Product Management in Financial Institutions
Product management guru Joven Reyes discussed the vital role of product management in today’s corporate world before BMAP members recently at the AIM Conference Center Manila, imparting his knowledge on the topic polished by a career spanning more than 30 years.
“Product management is the process of leading and coordinating the activities of an organization throughout the life cycle of a product to build its volume, market share & profitability. The role of the product manager does not stop at the product’s maturity. His role is entails a continuous effort to improve the product in accordance with the consumers’ needs,” Reyes told his audience.
Reyes has been in the sales and marketing field for over thirty six years, nearly three decades of which were spent with multinational companies. After graduating valedictorian from the Harvard Business School, Reyes rose through the ranks in fast-moving consumer goods companies such as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and pharmaceutical distribution firm Zuellig. He has been credited for launching and building Citibank’s credit cards. He also served as president/chief executive officer and country manager of AIG PhilAm Bank. He is now the president of Philippine Veterans Bank Card Corporation.
He also shared his experience in handling brands with Procter & Gamble. He said the development of a product stems from the consumers’ needs. “In the case of laundry soaps, consumers’ want it to clean clothes. There were laundry soaps that can clean clothes but would require a lot of effort from the consumers. Product innovation took place to address the changing needs of the consumers” he recalled. He said P&G developed detergent products that could efficiently and quickly clean clothes.
He reminded the product managers in the audience on their responsibilities. “[Your] role is coordinative. You have responsibility, but not line authority,” he said. In the case of financial institutions, the product manager coordinates with different teams within and beyond his organization like IT, advertising agency, risk management, audit, operations, etc.
He emphasized the critical role of top management support in product development and management. “For product management to take root and work in a bank, mandate from the top or CEO support is essential. The rest is up to the product managers,” he said.
“There are many ways to organize product management in a bank. Product managers must be able to earn the trust and respect of the rest of the organization through their skills and competence,” he said.