Many digital products come into the market each day. Each of these products has significant effort, time, and money behind it. While from an outside perspective it appears the market for digital products is a wonderful and thriving place to be in, according to research, 95% of new products fail within their first year in the market. While older established companies may be able to weather this failure and come of it with some strong lessons learned, newer companies and startups find it harder to recover from such catastrophic failure.
But what can we do to minimise this risk of failure? This is where a Digital Product Strategy comes into play.
Understanding Digital Product Strategy
Your digital product strategy is how you handle your product, from the birth of an idea, through design and development of the idea, to delivery, and potentially to the end of its life.
A good DPS helps you and your team to focus on what value your product brings to the target market, what problems it solves, and how it is to be developed, marketed, and distributed.
Breaking Down a Digital Product Strategy
A solid DPS has certain components that come together to create the whole. If any of these components are lacking from the DPS, there is a strong possibility that things will start slipping through the cracks left by that absence.
As with most products, we start at the problem or the challenge we are trying to solve. The best products identify a pain point and then create a solution that addresses that pain point. In many cases, identifying a pain point can lead us down a rabbit hole and we end up realising the problem is much larger than we initially thought. It's important at this point to take a step back, break down the problem into manageable chunks and understand how each can be addressed.
User research remains one of the best ways to dig deep and find the root cause of the pain point and associated problems. By empathising with the users and gaining a thorough understanding of the pain point, you are then better equipped to design a solution that will work for your target market.
Envision your product
Your product vision is the true driving force behind your product. Once you have identified the problem, you now need to create a vision of what your product will do, how it will add value, how you will develop the product, and bring it to the market. The product vision is the glue that holds your team together, working towards a single purpose.
Set Goals and Benchmarks
If our vision sets our final goal and destination, and tells us where to aim our efforts. Goals and milestones are the markers along the way. They provide us with much needed direction on the way, and are great ways to remain aligned throughout the journey. In addition they can help us to make sure that we remain on track with our time and resources.
The last key component of our DPS is how we evaluate our development journey and monitor our success (or lack of). Setting realistic KPIs for each step of our journey helps to further have a goal to strive towards, and if we fail to reach the goal, it gives us an early warning that something is amiss.
Creating a Compelling Digital Product Strategy
There are a few ways to ensure that your DPS is a useful and much regarded part of your product journey, and not something you create at the beginning to convince potential investors.
- Understand your target audience
- Research the problem and brainstorm the solution
- Have specific goals for your vision
- Design a solution that truly solves the problem
- Ensure that your solution works for your target market
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A digital product strategy can help your organisation to understand its product journey, in detail. It helps to pinpoint who your target market is, what their pain points are, how to solve them, and how to build the solution.
Additionally it provides guidance to your team throughout the development journey to work towards a single overarching goal, creating a foundation for the design and development of a truly inspirational product.
We must consider though, that a DPS is only as useful as the effort we take in its creation. We have to consider it a living process that will be consulted at every step of our journey for it to truly be a success.