A product development strategy is a reliable roadmap for building a successful product or service to maximize customer satisfaction. Read on to learn more.
- A product development strategy describes how you’ll transform your product idea into reality.
- It can involve creating a new product or improving an existing one.
- Starting your product development journey with a sound strategy can adequately prepare you for any hiccups along the way.
Competition in the business landscape has reached unprecedented levels largely due to the efficiencies brought about by technology. It’s now faster and easier to bring new products to the market and scale your business compared to a decade ago.
As more products become available to consumers, an efficient product development process is essential for success.
However, that’s not the only thing that matters – strategy also plays a defining role. Your ideation process and product idea are only as good as your product development strategy. With your competitors also keen on solving the same customer pain points, a well-crafted strategy can give you an edge.
This article examines what a product development strategy involves, some examples of companies deploying their own, and the benefits.
Let’s dive in.
What is a product development strategy?
A product development strategy defines how you’ll handle a product from conception to actualization for the best user experience and return on time and investment.
It outlines the product’s unique value proposition, who it’s for, how to meet key goals during the development process, and links the organizational goals with user needs to communicate the real purpose of the product.
In most cases, product development strategy is about creating a new product for a new or existing market by doing extensive market research, testing, and concept planning. However, it can also involve introducing an existing offering into a new market.
At times, you might even need a new product strategy for a current offering in an existing market. However, that usually happens if you’re launching a complimentary product line, rebranding, or adding a new feature.
Whatever the scenario, a product development strategy ensures your offerings are in the best possible position to drive business goals such as customer satisfaction, diversification, profits, revenue, and sales growth throughout the product development process.
Examples of product development strategies
These are examples of companies and their product development strategies:
Creating more value: IKEA
IKEA’s strategy focuses on consistently providing high-quality affordable furniture. It emphasizes smart, sustainable design principles to ensure all products are top-notch.
The furniture maker has an extensive supply chain to manage the geographic dispersion and large volume of its suppliers. With multiple locations globally, IKEA can distribute its products faster and more easily, further offsetting costs.
In addition, IKEA offers a variety of designs to give customers more styling options for their homes or offices.
The takeaway: Providing more value through lower cost, consistent high quality, and variety can increase your brand’s perceived value, leading to customers choosing your products over those of competitors.
Upgrading current offerings: Apple
Apple’s strategy focuses on creating incremental product versions, with every new release bringing in better features than the previous.
For example, each iPhone release usually includes a camera upgrade, a larger screen, more functionalities, and so on.
On one hand, this ensures the tech giant is continually improving existing products and delivering best-in-class offerings. On the other, Apple customers have come to expect better things from its latest product versions, which motivates them to make a purchase following each new release.
The takeaway: Constantly improving existing products not only helps deliver more competitive offerings, but it can also give customers something to look forward to, keeping your brand on their minds longer.
From building new products to improving existing ones, Shockoe’s experts can power up your business by streamlining your workflow, modernizing your digital presence, and energizing your team.
Focusing on the voice of the customer: Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola’s strategy emphasizes listening to customers and embracing their journey. It focuses entirely on consumers and their preferences.
As consumers become more health-conscious and opt for beverages with less sugar, Coca-Cola is moving with them. The beverage manufacturer has rolled out new variants of Coke with reduced or no sugar content, as well as other healthy beverages such as organic tea and coconut water.
Similarly, Coca-Cola delivered smaller, more convenient packages when customers demanded a more compact version of the classic Coke.
The takeaway: Listening and responding to customer needs can help you thrive by ensuring you’re always delivering what the market wants.
How a product development strategy benefits your business
According to Harvard Business Review, the biggest reason most new products fail is lack of preparation.
New products can also fail when they have a steep learning curve, aren’t distinctive enough, or don’t meet user expectations. The same holds true if there’s no existing market for the products or if your company doesn’t have the systems and mechanisms to support fast growth.
Therefore, your business must be adequately prepared and focus on solving customer pain points to effectively drive new initiatives.
A carefully crafted product development strategy can set you up for success in the following ways:
- It provides a reliable framework for handling each step of the product development process, leading to smooth execution. You won’t need to rely on intuition (or guesswork), frequently change your game plan, or switch between several strategies, as you’ll have already done the product (and market) research and understand the requirements for each stage.
- It empowers you to build products you’re proud of and exceed user expectations through a customer-first approach.
- It clarifies top priorities and helps you allocate resources efficiently for greater impact. Your team – developers, designers, marketers, and other personnel – become more productive by focusing on their niches with clarity about how each task fits into the big picture.
- It facilitates performance tracking and continuous engagement with end users, which can help you gauge success, monitor growth, and identify and resolve potential problems early on. For example, customer feedback – whether collected directly through surveys or indirectly through app monitoring – can highlight products that aren’t meeting user expectations and inform you to make improvements or overhaul the offerings and refocus your efforts.
Having a product development expert on your side can ensure you’re getting the most of these benefits and are adequately prepared.
Grow your business with Shockoe
Over the last 13 years, Shockoe has helped many companies create product development strategies aligned with their goals. We can help you craft a solid strategy that streamlines workflows throughout the product development lifecycle to drive the desired results. Contact us today to learn more.