What is product management? what does it consist of? how does it help to improve the competitiveness of a product? Some of these questions and others I tried to answer in the first post of this same blog but it’s clear that either I wasn’t very clear or it wasn’t very read because people keep asking me what WeMake does. So I will try to explain it better through a case study: Madonna
Product management references have changed over time. In the 1980s, large industrial conglomerates such as GE or Siemens set an example in the handling of various successful products. In the 1990s, it was consumer multinationals such as Nestlé and Procter&Gamble that revolutionised the world with their brand portfolio management. As we entered the new millennium, all the business newspapers highlighted LVMH as the guru of brand/product management, and who would now be the benchmarks in this field? Everyone thinks of Apple as a great brand and product creator, but I think that the ones who are best managing products right now are the sport&artist management companies. Large players such as CAA or Excel mgmt are probably the ones who more intensively deploy all the tools of product management and marketing.
Let’s look at a universal example to illustrate this: Madonna. Some will define her as a singer, others as an artist, perhaps some audacious as an actress but the truth is that she is a global consumer product and very successful by the way.
If you look at Madonna’s career, it fits the classic product development curve very well:
- Introduction: Madonna appeared in the 80s in a dazzling way. Like a virgin and True Blue were his first two mass albums, which were sold for a whopping 21 and 25 million copies respectively.
- Growth: records like Like a prayer or bedtime stories and their associated scandals allowed her to grow and establish herself as a mass idol.
- Maturity: with Ray of light and above all with Confessions… she achieves her zenith: for the first time she brings together mass success and critical recognition. It becomes a musical icon that creates a trend.
- Decline: her latest albums have gone quite unnoticed and, above all, her movements no longer generate a trend.
How has Madonna and her team managed to create this successful product for over 30 years? Here are 3 keys
- Create a good product
Regardless of the musical tastes of each one, it is indisputable that Madonna has always offered a quality product. He has surrounded himself with the best producers, composers, video directors and designers. A good product is not the result of chance but of the work of very good professionals.
- Get to know your customers and position yourself
Madonna’s offer has evolved and adapted to the needs of her audience. Her provocative attitude, styling and even early videos have nothing to do with the sophistication and detail of her mature age.
- Evolve, improve, reinvent yourself
Perhaps only Bowie can compare to Madonna’s capacity for reinvention. With each album, a new and improved product of the successful “Madonna” brand has been created. Each new “product” included not only the music but also new sounds, new aesthetics, powerful videos and even new public and private scandals (which happened to coincide with the product launch periods).
In conclusion, the Madonna brand has been launching successful products on the market for 35 years…we’ll see what its next product upgrade is. I bet on the world tours with a nostalgic wink to attract the 30-50 year old audience who are willing to pay a lot of money to attend perhaps the last tour of the pop queen.