Strategic Product Design: 9 Steps To Create Yours

Discover the 9 essential steps to create a strategic product design in this comprehensive guide. Learn how to streamline your design process, align with your brand, and enhance user experience to achieve your business goals.

Today, I will walk about why product design matters - the foundational pillar for expressing your brand and philosophy through design at every touchpoint with your users.

Discover the 9 essential steps to create a strategic product design in this comprehensive guide. Learn how to streamline your design process, align with your brand, and enhance user experience to achieve your business goals.

Your product isn’t about what you do. It’s about how you make them feel.

Your product was never the point. It’s always been about them, your users.

Your product, your brand, your marketing, … they’re all hear to make people feel something. To help your users achieve their goals. If you can build with that goal in mind, you’ll reap all the rewards coming from it:

  • User loyalty and more word-of-mouth than you know what to do with it

  • Competitive advantage to defeat even the most crowded markets

  • Product value and aesthetic that justify premium pricing

But here’s the thing… You can’t control what people think or say behind your back. What they really think or feel about your product.

You can, however, actively move it in the direction of your choice by shaping and improving every touchpoint and experience they have with your business.

This is where strategic product design comes in.

Strategic design is about being intentionally more selective with the design opportunities you decide to pursue. This focused perspective increases revenue by bringing purpose through every touchpoint and journey you craft throughout your product for your users.

9 steps to create your strategic product design

1. Clearly describe your user

Who’s your customer? Describe them. What’s their core values, purpose, and mission that deeply connects them to your product?

Most products get stuck, accumulate design and tech debts, or need to pivot because they didn’t commit early on to a single dream user avatar. Less is more. Focus.

2. Define their “why”

You know what they want, and the purpose that connects them back to your product. But why do they want it? What’s their ambitions and desires?

Understanding your core user’s motivations allow you to authentically connect with them and create a product that shares the same values as them.

3. What are the obstacles standing in their way?

What are they afraid of? What negative roadblocks or outcomes are they trying to avoid?

Motivation can be either positive or negative. We often think about the dream state but the goldmine might actually be in the negativity.

Your product and experiences should address what they’re avoiding, what will never happen because of your business. Your features should always aim at removing their obstacles.

4. What have they tried in the past that hasn’t worked?

Is it their first time using a product like yours? Are they currently using a competitor’s product and thinking about switching? Why aren’t they satisfied with the current solution?

Getting context around their journey that led them to your product, and understanding the problems that made their past options disappointing can become a strong benefit.

You could easily differentiate yourself by solving problems that other products in your industry aren’t solving. Their weaknesses can become your strengths.

5. How would they measure success? What are the gaps in your product?

What are their standards and expectations? What’s missing in your product that could get them to stay with you? Are the gaps aligned with your product roadmap and are they worth pursuing?

A lot of confusion and misunderstanding can be solved by simply asking about expectations. Perspectives and definitions can vary between people, and clarifying them is fundamental.

One bad habit that many early companies do is to deliver everything clients want, even if the features or needs don’t match with the general roadmap and mission of the product. Even though saying yes and getting distracted is tempting, staying no will allow more focus.

6. Are there any reasons preventing them from moving forward with your product?

What stops your users from getting the most value out of your product? How long does it usually take them before they stop using it? What are the reasons?

Alternatively, figure out what activates your ideal users by looking at the ones who activate the fastest. What actions do they take? Who are they specifically? What do they get?

Build journeys and flows that make more users activate faster. The goal is to get your users enough value, as fast as possible, for them to stick with your product.

7. What do they want to do next?

What ares some potential problems that will emerge from solving their initial problem? Are there other problems your business can solve to keep your clients longer?

The way to grow a business at no extra cost is to keep your customers for a longer period of time. It’s especially important once your product solves a need that can disappear, or having new problems that appear once you start solving the main one.

8. Get everyone up-to-date and accountable

A problem that often emerges at larger companies, especially across multiple departments, is a lack of alignment or accountability.

Disconnected efforts and beliefs slow everyone down, while being synchronized and aligned will boost the company as a whole towards achieving shared goals.

9. Boost business valuation

Potential investors and acquirers assess companies’ potential not only from a financial perspective but they also look deep at the business’ assets and processes.

A strong design culture that can run independently while creating sustainable business growth will greatly strengthen your valuation.

Free worksheet: 10-Point Product Design Self-Audit

Wondering your business can stack up product design and reach the next level?

Take our free 10-point brand audit assessment to find out.

This checklist will help you see your current strengths as well as the gaps that are worth addressing across your product.

Remember, no matter what you build, your business will always have to rely on product design to keep your customers satisfied. And the companies that believe product design isn’t a necessity to succeed get slowly eaten by the ones that do.

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Made with care and gusto,

from France