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The Ultimate Guide to Product Strategy

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Ann Davis is an avid HubSpot-certified Content Marketer in the Technology, Health and Wellness, and Home and Lifestyle niches.

the-ultimate-guide-to-product-strategy

Recently, there has been a breakthrough of innovative or disruptive solutions that positively take people by surprise. Think of Penicillin and how it has revolutionized all medicine. Fleming discovered the antibiotic by accident when he left it in his lab for two weeks. He found that it contained a component that prevented the growth of cultures.

While some products are created “by accident," most require a solid product strategy to achieve the results. This post discusses everything about product strategy and how you can use it for your next product. Additionally, check out customer analysis tools that can help you in defining your target market for the best product strategy.

1. What is a Product Strategy?

2. Why Is a Product Strategy Important?

3. Components of a Product Strategy

4. How to Create a Product Strategy?

What is a Product Strategy?

the-ultimate-guide-to-product-strategy

A product strategy is the roadmap that helps you defines the creation of your product. It enables you to imagine the future of the product by answering the following questions:

  • What is the product’s purpose?
  • How will it help the business achieve its goals?
  • Who will the product benefit?
  • How will it create value?

The answers determine whether or not it is worthwhile to invest in the product.

Why Is a Product Strategy Important?

the-ultimate-guide-to-product-strategy

A product strategy not only helps you visualize the future of your product but also:

Provides Clarity to the Business

You and your product team will be in a better position to deliver the best product when you have a well-thought-out strategy. The marketing team can better articulate the product’s benefits and unique selling proposition. Developers will understand how the individual product features contribute to the overall strategic goals.

Improves Your Tactical Decisions

Implementing the product strategy does not always follow the initial plan. Things change in the process of product development, and managers should be prepared to adjust their plans. Having a product strategy to refer back to makes you better at making strategic decisions.

Helps You Prioritize Your Product Roadmap

Without a clearly defined product strategy, many product teams prioritize the wrong items in product development. A product strategy outlines and streamlines your decisions and limits the misuse of time and resources.

Features of a Product Strategy

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According to Roman Pilcher, a product management expert, there are three product strategy elements.

Market Vision

When creating a product, ask yourself who the target customers and users are, and their needs. Customer needs refer to the problem the users hope to solve by using the product. The term also encompasses

  • Price of the product
  • Functionality
  • Usability
  • Reliability
  • Support
  • Security
  • Effectiveness

Think of a product like Facebook that allows people to keep in touch with their loved ones. You need to determine how you’ll position the product and how it’ll compete against others on the market.

Product Goals

Your goals should be measurable, time-bound, and with clearly defined success metrics. They are the benchmarks you want to realize within a specific period. For example, you probably want to increase your revenue by a particular percentage within a specific period. In other circumstances, is the product goal to help your business venture into new territories?


Product Initiatives

Initiatives revolve around the strategic themes you will derive from your product goals and place them on the roadmap. They are more complex than product goals and must be defined as actionable tasks. Examples of product initiatives include:

  • Upselling new services
  • Boosting customer engagement and satisfaction
  • Increase lifetime customer value
  • Reveal new business opportunities for the company

Steps to Creating a Product Strategy

the-ultimate-guide-to-product-strategy

Creating a product strategy is not always easy. You need to look closely at your product concept and embrace changes in the product design process. For a structured approach in setting a product strategy, here’s how to do a product strategy.

Identify Target Audience

One common reason for startup failure is poor market targeting. It's unfortunate to see that many companies hope to uncover their product strategy after shipping the product to the market. Consequently, they only measure the impact of the product after launching it, which rarely ends well.

The ideal approach is to identify the users of your product first. Once you understand customer needs, you can create a product that solves their problems and adds value.

Listen to Your Target Audience

You can't fully understand your target audience's needs if you don't listen to the users and collect their feedback. This is where user research comes in as an integral part of product design and development. User interviews, surveys, social media trends, and field studies will help you better understand your product users.

Machine learning can help you gain qualitative data in listening to your target market. Use sentiment analyzer tools to check customer requests, opinions, feedback, likes and dislikes.

Define Goals and Visions

An effective product strategy should define the journey or vision of your product. The vision is the big picture that inspires product development. It is the north star for your business models.

When defining the vision, consider:

  • The long-term goals of your business
  • Having an inspiring vision that wins the brain with facts and heart with emotions
  • Using the correct form for your product vision to ensure everyone understands it


Define the Current State and Target Condition

Clearly outline the existing product experience and the ultimate experience you hope to deliver to your product users. This will help you plan the route you need to follow towards positioning your product to the target destination. You can adjust the efforts towards the goal as necessary.

Revisit and Review

Once you have a deep understanding of the ultimate experience you're aiming for, you can always review your plan. With each phase of product development, refer to the product roadmap. This will ensure you stay on course or change any design elements that need to be changed. Remember, you want to create a market-fit product without losing the bigger picture.

You may want to consider using a product strategy canvas to ease your product development process. Product strategy canvasses help a product manager and the team to develop a holistic approach to their strategy. Melissa Perri’s canvas is an excellent place to get started for a high level of accuracy in the process.

Final Thoughts

Your product strategy defines the course you should take in creating the best user experience. Every product you make based on a specific process will produce a more significant user experience and customer satisfaction. Ultimately, you'll also achieve your business goals in the long term. Check out various online tools you can use to ease your product strategy development process.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Ann

Comments

Ann (author) from Nairobi on January 26, 2021:

Thank you Carolyn. Glad you liked the piece!

Carolyn Fields from South Dakota, USA on January 25, 2021:

Very informative. Thank you for sharing.

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