Balancing User and Business Needs: The Key to Successful Digital Product Strategy

Balancing user and business needs is vital for successful digital product strategy. Achieving an equilibrium between user-centric design and business objectives creates impactful and successful products.

In the realm of digital product strategy, the role of an expert designer extends beyond aesthetics. As creative thinker, problem-solver, and supporter of user needs, they become an essential member of the strategy team. Their strategic input helps chart a roadmap, ensuring the product delivers genuine value to users and aligns with market or business requirements.

According to Elsewhen, a digital product consultancy firm, taking a strategic approach to the role of digital technology in your organisation is vital to deliver successful outcomes. The cornerstone of any successful strategy is the product vision. The product’s purpose and its objectives are encapsulated in this vision. 

For instance, a product vision for a company like Airbnb might be: “Facilitating global connections between accommodation providers and guests.” It’s important to note that the product vision outlines the end goal, not the specific path to get there or the product’s operational details.

According to Gartner, 56% of CEOs claim that revenue has increased as a result of digital advancements. A digital-first business strategy is being used or will be used by 89% of all businesses. Companies with an engaged Chief Digital Officer are 1 point 6 times more likely to report a successful digital transformation, according to Mckinsey.

Armed with this vision, the product designer embarks on a discovery phase, delving into the actual needs of users or customers. This phase might involve user interviews, stakeholder discussions, customer feedback, and market research. This understanding is crucial as the primary reason for product failure is often the creation of a product that users neither want nor need.

With a solid understanding of the target users, the product designer can develop user personas. These personas are succinct, easily shareable documents that provide a detailed portrait of a hypothetical user, including their needs, challenges, behaviours, attitudes, and other characteristics.

The product designer also investigates the competitive landscape. They assess existing competitors, potential disruptors, and ways to distinguish your product. If the product is intended for an organisation’s employees, are there pre-existing solutions available?

With these insights in hand, the product designer assists in defining the product strategy. This strategy should be comprehensive enough to be documented in detail, yet succinct enough to be encapsulated in a compelling “elevator pitch”.

For instance, Airbnb’s elevator pitch might be: “Our digital platform bridges the gap between travellers and locals, enabling the rental of rooms or entire properties. Guests enjoy cost savings, hosts profit from their vacant spaces, and we earn a 10% commission.”

This strategy isn’t set in stone. It can be continually refined and enhanced as the designer progresses with the product design and user testing. In this way, the equilibrium between user and business needs is preserved, creating the foundation for a successful digital product.

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