The Product Strategy Process
Having a solid strategic foundation for your digital product strategy provides clarity. It also encourages a shared understanding that teams, business units, and organizations need to have in place to move forward and achieve the end goal. Your product strategy might focus on a single product or a suite of products becoming a cross-connected platform depending on your business goals. All digital product strategies include market analysis, journey mapping, persona definition, rapid prototyping, insight analysis, and report recommendations.
Market analysis is a general topic, including the worlds of strategic analysis and market research. To complete a market analysis, you need to segment the market, decide which customers to focus on, and provide the necessary input to develop product propositions. It’s essential to think of market analysis as an ongoing cycle of activity. As the markets change and new competitors enter the field, you need to evolve your digital product strategy.
When starting market research, you’ll need to identify the focus given to each of these areas according to the challenges being faced with your product.
Journey mapping is a visualization of the process you will take to accomplish a goal. In its most generic form, a journey map begins by collecting a series of user actions and placing them into a timeline. The timeline is then further defined with user emotions and thoughts to create a narrative. The narrative is then condensed and polished, eventually leading to a visualization.
“User journey mapping” and “customer journey mapping” are terms that are often used interchangeably — each reference visualizes an individual using your service or product.
Some argue the term “customer” does a disservice to the overall method, especially for some business-to-business (B2B) products since not all end users are actually customers; some are product buyers. However, alignment on what you are calling the map is less critical than aligning the content within the map.
Journey mapping comes in all sizes and shapes. Regardless of the look, journey maps all have the following five essential elements in common: persona; scenario and expectations; journey phases; actions, mindsets, and emotions; and opportunities.
When you are preparing your market strategy, it’s essential to know who you are going to be selling your services or products to. The first step of your customer’s journey is awareness. During this phase, they become aware of a particular need and start looking for remediation or solution.
If you want to provide a solution to their need, you need to have a solid, contextual understanding of who your customer is and what’s important to them. Exercises used during the development of a buyer persona definition will depend on whether you are selling directly to a consumer or to a business. Typically, the process seeks answers to questions such as:
- What’s the typical demographic makeup of your buyer?
- What is the function of their job, and what role do they have in the buying process?
- What are triggers or challenges driving their need in seeking you out for solutions?
- How do they usually look for information when they research possible solutions
- What is their ideal way of interacting with vendors?
Depending on the complexity of what you’re offering, you may develop several buyer personas. Each persona definition usually requires its own customer journey mapping process.
An approach to software development, rapid prototyping emphasizes fast, iterative development cycles with minimal feature sets. Rapid prototyping’s goal isn’t to develop a product. Instead, its purpose is to build something utilizing a platform or technology to the point that allows you to understand the weaknesses and strengths of that platform or technology as quickly as possible.
Customer insights analysis helps businesses understand their current and potential customers by determining how to go about gathering relevant data. Collecting this information and breaking it down in meaningful ways allows you to identify market trends and identify areas of need not currently being met.
Report recommendations provide several potential solutions to a specific problem and conclude with a final recommendation of the best one. Unlike white papers, report recommendations make a final recommendation that is backed up with evidence and research, making them more overtly persuasive. Report recommendations have the following components:
- The executive summary briefly introducing and summarizing the purpose of the report.
- Problem statement clearly articulating the problem and providing a solid sense of need for the options you’ll be exploring throughout the rest of the report.
- Description of options describing well-planned and creative possible ideas, usually three, for solving the cited problem.
- Evaluation criteria that you are planning to use to evaluate these options.
- Evaluations of each option and determine its ability to address your criteria.
- The final recommendation you think is the best, outlining the reasons why you’re recommending it.
- Conclusion re-emphasizing the final recommendation and suggestions on how the reader can move forward to implementation.
Dom & Tom recognizes it takes a village to create transformative digital products. Product strategies often take the lead with foundational research plans, competitive analysis, and visual representations of the concepts that can be tested and iterated on.
To learn more about Dom & Tom and our digital product strategy options we offer, contact us today.
Our idea of strategy is hands-on and visual; we are future-focused makers. Our playbook gets design, tech, and business working together: Researching, Rapid Prototyping, Validating, and building Product Roadmaps.view case study →
Our idea of strategy is hands-on and visual; we are future-focused makers. Our playbook gets design, tech, and business working together: Researching, Rapid Prototyping, Validating, and building Product Roadmaps.
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