Your 5-Element Framework
By: Yasi Baiani, Chief Product Officer at Raya
A solid and sound product strategy is a treasure trove for both your product department and your company!
Product strategy is what sets your North Star, clarifies what everyone should work on, builds cross-functional alignments, and ultimately delivers business results.
From the executive and CPO/Head of Product to product managers and other leaders, everyone in the company is in search of a product strategy that unlocks multi-billion dollar markets and attracts thousands and millions of engaged users.
If you already have a defined product vision that your organization is aligned with, that’s great! You should share and re-share it repeatedly so everyone in the organization understands the vision.
In reality, though, most companies fall short of reaching that goal, and they never find that treasure! Why?!
Identifying what people want is hard; it requires empathetic listening and discovery, a great handle on the market and competitive landscape, and lots of iterations. When you land on such strategies and successfully execute on delivering multi-billion dollar opportunities for your company, it feels like magic.
I’ve been fortunate to experience that magic a few times in my career as a product leader.
Throughout my time at Fitbit as the Head of Product, Software Experiences, my team and I came up with multiple new categories that each took off with millions of repeat and engaged users. One of those categories was Fitbit’s Sleep, which was the most engaged part of the Fitbit mobile app for years with millions of daily users. Another one was the launch of Fitbit’s Female Health category, which gained 2.4 million users within the first month of launch.
These types of software experiences contributed to selling 60 million devices and grew revenue by 195% from $745M to $2.2B.
I repeated a similar strategy framework and playbook in my role as SVP of Product & Marketing at Cleo that led to the launch of two new product lines, Teens and Eldercare, unlocking a $270B market opportunity. Cleo has clients such as Salesforce, Pepsi, and Pinterest; over 50% of Cleo’s clients expanded to at least one of the two new product lines within the first year of launch, which validated the strategy, customer needs, and market opportunity.
These experiences enabled me to establish a tried-and-true playbook and framework for successfully crafting product strategy and executing the launch of multi-billion dollar categories.
The five elements of crafting a successful product strategy include: customer voice, data, market trends, competitive landscape, and internal stakeholders.
1. Customer Voice
The very first and most important element in crafting a successful product strategy is understanding your customers’ needs.
Regularly talking with customers and prospects is one of the best ways to understand your customers and their needs. I can’t emphasize how critical it is to empathetically and attentively listen to your customers rather than pitching your ideas or hypotheses.
In order to do customer discovery effectively, you can tap into various types of UX research, which could be qualitative vs. quantitative as well as attitudinal vs. behavioral. Knowing when and how to tap into different methodologies to best understand the voice of your customers is an essential part of a product leader and product team’s role.
Data is one of the most powerful tools you should use to shape product strategy and influence others, especially those with more power than you in the organization.
Data doesn’t lie, and data resonates well with most executives and key decision-makers that you as a product leader or product manager need to influence. It’s important to be aware that data can come from different sources: your own product usage, industry benchmarks and stats, survey results, and A/B testing.
3. Market Trends
Understanding consumer trends, market readiness to adopt the technology you are introducing, and other similar factors are fundamental for getting wind behind your product. If you don’t include these things in your product strategy, you’ll likely face ongoing adoption issues.
4. Competitive Landscape
I always emphasize we should be customer-obsessed and not competition-obsessed. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to understand your competitive landscape, their strategies and approaches, and their current features and competitive advantages.
Understanding the competition as well as knowing your own product, technological, and business competitive moats will enable you to craft a defensible product strategy that distinguishes your company from the competitors over time.
5. Internal Stakeholders’ Voice
I’m sure you can relate to the fact that everyone in the company has an opinion about the product and product direction! This is a double-edged sword.
In one way, this is great because it means product teams have passionate internal stakeholders, and you hear the best ideas from across the organization. On the other hand, this makes it more challenging to align the organization with your product strategy’s north star.
In order to successfully craft a product strategy, it’s important to first gather and understand the key stakeholders’ visions and points of view about the product.
In case you missed the session, please view the recording here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yasi Baiani is the CPO at Raya, where she advises Founders and CEOs about product and business strategy and invests in technology and health tech companies. Featured as one of The 27 Most Impressive Harvard MBAs by Business Insider and recognized 3x as the LinkedIn Top Voices in technology and digital health, Yasi is also the writer of “Everything Product” Newsletter. You can subscribe here.