October 12, 2017

Product strategy: What to avoid for a perfect product strategy

What is a good product strategy? It is not about following your competitors. It’s not about all the features you want to add either. It definitely is not what your sales team needs to close the next deal. Rather, it outlines how customer needs and business strategy will be fulfilled through a product offering, according to siriusDecisions.

You start with customer needs which is crucial to your product. The product strategy needs to be designed around the customer needs. not about the technology you’re building or the markets you’re disrupting. It’s essentially about what your customers need.

For the business strategy, it gets tricky as the different strategies going on (sales, product, marketing, etc.) might not be perfectly aligned. Most of the time this is due to internal miscommunication. You always need to focus on choosing the best ideas that will help you better prioritize and optimize your resources.

Product strategy's most important elements:

Market (Target market and needs)

  • DON’T say that your product fits everyone because, at the end of the day, you need to start somewhere.
  • DON’T say that your product is made for a very-narrow-too-specific segment. You need a bigger audience than that.
  • DON’T forget that you always need to be aligned with the other departments (the product-marketing-sales trio)

Business (How it relates to company’s strategy and Portfolio)

  • DON’T forget your company’s overall strategy. Make sure it’s all clear and that everything you do is aligned with it.
  • DON’T forget about the company’s core strategic priorities. It’s easy to get carried away when you have so many ideas, but it might hurt the company in the long run.

Product (How the product meets the needs)

  • DON’T lose track of your competitors. Keep the list running and updated at all times.
  • DON’T focus a lot on differentiating the low-value elements of your product. Make sure you’re improving your most valuable features. The ones your customers care about the most.
  • DON’T stop at differentiating the easy aspects of your product or the go-to-market strategy. Innovate, innovate, innovate.

Delivery (How to create and deliver the product)

  • DON’T start determining your “routes to market” till later in the process. Figure things out early on to make sure you know how to get to your customers properly.
  • DON’T miss out on how your customers want the product delivered. Delivery channels are so important to your conversion rates.

Results (Metrics of success)

  • DON’T slack on defining our success metrics. Get them set up early on to better assess your progress towards your goal.
  • DON’T set metrics you’re not 100% sure of. Changing metrics can mess up everything you’re working on.
  • DON’T forget about your “measurement systems”. You need them to measure your metrics after all.
  • DON’T set metrics that are not aligned to your business impact.

Good product strategies are about thinking in the terms of long-run, high-level, and alignment with the company’s different departments.