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81% of digitally mature organizations believe innovation is their secret sauce to success. Groundbreaking innovation starts with spectacular products. And products start with product strategies. In other words, your product strategy is a gateway to successful business goals, liquidity, and innovation at scale. Unfortunately, few organizations leverage product strategies correctly.
According to Harvard, 95% of products fail. The simple truth is: building successful products is hard. The goal of any product strategy is to increase your chances of success by making customer-centric products that are value-focused and achievable within a set budget. But why do so many fail?
Today, let’s look at how we reduce failure rates, improve performance, and create more valuable products with our seven-step product strategy.
What is Product Strategy?
To keep things simple, a product strategy is a high-level plan for your future products. Product strategies start with a vision statement and end with growth strategies and minimum valuable products (MVPs). The overall goal of a product strategy is to ideate a product, generate requirements, iterate steps, and elicit feedback from customers. At the end of your product strategy, you should be ready to build, test, and deploy. Depending upon the type of your project, we may dig deeper into the strategy to move to
- Cloud strategy – is cloud good for your business and which cloud provider is the best
- Mobile strategy – in the case of a mobile app, what modules and services are good for mobile apps and its strategy. What platform to launch first, and whether native is better or hybrid and its development approach.
- Growth strategy – is there a chicken-egg limitation in your app and how to overcome it, or what are the effective ways to grow your app
At Technology Rivers, we organize our product strategy into seven distinct stages:
Let us discuss each of them one by one.
A product vision is a statement that describes the purpose of the product and what customer problems it intends to solve. That latter part is incredibly important. 42% of failed startups never solved a customer problem. When building a project, it’s common to seek praise. We want our ideas to be reinforced, and we want positive attention for our hard work. But if you’re only feeding positivity into your product vision, you’re going to run into problems.
The goal of a product vision is to erase your assumptions. It isn’t about how technically advanced your product is or how amazing your product sounds on paper. Your goal is to figure out what your product really is and how it’s going to solve customer issues in a tangible way.
Your product strategy… strategy (we know; it’s a little redundant) captures three major components:
- Your market: Who is buying your product? What’s your buyer’s journey? Who is your target audience? Before you can build a product, you need to know who you’re building it for and what they’re willing to buy.
- Your competitors: What does the market outside of your product look like? Are there competitors with similar offerings? If so, what do you do differently? Chances are, your product won’t exist in a black hole. You need to figure out what makes your product better than your competitors. Then, you should leverage those advantages during the build phase.
- Your goals: Goal-setting is a crucial part of any product strategy. You want to measure the right KPIs and utilize smart, time-based goals that you can consistently iterate upon.
The product scope is all the features and characteristics that make up your product. Obviously, your product scope doesn’t have to refer to tangible goods. SaaS deliveries have product scopes. This phase should address how the product is made, what resources you need to produce or build it, and what types of future iterations could improve your product offering. For apps, product scopes define the responsibilities of those building the app, those administering the app, and those utilizing the app (if it’s an internal business tool.)
During the scoping stage, you need to figure out how to build on the value-driving components of your app. All of the product strategies you laid out in the second phase should assist you in determining what needs to be emphasized in the future.
Product roadmaps are high-level visual outlines that define the short-term and long-term goals of your product. The product roadmap has two goals:
- To define which steps you need to take next during the product development lifecycle
- To explain why each step is necessary and the desired outcomes of those steps
Generally, product roadmaps are used across teams. Your sales and marketing team will utilize the roadmap to create deliverables and convert leads. Your project team will use the roadmap to build out your product. And your C-level will use the roadmap to understand the value of your product across each future iteration.
How are you going to grow? Most products fail at the growth stage. Innovation chambers like to call scale the “valley of death” for a reason: it’s the single most difficult stage. It’s one thing to put out a product that generates interest. It’s another thing to put out a product that can scale up to viability. As your planning growth, you need to be able to answer the following questions:
- What are your high-level goals?
- What future iterations will bring value to your product?
- What inputs and outputs will increase your scale?
- What types of experimentation should you apply to those inputs and outputs?
- How can you increase your products’ market appeal within a set budget?
6. Mobile & Cloud Strategy
57% of customers will avoid business with a poorly designed app or website. 50% of your loyal customers won’t use a product with a bad application. Needless to say, you need a mobile and cloud strategy if you want to launch a successful product. A cloud strategy defines how you’re going to deliver a product via the cloud. This may not be necessary for some consumer products, but it’s an absolute requirement for service-based solutions.
Your mobile application strategy defines how you’re going to build out an app or website based on your product. The viability of your app and your product are intertwined. Both have to succeed if you want to launch with a positive outcome.
Finally, you should use all of these strategies to develop a minimum viable product (MVP). Your MVP helps you generate customer feedback. You want to get your product in front of customers ASAP. Then, you want to use their first impressions to iterate additional steps in your product development lifecycle. The sooner you get input, the sooner you can breed customer-centricity into your product pipeline.
Do You Need a Best-in-Class Product Strategy?
At Technology Rivers, we help businesses build spectacular products. Our product strategy service delivers each of these steps in detail. And, when your strategy is in hand, we can help you build out the product itself. Want to learn more? Contact us.