Is the product vision board just another buzzword? Its creator, Roman Pichler, doesn’t think so.
To be fully convinced that you’re on the right path, he says, you need to map out a clear vision for your product. At June, we’re interested in product management tools and templates like the product vision board. After all, we’ve come up with a few of our own templates.
If the product vision board seems a bit abstract to you, we’ll give you a more concrete idea of how to use it in this article. Furthermore, we’ll go over some product vision board examples so that you can see the template in practice.
What Is a Product Vision Board?
The product vision board starts with a vision. This vision is whatever purpose you want to achieve with your product. There are 4 components to this:
- Target Group
- Business Goals
First, you identify a target group that you think would like to use your product. Then, you identify some of that target group’s needs that your product can solve. Next, you zoom in on the product to define exactly what it is and how it differs from others. Finally, you match this up to your business goals. How will this product serve the aims of your company?
Let’s drill down on each component further.
If you have an idea for a product, you probably already have a vision for what you want it to do. You can’t start a product vision board until you have a tangible vision.
Your vision boils down to a mere one-line description. For instance, at June, our vision is to help you build and measure a great product. This might seem a little vague, but everyone’s vision does at first. The next four components help you bring your vision to reality.
Your product should target a well-defined audience. Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Oftentimes, it’s far more lucrative to serve a small, underserved niche than it is to compete for a wider market.
Of course, your audience doesn’t need to be a single type of person. There might be many different characters that might interest themselves in your brand. For instance, you might appeal to both freelance product photographers and social media marketers with your product.
Next, your task is to find the underlying pain points that each of your demographics has in common. Once again, you don’t need to conduct thorough market research. Most likely, you came up with this idea under the influence of your own lived experience. Therefore, the needs of your target market should almost be self-evident to you.
Once you’ve identified the core needs of your customers, think of how your product will solve them. Each major solution that you come up with will turn into a feature. However, you don’t need to come up with an exhaustive list. Later on, you’ll find that the features you listed originally will flow into a detailed summary of your product use case.
When you’re running a company, especially a SaaS company, it’s important to maintain focus. The product you create should always align with your business objectives. Therefore, you should identify some direct ways that your business benefits from the new product.
Every business is looking to increase its profits, so you should certainly meet that goal. However, you might also turn out a product as a stepping stone to get people to buy a more expensive product you’ve been trying to market to that audience for ages. There’s no limit to what sort of goals your product could help you achieve.
How a Product Vision Board Will Help Your Company
There are 3 major benefits to using a product vision board:
1. Get everyone on the same page.
Having your product’s use case outlined clearly for everyone to see will eliminate uncertainty in your collaborators.
2. Save time and build confidence.
Agility is the name of the game. Visualizing your product with a product vision board will give you clarity and direction. You don’t need to constantly pause and wonder if you’re still on the right track.
3. Gain a new perspective.
When you see everything laid out for you neatly, you might make connections that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Heck, you might even decide to scrap the idea once it’s all written out. Either way, you’ll be able to better conceptualize your path.
6 Tips When Putting a Product Vision Board into Practice
The product vision board is quite intriguing, right? In our experience, these six tips will help you put the board into practice.
Identify The Reason for Your Product
Every product has a purpose. If you want people to buy it, then that reason should make sense to everyone. Think of what will change after your customers use your product. Naturally, it should be a change for the better.
Prioritize Your Vision
When you start your product board, also come up with a vision statement. You want to get everyone on board, both your team and your customers. You can’t do that without firing everyone up.
Better yet, your motivations might be altruistic. You could even spin a time-saving app as a special tool that allows its users to spend more time with their families.
Don’t Squander Your Time
One of the main benefits of a product vision board is that it allows lean startups to gain clarity. A lot of people in SaaS and other tech industries waste weeks on market research. By contrast, a lean startup will quickly develop a vision from what they already know internally. This enables them to bypass the research phase and start testing its features right out of the gate.
