Update your product strategy to stay relevant

1. Review and update your product strategy monthly or quarterly to see how a product performs in relation to the strategic plan.

Review or update your strategy when: Your estimates or assumptions were incorrect in the initial strategy. For example, the market’s response to your product, reception of your products by the target audience, competitors’ reaction to your products, or the experience of delivering and marketing your products were different to what you expected. You’ve attained the goals you had set up during product strategy. For example, your goal was to be a top-rated fitness app in one year, and within that time you are the #1 rated app in the marketplace. The goals have entirely changed. Change can happen in response to external factors like economic recession or internal factors like business growth. The competitive landscape has shifted from the one you originally envisaged. For example, if your competitor launches a product that changes the way the industry offers value to its customers, you may need to update your product positioning or reevaluate your product portfolio to remain relevant.

2. Update buyer personas annually or when the market changes significantly to ensure they still reflect your current users' needs, behaviors, and goals.

Buyer personas are only effective when they are accurate. Routine updates in your product strategy will ensure that you continuously help prospects evaluate your solutions on their terms. Revisit personas when: Your company merges or is bought out: Review the type of consumers each company initially targeted to see what is relevant and what no longer works. Products or service change: If you’re launching a new solution, review personas to ensure you’re targeting the right audience. For instance, you were initially targeting women only, and expanded to accommodate men and children. A shift in business strategy: You are rebranding or changing company direction. Like in a merger, check whether the existing personas are still relevant. New personas emerge: You’re hearing from customer-facing teams that new personas have emerged or your existing personas are no longer accurate.

3. Revisit market research and analysis when the industry or customer needs change, fiscal opportunities appear, or competitors release products similar to yours.

You can also revisit your markets when: You want to rebrand: Figure out if the customers will appreciate the rebrand and what they’ll be looking for in your new approach to your business. Also, consider if your rebrand is done to cater to a specific need, like going green, or because the old model is outdated. You want to execute your rebrand with full knowledge of your target audience, which you can achieve through surveys, interviews, and social listening. Sales dip: Find out why sales are dipping, and gain insights into industry changes and any opportunities that may have been overlooked while sales were strong. Sales rise: Determine the reason behind the growing sales and use that to your advantage.

4. Perform product validation to ensure your product meets the needs of a broader market. Test your product in the real world with your target audience, using interviews, surveys, online outreach, or focus groups.

Product-market fit tells you whether your product offers your audience something they need or you have a sustainable business with consumers who keep coming back. Validation can be divided into two parts:  Problem-solution fit is when you confirm via research and testing that your audience experiences the need you identified with your product and that they feel your solution could be the answer to their problem. Product-market fit is when you go beyond the first group of excited audiences and find the same appetite and need in the broader population. You’ll also have adjusted your product to meet the broader market needs and have created a strong base that provides the potential to scale and grow.

5. Perform an in-depth product-market fit analysis to get a 360-degree view of your product performance and get an idea of how close you are to meeting customer expectations.

Use these metrics to measure product-market fit:  Churn rate: Find out if customers stick to your solutions. If yes, what can you do to improve that? If not, why not? A slow churn rate in the early stages means you’ve found or are close to finding a product-market fit. Product usage interval is the frequency with which you expect users to use your solutions. You can make the intervals weekly like day 1 to 7, 8 to14, or bi-weekly, like day 1 to 14, 15 to 28 depending on the solution you’re offering.  Net promoter score (NPS): measures customer satisfaction and helps you understand how close you are to satisfying your audience. NPS tells you how happy your current customers are with your solutions and how likely they are to refer a new customer or user; and how your customers would feel if they could no longer use your solutions. This could range from very disappointed to not disappointed. In this case, very disappointed is the best answer you could get. Customer satisfaction (CSAT): tells you how a customer would rate their overall satisfaction with your products. So, are they very satisfied, satisfied, unsatisfied, very unsatisfied, or neutral? Compare CSAT and NPS results to get a better idea of how customers feel about you.

6. Use your learnings to update your strategy. Measure the success of your changes using A/B testing, differences in key business metrics, and customer responses.