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  • Product design & build

From gut instincts to a developing market: energise your product strategy

Roger Barr
3rd February 2021

Lean product development is about getting your relevant digital solutions in front of customers in the shortest time frame.

  • Road-test and validate your solution by defining and sharing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

  • Build the strongest case for investment, mitigate the risks, and get to market faster.

  • Now is an ideal time to reach out to new customers, break into new segments, and take your brand forward.

Bringing successful products to market in faster ways has always been the goal. The difference is that digital consumers are now savvier than ever, companies have the attitude and tech to bring new ideas to market super-fast, and there is so much more NOISE that can swamp or mute your best efforts.

It’s interesting to take a quick look in the rear-view mirror. In 2015, Deloitte Insights indicated how the consumer product landscape would look in five years. It predicted “rough seas” with undercurrents including “a proliferation of customisation and personalisation”, “pervasive digitisation of the path to purchase” and “health, wellness, and responsibility” as a new basis for brand loyalty. That looks pretty close to the mark, a perfect storm of “rapidly evolving technologies, consumer demographic shifts, changing consumer preferences, and economic uncertainty.” To which we can add “global pandemic”.

Accelerate product development

The old waterfall development model was a longer-term approach, with a linear step-by-step process. That comes from a physical bricks-and-mortar world, when you needed to get the early stages right because it was so expensive to make changes down the line. A leaner approach to development liberates us from that sequential straitjacket but there must still be discipline, progression and precision, with no short-cuts and compromises in due diligence. Get it right, and you can streamline, energise and accelerate your digital product strategy.

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What do you want to do? Unlock hidden growth opportunities? Adapt and enhance something you already have - or create something entirely new?

Trust your instincts

Whatever your goals, now is a good time to invest in your digital experience. Of course, it’s important to invest in digital at all stages of growing a healthy brand or business, but even more so when you consider that sectors including sustainability, technology, wellbeing and fintech are predicted to thrive following the pandemic. Online fashion retail and beauty sales have surged. New market segments and categories like athleisure have emerged. However, companies remain cautious to sign-off on capital expenditure that could be wasted. Fear of failure is natural. A lean approach starts with trusting your instincts and taking development forward in a rapid but prudent ‘test and learn’ fashion.

You and your team know the market space, from a product, opportunity and customer perspective. What you may lack is the assured confidence to take decisive action and execute your idea. Socialising your product ideas can help to mitigate the risk of failure and to make sure you’re on the right track. Talk to colleagues and potential customers about the issue you’re trying to solve, or the benefit you want to deliver. Are they interested in trying or buying the product you’re proposing?

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Create a minimum viable product (MVP)

New products generally have multiple features, functionality and benefits, all of which you might decide to develop. But it doesn’t make sense to solve all these issues in one go. Focus on the core solution or issue, perhaps the primary advantage delivered to a customer. Then create a simple, distilled, minimum viable version to provide clarity, so you can focus on getting the fundamentals right, and take it from there.

Test and learn

You don’t have a fully-formed product yet but you will have a strong sense you’re on the right track (otherwise, you would have stopped by now, and moved to another idea). Now is the time to dip your toe deeper to assess market interest and viability, gaining more detailed insights into what should come next.

Try running a few targeted digital ads, driving traffic to a tactical site or expression-of-interest form. Run a sign-up email campaign, and maybe an early-adopter offer. Groupon started by offering a basic contact form and PDF emailed to customers daily, experimenting to find the best ways to build a full offer. This testing and learning is critical to bring your MVP into the real world.

Ready to launch

By this point, you’ve validated that at least some people want your product; it’s no longer a gut feeling but a market with potential. This is the time to build-out your detailed plans and make that case for investment for growth, one that can be signed-off with confidence.

If you’re a start-up, senior marketer or entrepreneur, as we move through the pandemic and emerge on the other side, a digital strategy with a strong customer focus should be at the top of your priorities list. It could mean new directions in ecommerce, delivering a more immersive customer experience, or creating and launching entirely new services that tap into previously unknown consumer demands.

Create a digital customer experience that delights

If you’re looking to enhance your digital offering to keep pace with today’s extraordinary speed of change, and to better connect with your customers as behaviours evolve, talk to us. We use data and strategic insights to guide our work, creating content, building platforms and optimising targeted media – we have the know-how to ensure your brand continues to deliver.

Get in touch with Roger Barr, our Chief Digital Officer, to kick-start the conversation.

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