The business world is becoming increasingly competitive, especially as we move towards digitalisation and online services. Customers expect more. They rely on businesses to offer both speed and convenience.
Any new business or proposition in any market needs to be on top of the digital game. Within this rapidly evolving landscape, customers have ever-changing needs and expectations of how they want to use technology.
The main challenge for brands and online businesses? Keeping up with the expectations of demanding digital users. This is a constant battle across all industries. It’s clear that Proposition Managers must ensure that new propositions meet and surpass these expectations.
Failure isn’t an option. Why? Because delivering a poorly thought out digital proposition comes with big risks, some of which include:
- Technology is expensive – therefore, it can be a costly mistake if no one is interested in your new product
- Starting with technology risks not providing any value to the customer (what problem is it actually solving – if any?)
- A poor user experience can mean customers are not interested in what you offer and either go to a competitor or find alternative ways of doing things
However, by carefully considering your digital proposition, you are able to create something that end-users desire and create a competitive advantage, both of which are particularly powerful in today’s marketplace.
1) Importance of understanding customer expectations.
Any digital proposition needs to be customer focussed. Understanding the needs, interests and preferences of the customer is crucial. It is the insight gathered from your target market that will inform every aspect of product development.
- What problems are customers encountering that we are able to resolve?
- How can our product make life easier for the consumer?
- What can we offer that our competitors don’t?
By answering questions like these you give yourself a firm foundation on which to develop your product. Discussions must be had with key business stakeholders also, as while it’s important that you focus on the customer, you must also keep in mind commercial viability and the needs of the business.
Consumer insight is also vital when establishing your communication strategy. Use what you have discovered to establish how you will go about building interest in the product once developed.
A successful digital proposition is as much about telling a story that resonates with the intended user base as it is about offering the right product. Establishing what the audience is looking for allows you to communicate the most relevant aspects for higher engagement.
2) Innovation and ideation.
Armed with this insight, you then have a clear understanding of the challenges and areas of opportunity to capitalise on. You can begin to brainstorm ideas and look at innovative solutions with real world value.
Experimentation is key when designing propositions. It is in these early stages that you can afford to take chances and attempt ideas that may not seem viable on paper.
This is especially true now, as the coronavirus pandemic has forced digital innovation at a much quicker pace. ‘Out of the box’ thinking can be a game-changer. In times of uncertainty, an approach that may not have worked previously, could be the key to exponential growth.
Not every idea is going to take off. But by taking some calculated risks in the proposition stages, you eliminate ideas that will incur high costs with low gains – with the opportunity to stumble upon an innovative solution that would have been missed.
3) Bringing to life with designs and prototypes.
The ideation stage provides the opportunity for generating ideas and developing concepts with purpose and direction. Following this, it is time to bring the ideas that are worth moving forward with to life, through designs and prototypes.
By creating rapidly designed prototypes you can very quickly test propositions with groups of users and communicate with internal stakeholders for feedback and buy-in.
The feedback provided by these test groups offers valuable insight, highlighting any problem areas, as well as positive elements that can be honed in on and amplified. Forming your unique selling point (USP) when it comes to marketing and communication upon launch of the product.
Many of the concepts will fall to the wayside at this stage, leaving the most feasible of propositions with which to move forward to the next stage.
4) Test, validate, change.
Rapid iteration of prototype design and testing provides clarity on the viability of a product and how it can be shaped and moulded to meet the intended user requirements.
Testing ideas on a small scale, quickly and repeatedly is the most effective way of knowing what is and is not plausible from a financial and technical standpoint, and in terms of marketing.
You’ll be aware of which ideas provide value to the user, comply with all necessary regulations and effectively support current products and services.
By thoroughly testing your concepts on multiple user groups you are able to validate your concepts and get a clear picture of the value provided and where improvements need to be made.
Undertaking these tests, evaluating the results and executing the necessary adaptations is key to a successful digital proposition. Making life easier for those in charge of production and delivering the final product to market.
The benefits of following the four key steps.
The proposition stage paves the way for the production team to build a product based on thorough and accurate research, testing of concept and real-world customer insight. This lays the foundation for a successful product launch with minimal challenges and maximum effectiveness.
By performing each of the steps outlined above, the risk of an ineffective product is largely negated, and the likelihood that new propositions will be adopted by users is greatly increased.
The end result is an effective digital proposition leading to digital products that customers enjoy and more than willing to use.