A solid product vision is existential for any company
When I first joined Papirfly in the summer of 2022 I joined an exceptional group of people. Through various mergers and acquisitions we had strategically assembled a dream team with a fantastic group of products.
With the new larger company only being a few months old – yet with a heritage stretching back more than 20 years – it was the perfect time to create a long term product vision; one which would underpin our growth planning.
There are many traits and attributes that differ between successful companies but one thing that unites those who grow the fastest, offer the best customer experience, and continuously innovate is a strong product vision.
What I looked at when creating a product vision for Papirfly
With industry leading products we had a great starting point. For brand control we had Brand Portal and Brand Hub, both of which will become Point in 2023. Our enterprise-grade asset management products include award-winning DAM tools we’re combining to create Place in the next 12 months. And our best-in-class template creation products – that will come together as Produce in the year ahead – help our customers activate their brand.
Add to that the collaboration, planning, workflow, and approval functionality within the product group (all of which will be relaunched as Plan in the coming months) and the Papirfly product offering has everything marketers need to build, launch, scale, defend, and control their brands.
But we didn’t quite yet have it all within one product suite. Which is why we launched Unification; our major program to unite and unify the best of everything we’ve ever built into one cohesive product suite.
Unification, which started at the end of 2022 and will be launched to the market in May 2023 (be the first to get access), will see us bring all of our products’ strengths together for the first time. Where customers might have only used – and loved – one or two products in the past they’ll be able to access all of them in one enterprise-grade tool. One access, one look and feel, one ecosystem. Further, we’ll be able to add our latest product – deep analytics and reporting capability – to the heart of the joined-up product, launching what will be known as Prove simultaneously.
Completing the vision of having one interoperable product suite – designed to put the greatest brand management tools at our customers’ fingertips – is our integrations bench strength, Plus. A marketplace of connectors, plug-ins, and integrations, designed to extend the power, flexibility, and scalability of Papirfly.
Power. Flexibility. Scalability. These became the pillars of our new product vision. The newly unified Papirfly product suite offers customers the ability to do everything they need to in one place, move simply and swiftly between different functionalities, and access a product offering that is absolutely greater than the sum of its parts.
Deciding on, and believing in, Unification
It was relatively obvious from day one that Unification was the right strategy. Why? Because we had a market-leading product in each of our service areas. We didn’t have glaring gaps, we didn’t have to focus on ‘fixing’ broken products, and we didn’t have significant innovation gaps in the market either. Which meant we knew, very quickly, that our primary task was to bring everything together in one family.
The best automotive brands do this – with the commonalities of platform sharing used to build competitive advantage. The best retail groups do this – with shared services, logistics, and scale all used for leverage and to build the best customer experience. We’re doing something similar and Unification is how we’re doing it.
Creating a product vision that works
One thing worse than having no formalised product vision is – of course – having one that doesn’t work. When I, and the product team, set out to create a vision that worked for all of our products, all of our people, and – most importantly – all of our customers, we did our research thoroughly.
The resulting product vision reflects what our customers need, what our people can build (better than anyone else), and where we sit in the market. We have ensured product-market fit by collaborating with customers (including via our new Customer Council), working hand-in-hand with partners (including via our new Product & Partners group), and partnering with industry tone-setters like Forrester.
The result of this multi-pronged approach is that we have a product vision that anyone at Papirfly can communicate to anyone we work with. Indeed our internal studies show that 99% of Papirfly employees, when surveyed, know exactly where the product team is taking our product.
Aligning external with internal
We have worked hard on communications – which is one of the not-so-secret secrets of successful product development. Rather than doing it in isolation we have communicated, collaborated, and engaged with all of our stakeholders. What product builds affects what sales sells, how customer success delivers customer experience, and how marketing talks to the world. So we’ve made sure everyone has been involved in the process.
One of our key outputs has been the opening up of our product development process. Our product roadmap is public and allows all of our customers to feed in ideas, thoughts, and feedback. Our RoadmapTV channel on papirfly.com brings together all of our product assets transparently and simply – from release notes to webinars, from whitepapers to ‘how to’ videos, and from ‘meet the maker’ content to the latest news on our product suite’s evolutions. And our internal program of product knowledge, education, information, and engagement means that everyone at Papirfly knows everything about our product at Papirfly.
The result is a product vision that directly translates to product innovation and one which builds a customer experience we can be proud of – reflected in statistics like 99% of Papirfly customers saying they would happily recommend us to a friend or colleague.
We’ve only just started but our product vision is guiding us for customer-led growth. Find out more about the future of brand management by booking a demo today.