An introduction to digital product & how to get into a product role

I'm Ash Goodwin, the Head of the Product & Technology team at Mane and welcome to my first Digital Product Blog! My aim for this blog is to help more people get into Digital Product and create a positive, informative community where we can learn from each other.

What is Digital Product?

Product is an ever-evolving term - the majority of companies now are becoming Technology Companies whose Product is X - e.g. Expedia was originally a subsidiary of Microsoft until it was sold to USA Networks Inc. in 2001. They are now the largest online travel company in the world and are essentially a technology company and their product is travel!

When thinking of Product it is really easy not to think of an Expedia style product but to think about something we sell, something tangible that we can touch or feel; a Digital Product is much greater than that. Have a think about the last thing you purchased online, think about the Landing Page, search functionality, content and distribution, and the booking/payment tools. They tend to all have Product teams working behind them!

Product itself can be something physical, but it doesn’t have to be. It is created through a specific process which provides a benefit to a particular market – be it a paid product, for example, a dining room table to software-based Product like Microsoft Office to an experience-based product like Instagram.

Equally, you can have a Product within a Product, for instance, somebody can create an algorithm for getting more likes on Instagram – this is a product within a product.

How to get into Product?

It’s a question I often get asked and the answer is always very broad!

1) Sales – You can progress into a Product role via a sales route. From experience, you generally become an Account Manager then an SME on a certain technology-led Product. From there you will understand the technical aspects of the technology product. This doesn’t mean you will need to code but it means you will need to be able to translate technical aspects of the development team

2) IT / Software Development – Developers often progress into a Product role, usually from a technical aspect rather than a “Voice of the Customer” Product role. Equally if you have completed a degree in IT or have works experience in an IT role you can equally progress in to a Product role within the relevant company. Interestingly, companies are offering graduates opportunities as Junior Product Managers to be trained up in this field - a smart move may I add!

3) Digital Marketing – As a Digital Marketing Manager has a rather easy progression into a Product-focused role. Often marketing professionals enter into Product Marketing first, however, many will get into Product Management. My advice for those in Digital Marketing is to try and get into a Product-focused company. Join at a similar level to what you are and work your way up in the business

Keep your eyes open for my next blog will be job role specific starting with Product Analysts.

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I will be glad to answer any questions you have - you can contact me at:

Ash Goodwin, Principal Consultant
Email: a.goodwin@mane.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1923 470 738
https://www.mane.co.uk/information-technology/