Monday, March 31, 2014

Pattern Mining - The crucial link for your product alignment

Patterns emerge from the way consumer interacts with your product.  These patterns tells how users use the product  to do what they want.

Now, do your product stick to the existing patterns? (or) you go and seek for new patterns and trends?

The product has to evolve with new patterns and possibilities. Sticking to a pattern may make your company/product complacent. For this, You have to hunt and mine for new patterns. Based  upon the new patterns, you can alter your existing offering (or) you can give entirely a new offering.  How fast you align the product with external circumstances and audience sentiment is more crucial than ever before.

Now, how you can mine a new pattern?. Some of the possible ways you can to do this are...

See your customers - Data Analytics

See your customers. See how they are using your app.  For this, Data Analytics has to be part of your product development and management. For efficient data analytics, you need to have a good data set
and customer actions has to be captured with efficient logging .etc . So Data Analytics has to be factored out in product design and development.

Talk to your customer

Go and just talk to some random customers. You'll be surprised to get more insights by knowing how they are using your app and the suggestions they give. It would be even better if you able to segregate your customer segment something like - customer discarded your product, customer actively using your product, new customers, customers from different locality.. etc. and talk to them. You can do this as an monthly exercise.

Mine the pattern from the outside world 

Seek the pattern in the outside world.  This can be general consumption of information in your space (or) through a proper  research conducted by surveys and feedback.

Follow your competitors

Another way of doing this by following your competitor (or) the companies in your space.  If you see some trends, you can also align with the that.

For example, Facebook introduced places which is similar to Foursquare Checkin, Facebook introduced hashtags which is from twitter

Crunch data to get insights

Crunching and combining the above data points helps you to mine new patterns which guides your overall product alignment.

Apart from these data points, your ability to foresee the things and your intuition also helps here.

Why we need?

New trends and patterns are emerging very fast and your product/offering may become obsolete sooner than before.

Who needs this?

  • Even if you are a start-up (or) an established player, you have to do this.
  • Do this even if your business is doing good (or) you are a leader in your space.  At times, you miss the changing tide and things may change very fast.
  • Do this if your business is not doing good. Even a small change in your offering may work in your favour.
  • Also mining new patterns is not something restricted with product development (or) product management alone.  For example, digital marketing is becoming more dynamic. Your strategy for last month may not work this month. You may need to sell entirely in a new Platform. So you have to mine the patterns and see the trends here as well.

May be,  BBM could have achieved what WhatsApp did. (or)  Nokia could have capitalized the smart phone market if they aligned their product strategy and offering at the right time by mining the new patterns and see the trends.