Look at any successful product organization today and you can be sure they have a firm handle on their product strategy. This is because their product strategy is what helps them steer their product investment, product planning & future product direction with choices they know will lead to growth and profitability for their business. To do this, these organisations must have a deep understanding of their target market, customer needs, and ability to provide strong product leadership. They must also have a highly tuned set of corporate goals, and they have a clear understanding of how to position themselves and their product line against competitors and alongside market trends.
Considering all of these influencing factors together forms the basis of a product vision and allows you to define a high-level plan for your product which is your product strategy. When you know your product strategy, you know who you product is for and why people will want to buy and use it. You know what your product is and how it stands out against competitors. And you know what your business’ goals are and why it is worthwhile for your company to invest in your product. When you know this your product strategy determines the future direction of all your product efforts and is the basis for executing a product roadmap. It enables you to focus on a specific target market and feature set, rather than investing resources into projects that don’t fit with the strategic goals of your business.
What’s in a Product Strategy?
Defining your product strategy and then using it to build and manage your product roadmap requires a good understanding of your market and corporate strategy. As your product matures and the market evolves you’ll need to consider the the financial performance of your product as well. The basic steps for building and maintaining your product strategy are as follows.
A market review is the first step in defining your product strategy. In this step product management must strive to understand and define the key characteristics of your market. This includes identifying target customers, defining their key customer needs, understanding the competitive landscape and how to position yourself in that competitive space.
Corporate strategy is defined by the executive team and must provide an overarching vision for the business, mid to long term financial goals and a plan for achieving those goals. It must include a strategy for how your company will generate revenue from your product. This could be through geographic expansion, establishing a reseller channel, by investing in new and adjacent markets or building new products that appeal to your existing customer base. This revenue model is not only key to your product strategy but also determines your sales and distribution strategy; how will you sell your product; how will customers acquire your product; how will you deliver your product to the customer?
Who are you selling to?
What will you be selling them?
How will customers perceive your product compared to a competitor's?
What advantages does your product have?
What makes your product unique?
What market trends and opportunities could you be using to your advantage?
What is the corporate vision for the business?
What are the business’s financial goals?
What are the financial growth milestones and the plan for reaching them?
How will your business generate revenue from your product?
What is your distribution strategy; how will you sell your product?
How will you deliver your product to customers?
With a clearly defined market and a vision for the direction and growth of the business, product management can get to work defining a product strategy. This is a challenging task as it requires product managers to carefully consider the right combination of market dynamics, customer needs, financial goals, and corporate strategy. It is through the distillation of these factors that the product manager must define
A product vision and value proposition that addresses target customer need and strongly positions the product in the market
A pricing and licensing model that aligns with the revenue model and financial goals of the corporate strategy
The features and investments in innovation that will address the specific problems of your target customers and deliver value against your competitors in the market.
Vision and Value
By this point you should have a clear understanding of what problems your product will solve for your customers. You should be able to articulate a value proposition which highlights the value your product provides and the benefits that your customers will realise through using your product or solution. You should also be able to identify the advantages of your product over the competition in the market.
Pricing and Licensing
You should have a good understanding or measure of the value your product delivers. This will help you to define a pricing and licensing strategy for your product.
Features and Innovation
With market and customer insight it is possible to specify the features and chunks of innovation that help you to address your customer's problem. You must also describe the important and differentiating features will help you compete and stand out against the competition?
How can we help?
It should be clear that pulling together a product strategy that is aligned with all the major elements of your target market, your corporate strategy and the innovations that will uniquely solve your customer’s problems is a significant undertaking. Yet even when you feel you've got it nailed you still need to get buy-in and agreement from major stakeholders, particularly the executive leadership, and that will mean pitching, socialising and evangelising with a well structured and impactful presentation of your efforts.
In this section of our website you will find a collection of different product strategy Powerpoint templates. Each strategic planning template has been specifically designed to help you tell a story around the insights and decisions that have led to your chosen product path. Since product strategy ties so closely into many other product planning activities such as competitive analysis, your product investment strategy and ultimately your product roadmap, you will find a strategic plan template for each of these on our site as well. Each product strategy ppt is supported by a “how to” video to help you roll your unique product strategy into one of our product strategy templates that will surprise and delight your audience.