Introducing David Beeston, our Head of Product Services
We caught up with our new Head of Product Services, David Beeston, and talked to him about his career to date, his vision for the role, and what he'll bring to the business...
I’m looking forward to working with the team to build on that, to drive engagement with our customers to unlock the potential in their businesses.
David Beeston, Head of Product Services
Tell us about your career to date and how you become involved in product development?
My first exposure to product management came around organically very early in my career. I worked with a financial services start-up going through exponential growth, where I became a subject matter expert in a specialist area. I recognised an opportunity to implement technology that could drastically improve the way the business operated, managed to persuade the leadership team to give me the green light, and then became its product manager.
More recently, I've spent the last 10 years or so as a freelance contractor helping brands such as Avios, giffgaff, Telefonica, The Body Shop, and Tui implement innovative digital products and services to help drive growth.
What do you think it takes to make an excellent Head of Product Services?
I think being relentlessly curious about the needs and problems of customers is key for anyone in the product management space to understand where the opportunities are. Leading Product Services from an agency perspective makes that doubly important. We need to understand our customers and develop and grow services that help our clients understand their customers.
Being collaborative is also fundamental to driving innovation forward. Uniting teams around a shared vision, empowering them to explore opportunities and then working together to make them a reality drives transformation.
One of the most challenging aspects is mastering the art of prioritisation. Being able to think critically about the available options, deciding what to pursue and what NOT to pursue at that time is key. Resources are always limited, so prioritising the things that will have the most impact whilst balancing tactical and strategic initiatives is essential to success.
You have worked with some leading brand names, including The Body Shop, Telefonica and Tui Travel – what do you think makes these successful in what they do?
Each of those brands is a success in its own right and for very different reasons. One common theme in all of them is that they desire to innovate and bring new services and experiences to their customers. They all recognise the value of brand advocacy. They want lifetime relationships with their customers and focus on engaging with them in new and meaningful ways.
What do you feel the most important elements of a brilliant product or service are?
Primarily it needs to solve a customer problem really well. Ultimately every product or service is designed to help someone to achieve something. Solving that problem in the best possible way is usually a great starting place.
It also has to find the sweet spot for generating the right amount of value for customers, but at the right cost. It’s about maximising the net benefit and making sure the value proposition is clear and understood. Then it’s about ensuring that product or service mass appeal with the potential to scale.
What’s your favourite product of all time?
For me, this one is easy, the original iPhone. It showed the world that focusing on customer experience can bring incredible success.
Up until that point, it felt (to me) like mobile phone manufacturers were in spec-sheet wars, each trying to one-up each other in some minor way. We also had some crazy looking devices in an attempt to stand out from the crowd (I’m looking at you, Nokia 7600), but many of those felt like designs without purpose. None of those things focused on what mattered most – the experience. The original iPhone was packed with innovation exclusively focused on revolutionising the user experience, and it took the world by storm.
What do you feel you bring to Fresh Egg in order to help our customers the most?
With Fresh Egg, it really feels like it’s building on what’s already there. We already have a hugely talented team with diverse experiences who are wholeheartedly customer focused. I’m looking forward to working with the team to build on that, to drive engagement with our customers to unlock the potential in their businesses.
If you had to pitch a new product in Dragon’s Den, what would it be?
Most of the 'brilliant' ideas I’ve had in the past turn out to be not as original as I’d hoped. Everything from dreaming of levitating trains using magnets to reduce friction, which it turns out was patented in 1905 and in production well before I ‘came up’ with the idea one evening in my early teens, to people listing their own homes.
Whatever the product, it would almost certainly be something that solved a problem I personally have. If you are going to invest your own money in an idea, I think it’s important to have a connection to the problem it’s solving.
What tips would you have for anyone looking to get into product development?
I personally found getting a broad experience to be really valuable. When working with people from various specialisms, it’s important to understand and appreciate their perspective, techniques, and degree, the language they use.
Always focus on the problem you are trying to solve, what benefit is being generated, and keep the customer at the forefront of your mind. If you can get involved with a customer-focused business, then that really helps. And lastly, have the courage to ask questions and challenge the status quo; innovation cannot exist without change.
What do your friends think you do for a job?
It’s embarrassing, but many of them really don’t even have a clue what I do. One of them recently told a mutual friend I was in logistics! Most understand I help businesses improve the products and services they offer – which is close enough.
What are you looking forward to most about working at Fresh Egg?
There’s quite a lot of change for me joining Fresh Egg. For starters, it’s my first permanent role in nearly a decade, so I’d be lying if I didn’t say ‘paid holiday’ as something I’m looking forward to! On a more serious note, I’m personally motivated by adding value, so I’m really looking forward to working with the business to better understanding our customer’s needs and driving growth for Fresh Egg and our customers.
And finally, what is your favourite way to eat an egg?
Nothing beats a really good poached egg.