February 13, 2024
min read

Why a solid product strategy is the first essential your new product will need

You want to create a killer product that dominates the market? Then you need a solid product strategy. I know, I know. The word "strategy" makes you want to take a nap on your ergonomic keyboard. But stay with me here.

Marc Meyer

A good product strategy is the difference between changing the world and fading into obscurity. One of the main differentiators between an agency and a product studio (like Eli5) is the ability to be more than just a production house for clients. We actively think about your value proposition, push back on features that we do not believe in (yet), and challenge you on your business model. Put in simpler terms, we are Gordon Ramsay whereas others are microwaves.

To give you an idea of what it’s like to work with Eli5, today’s blog outlines some ideas on what to keep in mind strategically when thinking of building a digital product. But first, a short reminder of what a product studio is: product studios are companies dedicated to helping businesses create and launch digital products. These studios have teams of experts across disciplines - designers, developers, product managers, and strategists - who use agile approaches and the latest technologies to build bespoke, high-quality digital products tailored to each client's specific needs.

First things first - what the heck is a product strategy anyway? A product strategy is a high-level plan that defines your product goals and how your product will support overall business goals. It answers who the product will serve and how it will uniquely benefit those users. The strategy also guides product roadmap priorities. The best product strategies have a few key ingredients:

  • Purpose - Don't just build stuff for the sake of building stuff. Your product needs a reason to exist beyond itself. Figure out what problem it solves or need it fulfills.
  • Know your users - Get inside your customers' heads. Understand how their needs are evolving so your product can evolve with them.
  • Know your ecosystem - Products don't exist in a vacuum. Figure out where your product adds value and removes friction within its larger ecosystem.
  • Anticipate change - Look into your crystal ball. What future trends or disruptions could impact your product?
  • Define actions - Given those likely changes, what must your product strategy do to capitalize on or mitigate them?
  • Measure success - Track progress against key metrics. Otherwise, you won't know if your strategy is working.

Now for the fun part - actually creating a strategy. Connecting the roadmap to the strategy is crucial but challenging. Avoid doing it alone. Have strategic conversations to understand different stakeholders' concerns. Incorporate their feedback into the roadmap. Firstly, the heart of product strategy lies in its purpose. It's not just about what you're building, but the 'why' behind it. This purpose should resonate with your audience, addressing their needs and aspirations. It's about connecting on a human level, not just meeting a market demand.

Then, there's the understanding of the changing market dynamics. The digital landscape is constantly shifting. Anticipate these shifts and align your strategy accordingly. It's not just about being in the game but staying ahead of it.

A successful product strategy also demands a fusion of vision and action. Your corporate vision and mission aren't just fancy words on your website; they should be the DNA of your product strategy. And this strategy should be evident in your product roadmap – a dynamic, living document that evolves as your market and customers do. After the foundation of your product strategy starts to take shape, follow these steps to dot the i’s and cross the t’s:

  • Scope out the competition. Know your enemy. What are competing products' features, pricing, and value props? Figure out what resonates most with your target users.
  • Collaborate with other teams. Get input from across the org. Check your ego and get alignment.
  • Align metrics and the roadmap. Pick key metrics tied to your strategy. Prioritize roadmap initiatives that move those metrics.
  • Communicate the strategy. Get stakeholders excited about the vision. Make sure they understand the "why."
  • Review and refine. Regularly revisit assumptions and data. Make minor course corrections. Don't let your strategy get stale.

Execute on this framework, and you'll be well on your way to creating the next big thing unless you work at a boring company hawking enterprise software. Then God help you.

Marc Meyer

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