5 Important Steps When Planning Your New Product Strategy
Product strategy is often built on a blend of ideas, market research, professional or industry experience, and, of course, assumptions. Assumptions are okay as long as you reality-test them before moving ahead.
Here are five important steps to test assumptions when crafting your product strategy (there are many more, of course, but these are five that companies often miss):
Do the market research, even if you’re an industry veteran. It’s easy to make assumptions when you’ve worked in an industry for a long time. However, markets are dynamic, new trends take shape and competitive alternatives emerge. Take the time up front to gather validated market insights – including customer and prospect feedback interviews - so you avoid unnecessary (and costly) pivots down the line.
Understand the factors that influence purchase decisions. There are many factors and nuances that influence a B2B buying decision. These include organizational goals and priorities, the urgency of the challenge your product addresses, the impact and cost of change, and prospects’ willingness-to-pay. Without these data points, it’s common to miscalculate buying intent, especially when you rely too heavily on early favorable feedback on your product concept.
Know the competitive alternatives. Your target customers will compare your solution to both your direct and indirect competitors. Objectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competitive products and how your solution is different and better. Most importantly, do you know if your product differentiators are important enough to target customers?
Craft your value proposition from your target customer’s perspective. Avoid value propositions that are feature-focused, vague or include concepts too complex for your audience to understand. Focus on what your solution delivers in terms of outcomes, not outputs, and validate this by asking your customers how they would describe the product’s value.
Plan for demand creation – and the patience that goes with it. Your product launch will include a marketing plan, of course. And if your product requires a shift in buyer behavior or challenges to status quo processes or thinking, you’ll need to create demand through information and resources that help target customers see the value of that required change. Creating demand for new products can take longer than you anticipate. Plan accordingly, especially when projecting customer acquisition and revenue targets as well as associated marketing investment.
Move beyond assumptions and ask the difficult questions. Your product and your company will be much more successful if you do.
If your company is challenged with your new product or Go-To-Market strategy, we can help. Book a 30 minute, no obligation strategy session to learn more.