In this era of lean startups and enterprises, there are a plethora of positive examples of companies that have succeeded in product development.
One thing that they all have in common is that they all made a sound product strategy beforehand.
So if you’re also looking to emulate their success, we’ve prepared a guide that will help you create a product strategy that will bring your product vision into the realm of reality.
Definition of a Product Strategy
Creating a product strategy means bridging the gap between your own vision of the product and the actual realization of it. As you’ve probably already learned from experience, having a good idea doesn’t always translate into actually realizing it. After all, there are many visionaries in the world, but not that many inventors.
A product strategy describes the steps you need to take to develop your product. Any good product that wants to have high usability is one created to solve the problems of its target customers, as well as the scaling of a business.
Your product strategy should be the spine of your product development process. In its essence, it should answer these three important questions:
- Who is the customer base?
- How will this product solve the customer’s pain points?
- How will this product help your company grow and gain authority in its niche?
Without answers to these questions, your product development process will be in jeopardy of failing, due to disorganization and lack of a clear vision.
A well-made product strategy acts as a blueprint for your product development process and helps you gain quantitative and qualitative data that will inform the rest of your development process.
Your product strategy shouldn’t necessarily inform all the steps of your process. Rather, it serves as a reference point, so you have something to come back to later in the development process and remind yourself of your vision and goals.
Glossary of Terms for Successful Product Strategies
Although no two product strategies are the same, most of them do contain common building blocks such as:
- A vision statement: This statement should present your ideal product goals, and how it helps your business improve. Don’t go overboard with it – it should be understandable enough for everyone in your interdisciplinary team to understand and implement.
- A timeline of your strategy: This shouldn’t be as long as a product road map, which goes much deeper into details and deadlines. It should simply contain your estimation of how long it’ll take for your team to accomplish the main goals.
- Business Objectives: Business objectives serve to remind you that you’re developing your product to scale your business.
- A defined target audience: Incorporate your marketing team to develop buyer personas. By creating buyer personas, you’ll have a clearer picture of your ideal customer profile, so you’ll know how to better optimize your product.
- Product objectives: These goals refer to the key problems your product will try to solve. Product objectives remind your team of the product development priorities, so they can collaborate better and solve problems on their own.
- Measurable outcomes and metrics: To help you not lose sight of the outcome, measurable data should be collected and analyzed. Both quantitative and qualitative data will bring you closer to your objective.
All of these terms should find a place in your strategy and act as its foundation.
Top 5 Tips for Creating a Great Product Strategy
Now that we’ve covered your basic product strategy vocabulary, we’ll move to the top 5 things you should do to ensure your product has a sound strategy.
Define Your Product Vision
Many people tend to confuse product vision and product strategy, but they aren’t actually the same thing. The product vision is what fuels the product strategy. It inspires it, while the strategy serves as your reference point that you’ll keep returning to as you move through the development process.
Here are some things to bear in mind when establishing your vision – What are your long-term goals? Where is your company heading? Do you have an idea where you want your product to go once it’s launched? And what’s your motivation? The best products are developed by teams who have an emotional stake in the process.
Identify Your Target Market
A product that targets literally everyone is not good. You’ll have a better chance of success if you’re honest with yourself and aim just for a segment of the wide market.
If you’re a B2C company, some of the things you’ll need to specify are the income levels of your target audience, their age, occupations, and personal characteristics. On the other hand, B2B businesses need to establish the industries they’re targeting, as well as the size of their target companies.
Accumulate Useful Data
A successful product is built based on data. Behavioral analysis of your product data will let you know which of your existing product features mean the most to your customers. These details then provide a foundation for defining a new product and its audience.
No matter if you’re a business developing its first or twentieth product, you will still benefit from a data-informed product strategy.
Create a Product Roadmap
A strategic roadmap goes more into detail on deadlines than a product strategy. It answers the “why” and “what” of what you’re building. Since it’s filled with detailed knicks and knacks, a helpful step in this portion of creating a strategy would be to hire an expert product development consultancy that will guide you seamlessly through the process.
Your product roadmap gives the strategic direction of your product. It also addresses the interests of both your internal and external stakeholders since they play a vital role when it comes to your motivation to meet deadlines on time.
Define Your Market Approach
The very last segment of your product strategy should outline how you plan on bringing your product to the market. For instance, you may choose to target a smaller portion of customers – one that has the most experience with the problem you’re trying to solve.
Or, you may target a wider audience by providing a free demo use of your product. Later on, you can monetize your product by providing premium features.
The ideas we discussed above will help your product strategy whether you’re a startup or a well-developed enterprise. Building a product that no one will use is less likely with a solid product strategy. It can ultimately help you avoid investing time and money in a failed venture.