Best Practices in marketing are shifting right now, and a you need to keep up with that in real time. This is a talk from Anne Marie Beasley of Symantec. There's no time to stop "take the temperature" of the market - you need to make that an ongoing process.
- Stay in touch with your customers
- Anticipate/Respond to your competitors
- Align your organization appropriately - know what you're good at
You need to track customer shifts in needs, behaviors, and buying dynamics. Keeping track of their satisfaction and loyalty is crucial. Understand what your brand actually means to people.
Follow on from the morning talk: the Product Managers at Symantec get a daily report on things that come up in the Blogosphere - the report aggregates content from influential blogs in their segment(s). They do the same thing to track competitors. This allows them to do deep analysis of what their customers and competitors think about the market segment and the product(s).
All of this information is useless if you don't get the information out to your field people (sales/tech sales/etc). You need to turn that information around so that the field knows how to address both the positives and the negatives - and how to react to them. You need to be transparent - everyone else will know about the positives and the negatives already.
You also need to aggregate that information up the food chain to the executive team. Give them a single view of what's happening across the company's offerings. As a product manager, you want to be a strategic advisor by providing a real time pulse of competitive information (from customers, prospects, and competitors).