Making your mark comes at a cost. The more you want to achieve, the more you have to give. That’s why the best marketing strategists always plan their next best move.
If you want to be the best, keep your eye on the prize and be willing to put in the extra effort. To stay ahead of the game, you need to be proactive and have a plan for every eventuality. You can’t just sit back and hope things will work out – you need to create a plan and make them happen.
The key to success is strategic product planning, which involves taking time to think about your goals, target marketing, and competition. You can develop a clear strategy for making your products stand out.
So, when it comes to product planning, what’s your secret? Let’s tell you ours.
What is Product Planning?
Product planning defines the products or services a company wants to offer and how they will position them in their market. It involves setting goals, researching the competition, and understanding customer needs.
The initial goal of product planning is to develop a roadmap that will guide the company’s product development plan efforts. You should base this roadmap on a deep understanding of customer needs and the competitive landscape.
Do you understand your customers on a deep, intrinsic level? If not, we can help you get there. Wizard of Sales® is a group of Sales Operations Strategists who take into account your target market’s specific characteristics. We also make sure to understand your competition so we can help you position your product in the marketplace. Book a demo.
Product Plan vs. Go-to-Market Plan
Now that we know what product planning is, we can talk about product plans and go-to-market plans. Why? Because these two types of plans are often confused, there is a lot of misunderstanding between them.
Why does this matter? As a business owner you need a clear understanding of both types of plans. When you don’t follow the proper order of operations, you run into frustration, added costs, and wasted time.
A product plan is a document that outlines the strategy for developing and delivering a new product or service. It should answer the questions: What are we going to build (specifically)? How will this product work? What problem will it solve? Who will use this product? How will we bring it to market? Why does this product matter?
A go-to-market (GTM) plan is a document that outlines how you will execute your product strategy. In other words, it answers the questions: Now that we have built this product/service, how do we sell it? When is the best time to go to market? Where will we sell it?
Base your GTM plan on your product plan, but go into more detail about things like target market, pricing, marketing channels, and so on.
Product Planning Significance and Objectives
The process of product planning is vital because it helps you figure out what you should build and how to bring it to market.
Creating a product planning template is also pertinent because it helps you track your progress and make necessary course corrections down the road.
Furthermore, product planning helps you allocate resources efficiently, including your money, energy, and time.
Product Planning is required for:
- Replacing old and obsolete products with new ones: When a product becomes old and outdated, you need to replace it with a new and improved version. However, that’s only possible if proper planning is involved.
- Maintaining and increasing the company’s growth rate: Introducing new products regularly maintains or increases the company’s growth rate. These could be new services, too, but this is only possible through product planning.
- Utilizing extra capacity: When a company has extra capacity, it can use the capacity to produce new products. Again, that’s only possible if there’s a product plan in place.
- Leverage extra funds or borrowing capacity: When a company has more funds available, you can use them to finance the development of new products.
- Risk diversification and competition: A company can diversify its risk by introducing new products. If one product fails the others will still be successful. Additionally, new products can help a company compete against its competitors.
Product planning is essential for a company to increase its revenue. By introducing new products, a company can utilize extra capacity, funds, or borrowing capacity. Additionally, new products can help a company diversify its risk and compete against its competitors.
Vision and Alignment
Your vision and alignment start with your product engineers. Their vision must align with the product and company vision.Your product engineers must align themselves with the company’s vision to create products that are in line with the company’s goals.
Your product engineers must also be aware of the product’s objectives. They can only do this by having a clear understanding of the target market. Additionally, they should be able to provide feedback to the marketing team to ensure that the products they create are feasible and meet your customer’s actual felt needs through pain and pleasure points.
Marketing teams should also have a clear understanding of their target market. This includes all of the demographic, psychographic, and geographic data. Marketers can then put together a single unified strategy for introducing your product to the marketplace.
Finally, your marketing team should always be evaluating your marketing campaigns to see what is working and what isn’t. By consistently tweaking your campaigns, you will improve your results over time.
Common Misconceptions about Product Planning
A common misconception about product planning is that it’s only for big businesses. Product planning is a vital part of any business, big or small. Without a plan, it’s difficult knowing what direction to take your product or service and how to reach your target market.
Product planning should also not be something you do at the last minute. A solid product plan takes money, energy, and time to develop, and you should be consistently updating and iterating as your business evolves.
One of the biggest misconceptions about product planning is that it’s a one-time activity. In reality, product planning is an ongoing process that you should revisit regularly.
