A product specialist is in charge of overseeing a product’s entire life cycle. Many aspects of the product’s life cycle are involved, including technical development, marketing and promotion, and staying up to date on the product’s competitive position. As part of his or her job responsibilities, the product specialist may provide training to other employees or vendors. He or she may also create business plans relating to the product’s development and potential for growth.
Product specialists are subject matter experts in many ways. They absorb information about the technical specifications and functions of a product line. It’s possible that future product design development will fall under their purview. In addition to product knowledge, a broad understanding of the product category and competing products, including substitutes, is acquired. It’s possible that training materials will be created and presented to customers or vendors.
The product specialist’s job includes a significant amount of marketing and promotion of the product line. He or she must be able to determine where in the product’s life cycle the product is. A higher level of promotional efforts will be required if it is in the early stages of introduction or growth. In order to best serve the market’s anticipated needs, distribution strategies may need to be evaluated, developed, or changed.
A product specialist considers not only the short-term development of a product line, but also its long-term development. When developing a marketing strategy, keep in mind that sales are expected to decline in the next five years. In order to reduce manufacturing costs, potential technical enhancements could be included in the long-term strategy, or different suppliers could be chosen.
In order to forecast production capacity, a product specialist might collaborate with the company’s manufacturing plant manager or production executives. In order to ensure adequate inventory levels, data on expected unit sales, including adjustments for seasonality or promotional incentives, would be shared. To obtain this type of information, a thorough examination of the market’s needs and purchasing patterns would be carried out.
Product specialists keep a close eye on competitor activity. They want to make sure that they’re responding strategically to market share losses and product category trends making changes to their product strategies. If a product is nearing the end of its life cycle and is in decline, distribution channels may need to be adjusted to target a niche market. If a major competitor introduces a product enhancement, such as a new flavoring, the product specialist may propose a counter response if the company has sufficient resources.