Going to market with a new product can be a costly endeavour. And the risk of failure is high without the right preparation, market research, and strategy behind it.
Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about creating a product strategy framework for developing, optimising, and launching successful products.
What is a product strategy framework?
A product strategy framework is a high-level plan that describes what your business hopes to accomplish with your products and how you plan to do so. It outlines the principles that justify product development and the work required to make it successful.
- Learn more: The Ultimate Modern Manufacturing Guide
3 core elements of a product strategy framework
This framework needs to answer key questions, such as which consumers it will benefit, what value it will provide them, and the company’s objectives for the product throughout its life cycle. Any product strategy aims to achieve one or more business objectives.
To do this you first need to create a product framework that includes these three core elements:
- Product vision. This includes the principal reason for developing your product, the consumer problem it will solve, who your target customers are, how you want to position your product in the market, and what is your point of difference that sets it apart from competitors.
- Product goals. These are the time-based objectives your product will help your company to achieve. Goals may include a specific change or improvement such as increasing a percentage of your monthly sales, a certain measure of customer engagement or brand awareness.
- Product approaches. These are characterised by the various marketing and sales channels you choose to invest in. This will largely be based on whether you are developing a new product or looking to make savings with an existing product by creating a cheaper version.
Why you need a product strategy framework
Developing a product strategy prior to product development is crucial to ensuring any new products are understood by everyone in the organisation. It also demonstrates which (if any) business goals a specific product may help to achieve – answering the question: Why are we selling this?
An effective product strategy framework offers the following benefits.
1. Provides clarity for your business
A product strategy clarifies what is and what isn’t in scope.
Your product development team will be better informed to deliver their best work when working with a clear, concise, and well-defined product strategy framework. It will enable them to properly understand how the product will contribute to the business’s overarching strategic goals and follow best practice guidelines.
For your sales and marketing teams, a product strategy framework will help them to understand the product’s unique selling proposition more clearly. This allows them to articulate the product’s benefits to the end consumer
2. Allows you to build your product roadmap
Develop a product roadmap that translates your strategy into a high-level action plan.
The roadmap should clearly state objectives and help guide decisions and actions to achieve a successful result.
By having a clear picture of what you hope to achieve you ensure that every member of your team is working to accomplish the same goal.
3. Helps you make more tactical decisions
A product strategy framework is a great reference point for everyone in your team and helps to guide smarter strategic decisions.
No business can deliver a new product to the market or an existing product to a new market using the same strategy. Products and markets are both quite dynamic and consumer wants and needs can change and evolve over time.
It’s important to have a framework in place that can be easily modified or adjusted to deal with these changes. You can adjust plans and priorities as necessary, particularly concerning resourcing, changes to your estimated timeframes, and batch production.
4 common types of product strategy
Four common types of product strategy include product development, product launch, product marketing and product lifecycle extension.
1. Product development strategy
Your product development strategy is dependent on developing new products or modifying your existing products so that they appear new. It can also mean offering those products to new markets.
Successfully executed, a product development strategy can lead to growth in sales and an increase in market share.
2. Product launch strategy
Your product launch strategy aims for greater user adoption and brand growth. It is linear in focus and shares a new product or feature with your existing user base through email campaigns, consistent communications, and posts on social media platforms.
3. Product marketing strategy
Your product marketing strategy is a roadmap that reflects how you plan to position, price, and promote your new product in the market. It is an indicator of where your loyal customers are and how to reach them.
A product marketing strategy should integrate with the product life cycle, to inform how you will market your product from development to growth.
4. Product life cycle extension strategy
A product lifecycle extension strategy is the action you take when you identify that your product is entering the decline stage of its lifecycle. Your product extension strategy determines the actions you will take to extend the life of your product, by maintaining it within the maturity stage, ultimately improving sales.
How to build a product strategy framework [10 easy steps]
These 10 steps will help you to build an effective product strategy framework:
1. Develop your product vision
Your product vision is a top-level, aspirational statement that should flow naturally from your company’s mission or vision. It explains why your product matters, what you hope it will do, and how it will add value to your target market.
A vision statement should be bold, and ambitious. It is important to distinguish between the what and the why with enough impact to differentiate your brand from your competitors.
Pro tip: Undertake a SWOT analysis of your product vision’s strengths, weaknesses, and any opportunities and threats.
2. Understand consumers’ evolving needs
Next, you must research and understand your market.
This will help you determine what your customers want, what they need, the problems they face, and what they are willing to pay for solutions.