For example, you’ll get a good idea of what kind of relationship your users have with your product by looking at your retention data. We offer user retention templates that SaaS companies appreciate greatly.
Turn Your Vision into a Product Strategy
Product strategy is an ongoing process. The product vision board sets the tone for the rest of your work. Note that a product vision is no substitute for a product strategy, it just helps you get started.
One of the main things that people miss when they implement their product strategy is to conduct a feature audit. This will help you validate some of your past choices and see which features your customers actually use.
Share Your Vision
When you develop a product, you need to have your whole team on board to be effective. Make sure to collect feedback from various stakeholders to ensure that everyone feels that their voices are heard.
The best way to tell that your team is united is to ask two different people what the vision for the product is. If they both give a similar answer to your own, then you know that you’ve communicated effectively.
Track Your Progress
At every step, you should go back and evaluate if you’re still on the right path. The best way to do this is to get feedback from your users. While qualitative feedback from surveys can be nice, your best data will be holistic and quantitative.
Product Vision Board Examples for SaaS
It’s time to look at some product vision board examples in action. Since SaaS is what we know best, we decided to come up with 2 examples for 2 different types of SaaS companies.
Workforce Management SaaS
Imagine, you’re managing a huge multinational company and you need to find a way to pay everyone. Fortunately, Papaya Global allows you to manage payroll and onboarding for employees in over 160 different countries.
We aren’t the founders of Papaya Global. However, you can imagine that if they made a product vision board at the outset, it might have looked a little something like the following.
You only need a sentence or two for this.
“Provide comprehensive payroll solutions that help global companies quickly disburse payments to their employees in a tax-compliant way.”
It should be clear that after companies use this product, they’ll find that they spend far less time on payroll administration tasks.
You could sell this type of SaaS to just about any multi-national company. However, it’s typically tech companies that require this kind of expansive outreach. Papaya’s biggest clients include Intel and Microsoft.
Companies that operate in several jurisdictions experience major headaches come tax season. Tax rates and tax seasons are different across the world. Not to mention, each country has its own set of banks that they use. Instead of wasting time figuring all this out, most companies would be relieved to outsource it to an intelligent piece of software instead.
The founders of Papaya probably didn’t come up with all their features in a day. But core features such as payroll automation, time tracking, and expenses management were probably rolled out from day one. Afterward, they might have realized that a reporting and analytics platform would be helpful to their customers.
Their business goals might be to enter new markets by providing people in places like Germany and China with a tax administration platform. Alternatively, they might have wanted to acquire bigger clients like multinational corporations.
Marketing Automation SaaS
Hubspot is one of the leading CRM platforms on the internet. That said, one of their core products is Marketing Hub, a tool that focuses on marketing automation and lead generation.
This example is valuable because it covers a company that was already established. You’ll get to see a product vision board example instituted at a higher level.
Right from the start, Hubspot says that Marketing Hub “helps you grow traffic, convert more visitors, and run complete inbound marketing campaigns at scale.” You don’t need to be so blunt at first, though. They might have originally phrased this as “Marketing Hub helps you manage marketing campaigns so you can attract more visitors and convert them.”
At first glance, it might seem like just about any company could use this tool. However, you must consider that the people researching marketing solutions are either going to be small-to-medium business owners or marketing managers.
These groups can be quite different, but what they have in common is a desire to grow their business as efficiently as possible using social media.
In general, these two groups need a way to manage their social media campaigns in one place. This includes everything from gathering leads to monitoring conversions.
Gathering leads is a very broad way of describing their users’ needs. Therefore, Hubspot needed to narrow this down to specific features. What they came up with were tools for forms, landing pages, email marketing, and social media ads.
As a result, they probably found that their customers needed tracking software too. Some of your key features initially will necessitate further features in the future.
Hubspot CRM was already a leading CRM tool. But being in the business of marketing and lead management, they must have felt as though they were missing out on lead generation. Both through email and social media. They could have created this software to expand their market share by catering to social media while some of their competitor CRMs didn’t.