As your business grows and changes, so, too, should your product plan. You can ensure that it stays relevant and accurate by revisiting it annually.
If you’re not sure where to start with product planning, or if you’re looking for ways to improve your current process, here are a few tips:
- Define your target market: Before you start planning your products, you need to know your target market. That may seem like an obvious step, but it’s often overlooked.
Think about who your ideal customer is and what needs they have that your product can address. Once you have a good understanding of your target market, you can begin to develop products that they will want to buy.
- Research your competition: Once you know your target market, you need to find out what your competition offers. This research will help you understand what products are already available and how you can differentiate your product.
Look at your competitor’s websites and social media accounts to see what kinds of products they offer. Pay attention to pricing, packaging, and any other factors that could affect your product’s success.
- Know your budget: Before you start developing a product, it’s crucial to know how much money you have to work with. That will help you determine your project scope and ensure you don’t overspend.
Develop a realistic budget for your project and stick to it as much as possible. That will help you to avoid any financial surprises down the road.
- Develop a prototype: Once you have an idea of what you want your product to look like, it’s time to start developing a prototype. It can be a physical model or simply a digital version of your product.
Creating a prototype will help you test your ideas and ensure they are feasible. It will also allow you to get feedback from potential customers before launching your product.
- Set a launch date: After you have developed your product and created a prototype, it’s time to set a launch date. It’ll give you a goal to work towards and help keep you on track.
Make sure to give yourself enough time to promote your product before it launches. Also, start taking pre-orders or reservations a few weeks in advance to generate interest and excitement if applicable.
- Promote your product: Once you have a launch date set, it’s time to start planning, promoting, and distributing your products. You can do this through online marketing, social media, PR, and even word-of-mouth.
Your goal is to create as much buzz as possible before your product launches. That will help ensure it’s a success when it finally hits the market.
Product Planning Future Plans
Now that you know the basics of product planning, it’s time to start thinking about your future plans.
What are your long-term goals for the business? What products do you want to launch next year or in three years? Start brainstorming now, and you’ll be well on your way to continued success.
The secret to successful product planning is to maintain a vision-driven and customer-centric mindset. That means that you need to focus on your customers actual felt needs and not get too bogged down in the minutia of other extraneous data.
Of course, that is easier to say than do. But with a little practice, you’ll be able to master the art of product planning and make sure that all of your products or services are hits.
Create Products/Services that Delight Customers
The first step in product planning is to create products or services that your customers will love. It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually not as easy as it sounds.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when creating products or services:
- Understand your customer’s needs by what they say they ‘want’. What people say are all a means to an end.You can solve their real problem when you read between the lines and meet their underlying needs.
- Notice the latest trends. What’s hot right now? What will be fire in the future? What simple and constant problem can you solve?
- Make sure consider what’s unique about your products and services. What sets them apart from your competition is one thing, but when you can tell a better story, tug more effectively at the right heartstrings…you win.
Creating products and services that delight customers is essential to success. But if you want to really knock their socks off, to go above and beyond their expectations.
Think about what you can do to surprise your customers, because surprise is the primary ingredient in delight! The trick behind creating delight is to hold something back and keep it a secret until a surprise reveal at the end. This is the foundation of every amazing magic trick, not to mention those juicy plot twists in your favorite films.
Come up with something unexpected, but highly congruent. When you keep a secret and then reveal something that finishes the story off beautifully, it’ll certainly be memorable.
Be prepared to adjust your plans on the fly. Things change, and you need to be flexible. Be ready to pivot when necessary. You see, that’s the true secret to successful product planning: it’s continuously evolving.
As a business owner, one of your responsibilities has to be product planning. That involves creating products or services that meet the actual felt needs of your target market.
Remember, product planning is also an ongoing process. It’s not a one-time thing. You must continually reassess your products or services and make sure they are still meeting customer needs.
If you keep these things in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating products or services that customers will love. It could be something as simple as adding a personal touch or going the extra mile to ensure they’re happy. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that will leave a lasting impression.
Creating products or services that customers love is essential to any business’ success. Understand your customer’s needs, keep up with trends, and make sure your offerings are unique.
You can craft offerings that will keep people coming back for more. If you really want to wow them, don’t forget to add those personal touches and the delight factor that will make them feel valued and appreciated.
Are you looking to improve your product planning? Then consider hiring a Strategist. A good Strategist can help you develop a comprehensive plan, taking into account all of these factors.
If you want to work with the best, book a demo today with Wizard of Sales®.