Before you start building a product, you’ll need to have a solid plan - or a product strategy.
Product strategy is the foundation of the entire product lifecycle and it’s supposed to give you guidelines on what you are building, why you are building it and how.
Aside from being a plan for building the product, product strategy should provide direction to the product manager and the whole team and set out the steps necessary to turn the product into success.
As such, it involves all aspects of product creation:
A great product strategy should define the following:
Product vision should determine the ‘Why’ behind your product. Why are you building this exact product and why should people care about it? It should capture the essence of what you want to accomplish with your product, and how it will improve the lives of the people using it.
Then it’s time to answer the question ‘Who’. Who is going to be using your product? For this, you’ll need to determine the target market - the segment of people who will be most likely to use and buy your product, and you’ll need to define your customer persona - your ideal customer, together with their goals, challenges, buying motivation and objectives.
This will be crucial to decide how your product will look, how you will communicate with your audience, where you will reach them, etc.
Product positioning means defining how your product fits into the marketplace. Rather than doing something to the product itself, product positioning is the messaging, how you’re going to present your product to the world, and how your audience will perceive it.
However, the most important thing about positioning is to be realistic - positioning is not about how you describe your product, it’s ultimately how your users perceive it.
Product differentiation should answer the following questions: How does your product differ from other similar products on the market. What are its unique values that would motivate your customers to choose your product over another one?
To be able to do proper product differentiation, you’ll need to do a thorough competitive analysis to get to know your competition and realize how you could outshine them.
Lastly, product strategy includes product goals and initiatives. Goals should be clearly defined, measurable and time-bound that will help you and your team understand what you want to achieve with the product. After that, it’s time to define Initiatives, which are the high-level efforts that will be necessary to achieve the goals you’ve set.
Product strategy will be your guide throughout the whole product creation process and essential for both inbound and outbound product management. That’s why strategy is important for the whole team and should be visible to the stakeholders.
In this chapter, we’ll define the best practices for setting out product strategy and explain how you can create a detailed, transparent strategy that will help the whole team know where your product is headed and how you’re planning to get there.