How digital products are shaping the post-COVID economy

Andy Norman
Publication Date
10 June 2021

How digital products are shaping the post-COVID economy

How digital products are shaping the post-COVID economy

Designing and developing digital products requires an end-to-end approach, from crafting your digital strategy, pre and post-launch marketing, and continuous improvements. Today, this process has become extremely complex. We have seen digital adoption skyrocket. In some cases, 10 years of consumer adoption of e-commerce was compressed into three months during the pandemic. As a result, companies will need to catch up to this increased desire and demand for digital. 

Digital transformation is happening all around us, so how should companies begin their digital product journey?

In this blog, we interview Andy Norman, President of Mobiquity, about how companies looking to improve their digital products and digital experiences should approach this increasingly important part of their overall strategy in order to delight their customers in the new normal. 

Let’s start off by asking you: what is a digital product?

AN: Digital products can be digital applications, platforms, or a combination of hardware and software that drive new revenue streams for an organization. The immersive experiences that digital products provide connect the dots between multiple touch points using a data-driven approach, enhancing the overall brand experience that it delivers to customers. 

“Why should I create a digital product?” is a question many leaders ask themselves. Why do you think now is the time to invest in digital products?

AN: Now is a fantastic time to reassess your digital strategy. Digital adoption is at an all-time high. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many industries and a greater emphasis on digital products and experiences has arrived. I truly don’t think we’ll ever go back to pre-pandemic times – meaning, I think digital is here to stay and it will completely disrupt and change the economy. And this is good. Customers have higher expectations when it comes to interacting with brands and the companies that understand this and focus on being customer-obsessed will end up creating the new technology that defines the post-COVID consumer experience. It’s an exciting time to innovate and create a new customer journey that is more reflective of their new way of engaging with your brand.

Product engineering is often the bulk of the work when it comes to creating and launching a new digital product in the market. Why is this important and what are some features to look for when evaluating partners that can turn a company’s vision into reality?

AN: Product engineering is the heart and soul of every great digital product that you experience. Nothing “simply works” without product engineering. In my opinion, the best digital consultancy partners combine product management, business analysis, and product innovation for the successful ongoing management of your product. The development teams usually consist of data scientists, engineers, developers, strategists, and designers who all work together to ensure that when you open an app, login to a website portal, or use any other digital channel, you are able to achieve what you set out to do.

Thinking about digital product development, what advice do you have for how to develop a long-term digital strategy?

AN: Long-term digital strategies acknowledge that the one consistent thing about change is that it’s constant. So while you’re in the process of change management and developing a new digital product, it’s important to build change into your strategy. Consider how this helped companies who were able to quickly pivot at the height of COVID in 2020 (and how it really hurt companies that didn’t have a forward-thinking plan in place). 

Some questions you should consider to help you better create a long-term digital strategy include: 

  • Do you have a plan to regularly check in on your product’s goals, customer data, and analytics
  • Are you consistently updating your mobile app or website to meet customer needs? 
  • Are you measuring everything you do against your North Star
  • Do you have a plan for people, processes, and technology should you need to make changes to your product?
  • Will you hold regular meetings for idea generation and innovative brainstorming? 

Thinking about how to develop a long-term digital strategy requires strategic thinking and planning ahead. We’ve witnessed product visions that didn’t consider the long-term, and this is where some fall short in achieving their business goals. Don’t simply consider what you know. Plan for the future by establishing governance for handling the unknowns that pop up from time to time and you’ll be much more prepared for success.

What is the future of product management?

AN: The future of product management includes a heightened awareness and focus on digital technology. While not all products are digital, the opportunity to include digital elements into your product strategy moving forward is one that should not be overlooked. Moving forward, I think it will be rare to think about product development without considering the role that digital plays. As more companies incorporate digital into their existing products and develop brand new digital products, technology will continue to evolve and customers will only get more accustomed to using digital. As these experiences and products become immersive, customers and businesses alike will change and begin to see and implement the power of digital. 

Once a product vision is in place, what are the next steps? We often hear about product roadmaps. Can you give an example of a product roadmap, what it should contain, and best practices?

AN: There are many steps that make up the design and development of a digital product, and a product roadmap is certainly part of that approach. However, to put it all into context, we should start from the beginning. 

  • Step 1: Analyze the current landscape
    First, you should conduct the research necessary to understand the landscape you’re about to enter with your new product. At Mobiquity, we do this by conducting interviews with your team, customers, and even researching your competitors with our proprietary Friction Report. Having the full picture and deeply understanding the landscape will make the other parts of your digital strategy much easier to define and achieve.
  • Step 2: Identify your North Star strategy
    Once you understand the landscape and your own goals, it’s time to identify your North Star. The North Star helps you uncover what success means for your customer and how you will measure it over time. When creating a digital product or experience, you need to align your goals and establish a framework for measuring success. The North Star is your springboard for creating this alignment.
  • Step 3: Create your product roadmap
    How you bring the North Star to life through initiatives and actions is the basis of your product roadmap. Typically, we phase out the roadmap in snackable steps to help you achieve your goals and stay on track by meeting your deadlines.We like to focus on product initiatives that will move the CX needle within your organization and truly make an impact rather than focus on a set of features. That micro view tends to turn into a tactical roadmap and you lose sight of the big picture. You should also consider focusing on all product initiatives that impact the CX - not just those that pertain to the digital experience. For example, a retail brand should be identifying CX initiatives that span across digital touchpoints, store operations, BOPIS, data sophistication, etc.
  • Step 4: Establish a framework
    After the roadmap is created, it’s time to establish your framework. This step includes breaking out the roadmap into phases of teams, customer feature areas, etc. It’s about getting more personalized around your strategy and making it happen. This is also typically where an ROI model is deployed to help validate which areas of your product we should focus on and which can be saved for a later phase or removed from the strategy if they don’t offer your business ROI.

Finally, how do you help a new digital product achieve ultimate success?

AN: Launching a new product into the market takes a lot of work and patience. But Mobiquity’s Digital Traction Model helps bring order and process to your product lifecycle from start to finish. From ideation to build, market launch, and post-launch optimization, our model stitches together strategy, design, analytics, engineering and marketing services to guide you through your product realization. We start by first considering your users’ needs, ensuring that your product is human-centric at its core. We then help to create processes and collaborative teams, leading you to only build what has value for your organization and your users. It’s all a part of the Mobiquity magic that leads to success for your customers, employees, and stakeholders. Check us out! You won’t regret it.

We’d like to thank Andy for his time and contributions to this blog. For more information about Mobiquity’s digital products, click here.

Andy Norman

Andy Norman is co-President of Mobiquity and a member of its Executive Team. Prior to Mobiquity, Andy spent six years at Sagitta Performance Systems, a UK-based consulting company that he co-founded and sold to GlassHouse Technologies, followed by six years with GlassHouse, where he held a number of leadership roles culminating in Chief Operating Officer. He started his career with IBM, where he held a variety of roles before moving on to Xyratex, an IBM spin-off. Andy holds both a BSc and a M’Eng from Brunel University in London. He is married with four grown (and graduated) children. He enjoys most sports, especially cycling and coaching soccer.

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