The goal is to get to know your target customer.
Create a detailed profile of that consumer. Identify their goals, how they define success, their pain points, and challenges.
Answering these questions will give you a clearer understanding of how your product fits, how it will improve your customers’ lives, and the value that it will provide.
3. Create a clear product positioning statement
With an understanding of your vision and your customers, you can now take those learnings to develop a clear, concise positioning statement.
An effective positioning statement should describe your product, your target audience, and how it fills a market need. Once you are clear on what, who and why you should describe exactly what it is that differentiates your product from your competition.
4. Research similar models in the market
Examine similar growth patterns and cycles in the market when you’re attempting new innovations. Look for similar products in other markets that have gained market share.
How did the company promote their new idea? What did their product market strategy look like? Can some of the techniques of this other organisation help you to set your strategy for your product?
You can also look at examples of companies who failed in the other market to determine the techniques they use so that you can avoid these in your own product strategy framework.
5. Be flexible and prepared to adapt
When you examine comparable trends and patterns in other markets, you will develop a better sense of market dynamics and how they may evolve.
Identify any potential changes within your market and how you might adapt to the changes.
Then use the knowledge you gain to make educated predictions around potential changes so that you can develop and evolve your strategy accordingly.
6. Determine KPIs for your strategy
Decide on what your measurable KPIs will be as you are creating your strategy.
This will give you quantifiable ways to establish if the assumptions you’re basing your product strategy on are accurate or not.
KPIs should include things such as engagement, adoption metrics, usage metrics, and growth objectives.
Clearly stating your product’s goals helps you to assess whether your product strategy has been successfully executed over time. As you develop a broader understanding of how your product will impact your customers, KPIs will help you to measure how successfully you’re delivering that value.
7. Build a product roadmap
Your product roadmap is your high-level game plan for managing tasks and ensuring deadlines are met. It should always align with and flow naturally from your product strategy.
The roadmap should indicate how you will develop, release, and grow your product. The strategic reasoning for your product should also be included as part of your roadmap.
While it is important to understand your competition, don’t let the competition guide your roadmap: determine where you fit in.
Are your competitors solving the same problem in a similar way to your product?
If so, how can you differentiate your product from the rest?
Look for market gaps and opportunities. Fashion your product strategy and roadmap to fill that gap.
8. Stakeholder communication
Once your product roadmap is complete, communicate your product strategy to your entire team, sharing it with all relevant stakeholders. Focus on key objectives and the high-level milestones that need to be met to get there.
Use your roadmap as the tool to help communicate your strategy and objectives. Explain and discuss your product strategy framework with your cross-functional teams.
Are your strategy and vision persuasive? Is there sufficient cash flow available to invest in development? If so, start to execute your plan.
If not, what are the shortcomings? Do they need a further review?
9. Execute your strategy
Transform your strategic steps into actionable tasks. Then develop prototypes of the product.
When executing your strategy, the aim is to provide a look at what your product will eventually do and the problem it will solve for your end users.
Use a product prototype to gauge interest, thoughts, and other feedback.
This information can help inform your next step.
10. Measure your progress
The final, but no less important step is to measure your progress.
Measuring progress provides the opportunity to course-correct along the way. Grounding your product strategy in real data provides a greater chance for your product to succeed in the market.
Seek feedback from both your team and your customers at every stage of the product strategy framework. Measure it against your existing strategy, objectives and KPIs.
If your results are tracking well, then keep going.
If not, and your customers are looking for different value or functionality, then use this information to make changes and adapt your strategy to help achieve your product’s mission.
8 expert product strategy framework tips
The following tips can help to ensure the success of your product strategy framework and ultimately the success of your product.
Here are our 8 best tips for creating a product strategy framework:
- Building a product strategy framework starts with a product development idea which aligns with your organisation’s vision and goals.
- Define why the product should exist, who it benefits, and how you plan to develop it.
- Determine who your customer is, what their pain points are, and how your product will address this.
- Ensure that everyone is working together toward the highest level of performance, efficiency, and effectiveness.
- Find your point of differentiation and highlight the key features and benefits your product offers.
- Keep your focus on customer needs, what the product value is to your consumer, your market positioning, and your business goals.
- Set KPIs and timelines throughout product development to monitor and ensure that your product strategy is tracking toward planned outcomes.
- Embed your strategic reasoning for every major stage of your roadmap justifying each decision with a brief explanation, and relevant piece of data.