Many fast-growing tech companies are looking for all of the best tools, tricks, and strategies to build industry-leading, disruptive digital products. A digital product is a platform or service that is available digitally to consumers. Netflix, Facebook, and Amazon are all examples of larger-than-life successful digital products that millions of consumers enjoy.
The success of digital products is dependent on a variety of different factors, and competition is stiff in the industry. New software applications and other platforms are being created every day to solve problems for consumers and businesses. In order to stand out, companies must use every tool at their disposal to capture market share and outpace their competitors.
However, it can be difficult for top managers to know how to prioritize their time and attention when making their digital product a success. So, let’s explore the five keys to digital product success today.
1. Market Research
One of the fundamentals of producing a successful digital product is gaining insights into the wants, needs, and psychology of the market demographic it is being sold to. Conducting extensive market research is one of the most overlooked parts of making a digital product successful.
Too often do companies invest large amounts of time and money into producing a digital product without truly understanding the need for it and the demographics of the users that will become early adopters of the product. It’s among the most costly mistakes a firm can make because developing and selling a digital product is often an expensive endeavor. If that work is performed based on faulty assumptions, it means the product will have to be redesigned.
Redeveloping a digital product can often be more difficult than product owners might imagine since digital products are based upon a particular set of specifications. These specifications are typically laid out in a design and wireframing stage before engineering work begins. Engineers write code according to these specifications and it can therefore be difficult to retrospectively add new features or change the core functionality of the product.
In some cases, the product might have to be redeveloped completely, which is often quite expensive. That’s why it’s crucial to gather important market research and data beforehand to make sure the product is designed based on the needs of consumers.
2. User Experience Design
Another important step to truly understand customers is to prioritize user experience (UX) design and user feedback. While market research often focuses on gathering data points to understand collective groups of potential users, user experience concentrates on gathering data points from individual users about specific features and functionalities of the product.
These insights from individual users are gathered using a specific procedure that is formulated to limit cognitive biases and ensure the feedback being offered is accurate and actionable. User experience designers are educated regarding how best to conduct these user tests. Once this feedback is aggregated and analyzed, user experience designers create designs for the product based on the needs of customers.
User experience designers work alongside user interface (UI) designers to figure out how best these new features should be designed and implemented after hearing directly from users. This piece by the Washington Post gives more insights into the importance of UI/UX design as well as other tech roles.
3. Product Managers
Product managers are a crucial part of the success of a digital product. Product managers are cross-functional leaders with a diverse range of different skill sets. They are jacks of all trades that often have expertise in the fields of design, software engineering, and marketing.
This broad range of skills allows product managers to work closely with different departments to ensure that they are all working together harmoniously to prioritize making the best product possible. Because product managers work cross-functionally, they can bring an impartial attitude to interdepartmental disagreements and competing interests within a company.
Some product managers are put in charge of one product that they are responsible for. In other organizations, a product manager is assigned to a specific set of features of a digital product based on their specialty. This guide by Digital Authority goes into more details about the responsibilities of product managers and how they’re organized in tech companies.
4. Data-Driven Digital Marketing
No digital product can be a great success without effective marketing efforts. Innovative tech companies work with expert digital marketers who possess design, copywriting, and analytical skills. They also keep up with the latest news trends regarding their target market.
These marketing professionals craft digital ads on platforms offered by companies like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Adwords to reach a target audience and meet important key performance indicators, or KPIs.
Moreover, these marketers analyze marketing data to find ways that they can reduce the cost-per-click of digital ads, maximize their reach, and increase conversions.
This piece by the New York Times offers a chilling perspective on just how data-driven marketing has become in the information age.
The importance of branding should never be underestimated when working to create a successful digital product. This piece by the BBC explains why elements of branding as simple as a logo are often overlooked, and in fact quite important.
A digital product should project an image that is in accordance with its target market. Part of this process often involves developing an effective public relations strategy that maximizes earned media opportunities that give favorable coverage of the product.
The products brand should be consistent across all platforms with consistent and repeatable color palettes and typography. An influencer marketing strategy can also be part of building a digital product’s brand.
Reaching out to influencers with an audience and allowing them to try or use a digital product for free and write reviews or testimonials of its benefits can be a great way to perfect the product’s brand and reach new audiences.
Many influencers can provide compelling social proof to their audiences and an authentic voice concerning the digital product’s benefits. Bloggers, Youtubers, and streamers are all sometimes receptive to endorse products that they love.