Going Green and Niching – How Product Managers Survive Decline


The economic downturn doesn’t last forever, but the boy-oh-boy was hurt when they happened! I am not sure about your product, but my customers who have consulted with me are all trying to find ways to make their products easier for their customers to buy. Are you interested in a few tips on how to do this?

Green Power

We all know that all other things being equal, most customers will choose products that are environmentally friendly (“green products”) than others. Product managers are currently looking for ways to make their products greener to increase sales during difficult economic times.

I believe this all seems very basic to you; However, the real trick for a product manager is exactly HOW you do this. It turns out that there are three things you need to do for your product:

Offer a Broader Range of Green Services: If you suddenly appear and offer one product that you call green, your potential customers might not believe that you are sincere. However, if you add green services to several products simultaneously, then your entire product line will start to look green & feel.

Sharpen Your Message: This is a job that is perfect for product managers. Order your product needs to be “tweaked” so that you work the green component into all of your product communications. No message will convey your message; however, hearing it over and over will make your potential customers believe in your “greenery”.

Find a niche, fill a niche

One important fact that needs to be understood by the product manager is that your product can never be a 100% green product (unless you sell plants, and that’s a different story). Instead, you must choose your green battle. Here’s how to do it:

Find & Master a Niche: Choose a certain way so that your product can be seen as a green color and then develop it in that niche. There are several ways to do this: less electricity usage, smaller carbon footprint, recyclable packaging materials, etc. After you choose a market niche, make sure that your product roadmap includes a plan to expand the way you fill your new green niche.

Monitor Your Product Finance: Product managers know that greening their products takes time. At first you might see less demand for your product especially if you have to increase prices to cover the green features. However, track your finances and you will see sales start again when your green message reaches your potential customers.

Last thought

Being environmentally friendly and then finding a green niche that your product can fill is a way the product manger can remain successful in difficult economic times. You should check whether your market is changing and how your core customer needs are aligned with your company’s current product offerings. Going green is something that customers will not reject and they will be more motivated to buy from you.