more powder dry for niches and new opportunities.
Product thinking is a mindset, not a skillset
This role didn’t exist 15 years ago. Look for curious people who are creative and great communicators. Your product team needs to thoroughly understand the business needs, manage a lateral team with differing needs, sell to stakeholders and understand your market in order to create the right solution for your problem.
- Andy Baker, Collingwood Advisory (Moderator)
- Sally Foote, GoCompare
- Laura Jenner, GlobalData Media
- Jenefer Thoroughgood, Collingwood Advisory
Here’s the recording:
Andy Baker (Moderator), Director at Collingwood Advisory. Andy Baker is Director & Practice Lead, B2B Information at Collingwood Advisory. Previously, Andy was Managing Director of The Lawyer 2017-2021, and a member of the 5-strong Executive Committee of Centaur plc. He led the development of a market-leading subscription and information business, based on double-digit increases in subscriber usage, outstanding retention rates and yield increases, market penetration gains and new data-led product development.
Prior to that, Andy spent 6 years as Managing Director of HSJ, the Health Service Journal. Andy led the team that transformed HSJ from advertising to subscriptions-based, from print-centric to digital-only, and from declining performance to healthy growth. Andy led the sale of HSJ from Ascential plc to Wilmington plc for £19m in early 2017. Andy holds a first degree from Oxford and an MBA from IMD, Switzerland.
Sally Foote, VP eCommerce, GoCompare & Look After My Bills (a Future Company). Sally has been working in digital for over 20 years across publishing, broadcast, eCommerce and even running a boutique product consultancy business. She’s been part of the team behind some high-profile digital product launches including the award winning Times and Sunday Times paywall and BT Sport. As Chief Innovation Officer at Photobox she developed new revenue lines and led an end-to-end team who developed and launched new physical products.
She is currently running marketing and product for GoCompare and Look After My Bills at Future – overseeing brand marketing, CRM and running the performance marketing centre of excellence. She leads on product strategy, development and innovation for both brands.
Laura Jenner, Director of Product Management & UX, GlobalData Media.Currently Director of Product Management at GlobalData Media, Laura has more than 20 years’ experience in online media. She started out as a Sub Editor on GameSpot UK at what was then Ziff Davis, before moving into product development and site management. Later at CBS Interactive she was a B2B product manager for ZDNet and then TechRepublic. She spent six years in the product team at Immediate Media, working on RadioTimes.com and other titles.
Her passion has always been working with and around premium content; finding ways to serve customers with really good content that makes a positive difference to their day/life, and to create tools for editorial teams that help make their work pleasurable and efficient.
Jenefer Thoroughgood, Senior Advisor & Chief Product Officer, Collingwood Advisory. Jenefer is an expert in engaging customers to develop great products. She has over 20 years’ experience in digital media and SaaS. Jenefer’s career spans roles in sales, marketing, product ownership, editorial and customer insight. She held multiple roles at Informa including Managing Editor of Scrip Publishing, Publisher of Agrow and Research & Development Director, and subsequently joined Zapnito as Chief Product & Customer Officer. Jenefer acts as Collingwood Advisory’s Chief Product Officer, and Senior Adviser specialising in customer insights and product development.