Product Management
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Building a Product Strategy

Introduction

Why Strategy Is Important

It is common to see product teams as order takers from stakeholders
Most companies do not have an effective strategy
Course changing and lack of purpose are key side effects
Lack of direction creates a culture of burnout and a lack of faith in the company and product
Effective Product Strategy:
Analyze financial factors
Define and prioritize
Communicate effectively
Chart a clear path, and stick to it

Tenets of a good strategy

A good strategy is like a map. It helps you get from point A to point B
This means achieving your business objective
What does success look like?
A good product strategy:
Shows you how to achieve your goals
What needs to be successful
Considers factors that affect your success
Explains your competitive advantage
Helps you make decisions
Helps you decide what to do and what not to do
Can continually measure progress
Aligns stakeholders

Elevator Pitch Framework

Product strategies can take many forms
Document your strategy
Describe concisely
Achieve clarity
Sum it up in one or two sentences
FOR (target customer), WHO (customer need), (product name) IS A (market category) THAT (one key benefit). UNLIKE (competition), THE PRODUCT (unique differentiator)

Elevator Pitch Step by Step

Determine your target customers

Not all people can be reached and not all products are for everyone
This helps you make clearer product choices
Customer segmentation:
Age
Gender
Income
Geography
Company size
Industry
Consider the size of the target customer segment

Determine customer need

Identifying customer need give us clear focus
It should real and something that exist for your target customer
Solutions must address real problems or satisfy needs
Customer need:
A problem that needs solving
Something that benefits the customer
We need to identify one strong need rather than several weak ones.

Determine the market category

Before customers adopt your product, they have to know what it is
We make sense of things by categorizing and comparing
Customers are going to compare to alternatives they already know
Talk to your customers and listen to them
They may say something like “Oh! So it’s like Facebook for ____ or Uber for ___.”
New categories are rarely created

Determine the key benefit

There is a key difference between customer benefit and product features
Features - things the product can do
Benefit - valued created by the product for the user

Example - Insurance Company

Features:
Payout for a loss
Benefit:
Protects the holder from large financial loss
Customers chose a product not for the features, but for the benefits

Determine competitors & alternatives

Identify relevant competitors
Why consider competitors? It figures into the customer adoption consideration
Customers will compare and contrast benefits and cost
Understand your target customers’ options
This should be identified from the customer perspective not yours.
Avoid your own biases

Determine the product differentiation

Customers will consider several other options and alternatives
Differentiator - a feature that makes a product stand out
It is about standing out rather than creating more value

Identifying a good differentiator

Differentiation is about doing something well and standing out.
Know what your competitors are doing
Map out your space
Read through competitor websites
Test their apps
Review marketing messaging
Try out our options on your customers
Ask: what could you do better?

Ways to achieve differentiation

Price
Level of service
Design
Brand
Business model

How To Develop A Product Strategy

Make strategy work

It is not just about the what. It is also about the how.
Planning a strategy:
Identify keystakeholders
Seek a variety of perspective
Pay attention to what others are doing
Communicate broadly and frequently
Focus on execution

How to identify key stakeholders

Key stakeholders do the following:
Approev strategy
Fund its implementations
Execute it
Stakeholders are:
Decision makers (CEO, CTO, etc.)
Influencers - include internal (head decision maker) and external influencers (consultants)
People in finance
Who are key people you need?

How to collect and organize input

Product Strategy Development
Collect input > Organize input > Make strategic choices > Execute the plan
Data > Analysis > Decision-making > Action
Collecting Input
Interview key stakeholders
Read industry publications
Reach out to known thought leaders
Look up venture capital investments
Examine market research
Review financials
Follow competitors
Organizing Input
Examine key trends
Review competitors
Address your position
Propose a strategic direction
Capture input in slides

Build support for your strategy

Evangelize - To be enthusiastic about something, and share it with others.
Building support
Engage your stakeholders in the process
Defend your strategy and support it with data
Speak with confidence
Know your audience
Explain your strategy to the organization

You Have a Strategy, Now What?

Maintain your strategy

Your strategy will change over time
Pay attention to market signals
Correct your course as you go
Develop a strategy
Follow it
Be open
Adjust as needed

How to implement a strategy

Product roadmap > Product development plan
Product Roadmap
Translates your strategy into milestones to achieve business objectives
Strategy = North Star
Product Leaders
Ensure clarity
Help teams interpret the strategy

Conclusion

Next Steps
Flex your product management style - follow instructions in chapter 2
Create an action plan - follow instructions in chapter 3
Explore deeper:
Market mapping
Competitive analysis
Financial analysis
Business models
Connect with others



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