Being a market research agency we get a front-row seat to how our clients plan their businesses and compile a list of strategy planning questions. We’re there with them during important moments in their strategic planning, helping them figure out where to go next.
When the year is winding down it’s a moment to look back on what went great, what didn’t, and what ideas never really took off. Well, that’s exactly the kind of things we dive into. But what’s even more exciting is figuring out how to rev things up for the upcoming year.
We want to spill the beans on some of the key questions as we gear up for 2024. Plus, we’ll clue you in on the smart ways we suggest you tackle these questions. So, stick around, and let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of planning for the new year!
Typical 2024 Strategy Planning Questions
Whether your business ranges from UX consultancies, personal injury law firms to consumer games and clothing brands, you probably have the same important questions when it comes to planning your strategies.
Question #1: How Should You Decide What to Work on First for Your Product?
This question often comes from smart product teams who are in the trenches of planning for the upcoming year. They’re grappling with choices like whether to focus on features that keep existing customers happy or ones that could attract new customers. In simpler terms, they’re figuring out the best mix.
How to Tackle This Question:
At its core, this is a question about what product and feature ideas to prioritize. It’s about figuring out which ideas will really click with your current customers or those you hope to attract. We recommend two ways to approach this:
This is like dipping your toes in the water to see if it’s warm. It involves collecting feedback from the right customer group to understand which ideas have the most appeal and relevance. You share your product or feature concepts and then gather feedback on them. It’s a quick way to compare ideas and find out what gets people most excited.
Feature Prioritization Studies:
Sometimes, it’s not about big ideas but the tiny details. For those cases, a feature prioritization study is like zooming in with a microscope. This survey-based method makes respondents choose their most and least preferred features. By making them make real trade-offs, you get a clear picture of what features are absolute necessities and what would just be nice to have.
Question #2: Who Else Might Want to Buy Your Product?
Increasing the number of people who might be interested in your product also means increasing your potential earnings. It’s like making the pie bigger, giving you more opportunities in the market. This question often pops up for businesses that have been around for a while. Sometimes, they want to keep up their strong growth, and other times, they need to kickstart growth after a bit of a slow period.
How to Figure This Out:
It’s not always easy, but sometimes one product can appeal to different types of customers. The key is to figure out who those customers are and if they’re worth going after. Here are two ways we recommend you do this:
Buyer Persona Research:
You might have some idea about who might like your products, but you need to check if those ideas are right. That’s where buyer persona research comes in. You can chat with potential customers, asking them about their problems, how they interact with products like yours, their journey to buying, and their role in the buying process. This will help you figure out who could be a good target and why.
Product Concept Study:
Another way to answer this question is through a product concept study. This time, though, you’re testing just one product but with different groups of people. This helps you see if there’s something about the product that clicks with some folks and not so much with others.
Question #3: How Can You Truly Stand Out from Your Competition?
Whether you’re a new business or an established one, everyone grapples with staying relevant. However, as industries become more saturated, standing out from the crowd becomes a real challenge. Forward-thinking leaders in marketing, sales, product, and strategy often find themselves wrestling with this question.
How to Tackle This Challenge:
Answering this question usually involves exploring two key areas. Firstly, it’s crucial to understand what competitors are bringing to the market. The natural next step is figuring out how to differentiate yourself in response to the existing market landscape. We advise one or both of the following approaches to delve into these areas.
It’s always helpful to survey the competitive terrain through a competitive audit or landscape research. This involves delving into various aspects across competitors, including features, pricing, marketing strategies, positioning, and customer journey experiences. This comparison allows you to see what the market is doing and identify where you can carve out a distinctive position.
Testing New Ideas:
We won’t dwell on this too much, but testing fresh concepts and features in the market, and then implementing them, is a reliable way to keep progressing and offering something new. When the strategic challenge is differentiation, make sure to include questions that help you understand precisely that.
Question #4: How Should You Talk About What You Do?
This question often pops up when businesses are going through changes. You might be a start-up figuring out if your product aligns with the market. Alternatively, you could be a more established company reshaping how you present yourself to connect with your customers and boost sales.
How to Answer This Question:
At its heart, this question is all about how you position your product or brand. The better you align your messaging with your value propositions, benefits, and target customers, the more impact you’ll have in the market and the easier it becomes to attract customers. We usually recommend a two-step approach to tackle this question.
Understanding Your Customers:
Start by figuring out who your customers are. You can do this through surveys or interviews. Segmentation studies help identify the types of customers in a market that are the best fit for your product. Equally important, they shed light on who isn’t your customer.
Defining Your Brand’s Position:
Once you know your target customers, it’s time to figure out how to position your brand. Conduct a brand positioning survey. This involves presenting different positioning options to your target customers. It allows your business to compare these options and pinpoint the one that resonates the most.
So, how do you decide what needs your attention first? We always say, check out the data! Look at these numbers…
If the growth of new customers compared to the previous year is slowing down… it’s probably a good idea to start checking out new customer groups. See if there are untapped markets or if competitors are wooing away potential customers.
If you’re seeing “competition” pop up more as a reason for lost deals… it’s time to figure out how to stand out. Take a closer look at what makes you unique to win more business and make those earnings grow. Kick things off with an audit to understand the lay of the land better.
When the rate of customers leaving is going up… typically, it means your product sounded good initially but didn’t quite deliver. Think about digging into buyer persona research to find out what people really need and where your product might be falling short.
If your success rates in closing deals or turning trials into customers are low… chances are, your product or brand promise isn’t quite hitting the mark. Take a look at your positioning and figure out how to tweak it.
In a nutshell, let your business data be your guide as you plan your strategy for 2024. And, if you haven’t been keeping tabs on your historical benchmarks, well, there’s no time like the present!