Thinking Out of the Product #14
Thoughts on product management… and creating a product strategy
Engaging with multiple stakeholders is fundamental to product management. As product development involves teams from design, tech to more traditional aspects of sales and marketing, there needs to be a coherent product strategy across various departments.
A product strategy can start off with an analysis of the product’s marketing environment using the SWOT or PESTEL analysis. Key questions include (non-exhaustively), (1) what are the key differentiating factors of the product, (2) who are the competitors (direct and indirect), (3) opportunities for growth in demand — geographical, demographical, trends, and finally, (4) threats, which could include shortage of supplies, a shift in market trends and even the outlook on Covid-19 pandemic.
It is no surprise that there are various market analysis frameworks to choose from. Another important aspect is the pricing of the product, as (1) the pricing can determine how competitive & affordable the product would be (2) the pricing will then influence the target audience or rather specifically, the main bulk of customers of the product, (3) the profitability of the product, bearing in mind the suppliers and monthly expenses.
Together with the product design and the prototype, alongside the market analysis and pricing, this forms a very condensed (and expandable) business plan. And of course, there are other aspects that could be considered, such as branding, location of the outlet (if the product will be sold in a brick-and-mortar outlet) or e-commerce website experience, as well as the key milestones to hit after launching the prototype and subsequently, the product itself.
At the end of the day, it is crucial to “wrap” the experience around the product. While there is a lot of effort that goes into developing a product, a suggestion would be to create a working prototype (MVP, or minimum viable product) to test out the product and its market, and continuous iterations to the product.