Any business leader will tell you that without a clear goal or plan, your company will struggle to succeed. Especially when it comes to a company’s products or services, it is not enough to have a clever idea. For customers to buy in, they must believe that your product meets a legitimate need and is accessible in terms of cost and procurement.
Additionally, there is a need to make your business stand out from the rest and constantly improve the way you run your business operations; two reasons why companies turn to technology to improve their product strategies. But first, let’s define “product strategy.”
Product Strategy Definition
A product strategy is an outlined plan of what your product is and how it relates to your business and the current industry. There are many factors that your business could include in a product strategy, however, certain components are generally present. These include:
- The need that your product meets
- Existing competitors, similar products or comparable services
- Target market/customer segments
- A manufacturing and distribution plan (if there is a physical component to your product)
- A plan for marketing your product and how your business will profit
- A defined measurement of success
Be sure to keep your product strategy handy as you will revisit it and update it over time. This practice will help you to continuously provide value for your consumers and increase profitability for your company.
What Role Does Technology Play in Your Business Strategy?
At first glance, you may not consider the importance of integrating technology into your product strategy. However, stop to consider all the ways in which technology has permeated the product life cycle. From analyzing industry trends to manufacturing, shipping or even marketing and sales, technology is often woven into the business strategy itself.
Here are some of the ways technology fits in:
Developing a Project Roadmap
Even at the beginning of the product strategy, technology can be used to come up with a product that meets the desires and demands of their target market. Some companies utilize tools like Natural Language Processing (NLP) to identify trends and keywords that their customers are discussing on social media. What are your potential customers talking about or interested in? What are their needs or pain points?
By tapping into the discussion and connecting with their customer segments, businesses will be able to develop and improve a product that is tailored to fit a specific need. Further down the pipeline, NLP can also be used to analyze customer reviews or discussions about the product to determine customer sentiment and collect recommendations for updates, improvements or subsequent products.
Other businesses may have an existing product and want to plan for future demand. In their situation, predictive analytics and data visualization would be a better choice. With advanced data analytics, they can analyze their sales and reporting data, industry or market trends, manufacturing costs and overall profit. These data-driven insights will allow them to make more informed decisions about the future of their products.
Internal Product Development Strategy
Custom software can serve many purposes, as it is tailored toward the unique needs of the business. Some businesses choose to develop an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. ERP software can house your business’ digital tools and resources, help you manage your digital operations, enable analytics and data storage and even automate tasks.
Manufacturing companies utilize custom software solutions for warehouse production and distribution optimization. This could include order management, asset tracking, reporting and equipment monitoring as well.
Product Differentiation Strategy
Some businesses choose to utilize technology to make their product stand out from their competitors. This can take a variety of forms. For instance, the innovative approach could be with the product itself, how the product is made available, or a companion service offering. Here are three examples of clients that came to 7T with innovative ideas.
- Product – If you’ve ever tried ordering clothes online, you know that what you get in the mail doesn’t always match what you had in mind. FitFreedom seeks to address common sizing issues and high return rates that often accompany online shopping. The mobile app does so by using augmented reality to create a personalized 3D model with each user’s specific body measurements. It can then use the fit model to work with retailers’ sizing charts and recommend the appropriate size. The end goal? No confusion over what size customers should order and a perfect fit, every time.
- Product Availability – There’s not usually much excitement surrounding household chores and tasks. In fact, many dread the seemingly ever-present list of to-do’s that never seem to get done. Thankfully, handyman services meet these needs while Hidrent packages them up in a unique way. Using the Hidrant mobile app, homeowners can conveniently request handyman services that are fulfilled by off-duty firefighters. This mutually beneficial solution provides an additional stream of income for the firefighters while addressing the tasks for those who requested the services.
- Companion Service Offering – Some innovative solutions don’t directly involve customers, but enable businesses and teams to do their jobs more effectively. PHP agency came to 7T looking for a way to enhance team interaction, improve goal tracking and accelerate sales for insurance and financial services. The PHP sales companion app helps agents manage contacts, appointments, communication, team goals and more.
A solid product differentiation strategy doesn’t mean that businesses should jump on every new technological fad that they hear about. Being in a competitive market makes it even more crucial that businesses make smart, informed decisions. However, it will sometimes be necessary to make bold decisions and take risks. That is why it is important to have an established and detailed product strategy that is based on the goals and vision of your business. When faced with a decision, refer back to your business’ product strategy and see how the options align with your core goals. With that said, the bottom line is that innovation helps your business stand out from the rest.
Product Positioning Strategy
Beacons are one type of technology that seems to slip by unnoticed, even though we are familiar with some of their capabilities. Beacons can be used in a warehouse setting to optimize manufacturing processes and are also used in stores for proximity marketing and product positioning. In-store beacons can be used to track the flow of customers and determine the paths that are most commonly taken. They can then use the results to determine a physical product positioning strategy and optimize their displays.
A more theoretical approach to product positioning involves how the product fits into its industry and how it is marketed to customers. Again, analytics can help with customer segmentation and personalized marketing to help establish your brand in the minds of consumers. A customized CRM platform may be just what your business needs to keep track of customer and sales data and coordinate marketing efforts.
Alternatively, a customer-facing mobile app is another touch point and way to interact with your target market. Your business mobile app could offer online shopping, information about your products, coupons, and a way to contact your business. By interacting with your mobile app, customers will be reminded of your brand and keep your products in mind.
Developing a Tech-Supported Product Strategy
As you can see, technology, software and mobile apps are becoming an integral part of business’ product strategies, whether the technology solution is implemented upstream, downstream, or affects the entire product and customer lifecycle.
If your business is interested in starting a digital transformation for your product strategy, the team at 7T is ready to help. We specialize in crafting unique solutions for businesses, whether they are in the form of a CRM or ERP platform, a custom mobile app, system integrations, cloud integrations, software consulting or data lake creation. Learn more about our services.