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It's time to develop your next product — but you're scared.
You've heard that product strategy is important, but you're not sure where to start. You don't want to invest time and resources into something that won't pay off.
Product mistakes are tough to recover from.
That's why we created a step-by-step checklist that walks you through the questions you need to ask to optimize your product strategy.
But, before we get into the checklist, let's answer a crucial question:
The short answer is: Yes.
No matter how small or simple your product is, you need a strategy to guide your decisions and keep you on track.
At its core, product strategy is about making choices. What features should your product have? How should it be priced? What channels should you market it through?
These are the types of questions that product strategy can help you answer.
Without a strategy, your product will lack focus and direction. You'll be more likely to make costly mistakes, and you'll struggle to compete in today's crowded marketplaces.
For example, let's say that you've just launched a new SaaS that helps teams manage their work online.
You're in a hyper-competitive industry with hundreds of products. How do you stand out?
If you don't have a product strategy, you'll be more likely to:
All of these choices will hurt your chances of success.
On the other hand, if you have a product strategy, you can:
Creating a product strategy can seem daunting, but it's worth it. With a strategy in place, you'll be able to make better decisions, faster.
Now that you know why you need a product strategy, it's time to start optimizing your current strategy.
We'll walk you through some of the questions you need to ask during your strategy development process. Each question is designed to help you improve a different element of your product strategy.
Let's dive in:
Every successful strategy starts with goal-setting.
Without goals, you're like a ship without a rudder — you'll sail in circles and get nowhere fast.
Your product goals should answer a few questions:
Your goals should be specific, measurable. For example, if your goal is to increase product usage, you might measure the number of active users over a period.
Once you have your goals in place, it's time to start planning how you'll achieve them.
Once you know your goals, it's time to start thinking about the initiatives you'll need to undertake to achieve them.
Initiatives are the specific steps you'll take to reach your goals.
They could be things like:
Initiatives can be big or small, but they should all answer these questions:
Once you have a list of initiatives, it's time to start allocating resources and setting deadlines.
Now that you have a plan, it's time to create a timeline that will help you track your progress.
Your timeline should answer these questions:
A timeline can help you stay on track and make sure that you're making progress towards your goals.
Pricing is the cornerstone of any product strategy.
The wrong pricing can doom a product, no matter how good it is.
But pricing can be tricky — it's not always easy to find the right price point.
There are a few things to consider when setting your price:
Pricing is complex, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer. But by asking yourself these questions, you'll be able to find a pricing strategy that works for you.
Product positioning is how you want your product to be perceived by your customers. It's not about what your product is. It's about what your product represents.
For example, Apple is known for making high-quality, expensive products.
Samsung, on the other hand, is known for making affordable products that are still high quality.
Your positioning can be affected by many factors, including:
And many more.
At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide how you want your product to be perceived. But it's important to think about it early in the product development process, so you can make sure your product is positioned correctly.
Some helpful questions include:
Design and positioning go together — the way your product looks can have a big impact on how it's perceived by customers.
When you're designing your product, you need to think about what type of image you want to project.
Your design should send a clear message to your customers about what your product is and what it represents.
It's also important to make sure that your product is easy to use and meets the needs of your target audience.
Your product's name is important, and it should be chosen carefully.
The name of your product can affect how customers perceive it, so it's important to choose a name that represents your product accurately.
It's also important to make sure that the name is easy to remember and easy to spell.
Some helpful questions to ask include:
The name of your product is one of the first things potential customers will see. So make sure you choose a name that accurately represents your product and leaves a positive impression.
When you're designing your product, you need to think about the features you want to include.
The features of your product can impact its price, its positioning, and how it's perceived by customers.
It's important to think about what your target audience wants in a product, and then build your features around that.
Some helpful questions to ask include:
When you're designing your product, it's important to think about features that will appeal to your target audience.
Make sure you include the features that are most important to them, and make sure they're easy to use.
Now that you've looked through all these questions, it's time to put them together to create your product strategy.
Start by evaluating your product and your competition. Then, think about your company's strengths and weaknesses, and how you can use them to your advantage.
After that, think about your target audience and what you want them to think about your product.
Finally, put it all together to create a strategy that will help you reach your target audience and achieve your business goals.
Product strategy requires many things to think about. By using the questions above, you can create a strategy that's tailored to your specific product and your target audience.
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