The first step to developing a product strategy is spending a good amount of time in defining what your vision is. The vision of your product needs to be at the bounds of what’s imaginable, while still catering to the customer needs. Make sure that your vision is not too specific and there is enough room to iterate. For example, IKEA’s vision “to create a better everyday life for the many people” is not specific to the product they offer today thereby giving them room to expand their products and services.
The second step is to identify an efficient strategy that will help create a pathway to realize your vision. Your strategy needs to describe the target market for your product and the method to achieve those goals. Coming up with an effective strategy involves taking into consideration, the four major components:
Customers: Identify who your customers are and have a strong understanding of their requirements. You must also be willing to accommodate any feedback from your customers into the product. It is also important to do some research about why your customer is using your product, how they are using it, and extract specific usage patterns to better align your product strategy.
Competitors: It is important to position your product to your customer, keeping in mind the competition that exists in the market. Identify your competitors and spend time understanding their product, distribution, business model, strategy and history. This will help you add more features or defining a more relevant product strategy for your customer.
Business: The next important aspect is to identify how the product will make money and achieve business goals for your organisation. Understand the trends of, and the trade-offs between business-models and define how you will make money in a realistic way.
Macro Environment: The macro-environment accounts for the economic, technological, political, and cultural forces that may affect your market and your product over short and long-term. It is important to understand:
Emerging markets where your product may have demand.
Emerging technologies that may impact your customers.
Economic forces that may impact your customers’ budgets or needs.
Evolving customer needs and behaviors.
The vision of your product needs to be at the bounds of what’s imaginable, while still catering to the customer needs.
Iterating on Your Product Strategy: If you go out with an immovable plan, your plan is almost inevitably going to fail. And if you spend too much time developing your strategy, it may be outdated before you get to the market with the product.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while creating a product strategy:
Once you find the product-market fit, your strategy should be focused on growing within your market and exploring adjacent markets.
Adapt your product to the unique needs of customers as you scale to new markets across the world.
Get feedback from your customers throughout the product life-cycle.
Run surveys, interview users, and build and test prototypes.