It’s easy to get caught up with the apparent value of ideas, and exciting to start building them, but then devastating if customers don’t value the product!
Product plans help you fine tune your thinking and identify, validate and forecast your potential return on investment.
Fortunately, they don’t have to be boring! There are some fundamental product management questions to help you establish customer value before spending too much time and money. Ultimately, working on these areas will accelerate your success if you have a good idea because you will understand it’s full value and be equipped to build it correctly and sell it effectively.
The level of detail you need in your product plan will vary depending on funding and risk appetite. Also, don’t expect potential clients to define your solution, that’s your job, what’s vital is that you fully understand the value of solving the problem you intend to.
1 Who are they?
It’s impossible to build the right product, establish the true value of it and the full potential of the opportunity, without doing the necessary research on how your customers will justify the purchase or adoption of your product. Therefore you will need to specifically establish the demographic of the companies (if B2B), users, and decision makers who will attribute the most value to your solution.
It has never been easier to research a market and establish whether the problem you’re solving is important enough to pay for, who for and how many of them there are.
Richard Rumelt sums up the need perfectly.
“Strategy identifies how you can bring more value than competitors can to distinct target markets.”
Therefore your next step is to evaluate how they currently solve the problem………
2 What do they buy?
Whether you’re bidding for some of an individuals reading time or you want a company to adopt a new business system, the chances are that if it really is a problem, they will be paying to solve it in some way now through alternative solutions or manpower.
Whatever you’re considering you will be competing with alternatives and without understanding what potential customers choose now, and exactly why, you have no chance of winning. In doing so you will also establish distinct value for some segments but not others, which in turn is how you fine tune the answer to questions 1 and 3…….
3 Why will they buy from you?
Imagine marketing or selling your product now. You have an understanding of the market, the problem and the alternatives so the question is how will you bring more value than competitors can? You will simply need to ensure you understand what your customers value the most and how your product will address these needs better than alternatives.
We include an easy to use framework and further guidance in the Tangible toolkit but however you go about devising your plan, answering these 3 questions first will be crucial.