How does a quality strategy begin and why is it needed in product management?

    Product management is becoming an essential part of the functioning of most companies. However, for some startups and even large teams, the product management process remains an incomprehensible phenomenon.

    The product management process consists of several stages, where one of the main and fundamental is the definition of a strategy and its proper use throughout the entire product life cycle.


    What is product management?

    Product management is a discipline aimed at planning, developing and launching a product or service on the market. Successful product management goes beyond development, marketing, promotion or sales. This is the combination of the efforts of the entire team, which leads to success. The role of the “pioneer” in this case is assigned to the product manager.


    Milestones in the product management process

    Product management is the process of creating and supporting a product, which includes development and marketing. These parts are related to the product from its concept to release.
    Product development consists of defining a strategy and concept and directly manufacturing. Marketing issues - customer service and product sales.

    If you imagine that the product management process is a ladder, then the concept of the product is at the very bottom, and the sale to the customer is at the very top step of the ladder. A product strategy must be present at every stage.


    Each manager must go through these steps in order to move forward and achieve his ultimate goal.

    1. Product Strategy Definition

    This is the beginning of the beginnings, without which the further life of the product is not possible. The stage of preparation of the strategy occurs with simultaneous research and analysis of the market.

    Market research includes customer and competitor information. Here, both qualitative and quantitative analysis can be used to generate data. You can use any source to search for additional information: websites, social networks, industry press, open information of partners, opinions of influential persons and opinion leaders, experts, books for product management. Some market research methods, such as A / B testing, customer analysis, customer interviews, focus groups, etc., will also be useful.

    A strategy is a set of activities for the gradual development of a new product or improving the results of an existing one. This is a marketing plan that can include brand architecture and identity, customer service, business model, design, functions, release, market niche, pricing, promotion, risks and so on. More about this below.

    2. Product development

    When you have a complete understanding of the strategy and the necessary analysis is made, you can begin to develop. At this stage of the product life cycle, its design, design and testing take place. Development brings new products and updates to the market.

    3. Product Launch

    The launch of the product ensures its appearance on the market and includes an operational and marketing component. This is a unique moment of truth for all team members, because the product is ready for acquisition by customers.

    Product launch planning takes place in parallel with development and may include sales planning, promotion issues, customer support, pricing, risk management and monitoring.

    4. Branding

    Branding determines the value and individuality of the product, which should “settle down” in the minds of customers. This process includes such marketing elements as concept definition, naming, company identity, creating visuals, brand recognition, positioning, brand loyalty and more.

    5. Product Promotion

    Promotion includes a communication strategy to increase product awareness and awareness. Promotional activities also accelerate customer interest and enthusiasm.
    The main goal of any advertising campaign is to generate demand for products in support of sales.

    Therefore, product managers must have sufficient experience and skills of marketers to work with advertising, PR, communications and sales.

    6. Customer service

    Work with clients is a business approach focused on customer satisfaction. It consists of any interaction with the client and their support.

    7. Pricing policy

    Pricing refers to setting a specific price, which is aimed at maximizing long-term profit. It depends on supply and demand, market competition, behavioral factors, rules and relevant norms.

    8. Product release

    Product managers must take care of how and in what form the product reaches potential customers. This is related to marketing channels and may include retail sales, affiliate campaigns, direct marketing, dealer networks, sales agents, resellers and other options.

    9. Sales

    This is the final step in managing the product cycle and building customer relationships. This is the process of closing a deal and a commercial agreement.

    10. Customer feedback

    This is a post-sale stage. Customer reviews play a key role in improving the product features offered. This provides product managers with valuable information and suggestions and helps identify problems they were not aware of.

    However, let us return to the very first stage in product management, which determines its entire future fate.

    What is a good strategy and why is it a product manager?

    Strategy development is not half an hour of the product manager’s time or the result of a brief meeting with team members. A deep and thoughtful strategy is a thorough job.
    The strategic thinking of the product manager is a kind of icebreaker that can go through any barriers and achieve any complex goal. Those who believe that cool results can be achieved without any strategy will hardly be interested in reading further.
    “Strategy without tactics is the slowest path to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Song Tsu, an ancient Chinese military strategist
    In general terms, any strategy determines the direction of the product and what the product owners want to achieve. An effective strategy allows all team members to focus on the work that matters most here and now. Product managers provide a ready-made strategy for the team and share what needs to be done.

    What is the main goal of a product strategy?

    Any strategy is aimed at satisfying the interests of stakeholders and achieving goals at different levels. It should contain a clear idea of ​​the product values ​​for all team members.

    Product strategy is the foundation of its life cycle. If you want to build a reliable and successful strategy for your product, pay attention to its aspects: vision, goals, ideas and initiatives.

    • The vision of the product consists of research on market opportunities, positioning issues, target audience, competitor analysis, etc. It describes the needs of customers and how you plan to satisfy their needs.
    • Product objectives should be clear, relevant, measurable and time definable. They can help product managers establish what they want to achieve over a period of time. For example, enter the Asian market, increase revenue by 25%, etc.
    • Product ideas and initiatives are efforts that must be implemented to achieve strategic goals. For example, improving the user interface, optimizing performance, expanding opportunities for customers from the United States and more.
    “A strategy without a process is nothing more than a wish list.” Robert Filek

    5 key questions for a product manager to help define a strategy

    When determining a product’s product strategy, be sure to answer the following questions:

    1. What market and customers do you sell your product for? It may seem trite, but the correct definition of the target audience is the first step to success.
    2. What is your product really? Describe for yourself what you are selling, and think about how customers will perceive your product compared to competitors. Identify unique features.
    3. How would you rate your product? It's time to think about the perceived value of the product and pricing model.
    4. What are the values ​​for your customers? Think about real customer issues that can be resolved with your product.
    5. What distribution channels do you choose for your product? Describe how you will sell and market your product.


    A simple product strategy example

    Here is a brief example of a product strategy thesis not related to the development world, for a general understanding:

    • Suppose we develop high-quality plastic windows and doors for local outlets.
    • Our customers are small businesses: shops and cafes that want to get high-quality architectural standards and quality goods. They are interested in materials that are safe and environmentally friendly for their customers.
    • We sell our products through retail channels.
    • Our products are priced per unit. They are “upscale” architectural solutions.

    In working with the strategy today, one cannot do without the help of professional services and tools. The platform helps product managers plan the roadmap , as well as manage backlog and prioritize tasks.

    • A roadmap or product roadmap visualizes all product ideas and initiatives and helps share them with team members and all interested parties.
    • Backlog management helps streamline ideas and plan iterations correctly. The Value and Effort parameters offered by the platform, as well as the Backlog Priority Chart visualization tool help to cope with the prioritization of each idea, identifying important and less important tasks.


    In conclusion, I would like to note once again that an effective product strategy is not random actions, but serious work. This is the first step on the vertical ladder of the product management process. And this step must be confident and durable. Pay attention to this and your competent strategy will certainly lead to a successful release of the product.

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