Product Vision: What It Is and How To Create One

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Bailey Maybray
Bailey Maybray

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Creating products customers love takes time — from figuring out the perfect price to picking the most impactful features. To stay focused on the bigger picture, companies often create a product vision — a statement that sets aspirational goals for a product.

Product Vision: A man looks into a telescope.

The document acts as a guiding star, preventing companies from adding overly expensive or unnecessary features, or having conflicting concepts from different teams. A product vision centers everyone on clear goals that serve as the foundation for the new creation.

What Is a Product Vision?

A product vision represents the essence and long-term mission of a product. It includes the product’s target customers, differentiating factors, key benefits, and more.

Forming a vision comes after your initial customer and market research — you need to have a valid idea before creating a bigger plan.

Your product vision feeds into every aspect of your strategy, from product specifications to road mapping to marketing. Product management requires bringing together teams and keeping track of moving parts, and a product vision provides critical direction.

How To Create a Product Vision

Figure Out Your Motivation

Entrepreneurs and companies often create products with long-term goals. Your product vision should cater to your motivations — or the why behind your product. Answer questions such as the following:

  • What excites you about the product?
  • What does your team or company hope to achieve by creating the product?
  • How will the product impact the future?
  • How will the product impact your target customers’ lives?

You could use well-known frameworks as a guide, such as product management expert Roman Pichler’s product vision board. The tool addresses different aspects of product goals. It states:

  • Vision: What is your purpose for creating the product? Which positive change should it bring about?
  • Target Group: Which market or market segment does the product address? Who are the target customers and users?
  • Needs: What problem does the product solve? Which benefit does it provide?
  • Product: What is the product? What makes it stand out? Is it feasible to develop the product?
  • Business Goals: How is the product going to benefit the company? What are the business goals?

HubSpot Product Lead Eric Peters recommends using the GLEe model, which has three components:

  • Get Big: What initial product will help your company get big? What’s trending?
  • Lead: What industry or sector will your company lead? What wave will your company ride?
  • Expand: Once your product launches, how will you continue to grow?

Hold Off on Strategizing

Product management requires strategy — you need to figure out what features to include and how to enter the market. But strategy comes after creating your product vision.

You may not have a step-by-step map right away, but having an end goal keeps everyone on the same page. Each stakeholder uses that singular mission to drive what they do. You don’t want to limit your product vision by tacking on strategy too early in the process.

For example, a sneaker company might envision creating sustainable but durable shoes with an eye for fashion and luxury — the company’s product vision. The process of choosing materials for the shoe, figuring out suppliers, and working with a branding consultant comes after the company creates their product vision.

Set Guardrails

A product is often better off niching down than hitting everything at once. Set guardrails that limit your product’s functions, the audience it serves, and its differentiation factors.

You cannot possibly serve everyone. Pick parts you feel strongly about and stick with them. Consider the following questions:

  • What problem impacts your customers most?
  • What aspects of the product excite you most?
  • How can you best differentiate yourself from competitors?

Collaborate and Align With Stakeholders

Work across the organization to form the product vision, as it needs buy-in from everyone. This includes marketers, engineers, designers, salespeople, and anyone who plays a role in creating and launching your product.

To streamline the brainstorming process, ask each team to think of different product vision ideas. Then work together, in person or virtually, to combine everyone’s input into one concept.

As you continue to iterate on your product vision, keep stakeholders in the loop. Ask them for feedback and get their approval. You may run into disagreements at first, but this will help you get the most refined vision.

Once you have your final concept, then it’s time to strategize how to turn that aspiration into a real product.

Product Vision Statement

A product vision statement combines your motivations, goals, and target audience into one succinct paragraph or concept. Though your vision can include anything, many opt to follow the following format:

Product Vision Statement: For (target customer) who (statement of need or opportunity). The (product name) is a (product category) that (key benefit, reason to buy). Unlike (primary competitive alternative), our product (statement of primary differentiation).

While not necessary, this format helps you stay focused. Keep in mind what you jotted down in the process above. Use that information to feed into your product vision statement.

Product Vision Examples

To better understand the different elements of a product vision, here are two hypothetical examples to get you started.

Consider a small business that specializes in homemade candles. The owners gathered all the relevant information, and created the following product vision:

  • For young, eco-conscious consumers living in New York City
  • Who want sustainable, homemade candles
  • The Cookie Candles Formula is a patented wax blend that uses locally sourced materials
  • That creates a fragrant, but safe and healthy scent
  • Unlike popular blends for candles
  • Our product does not harm consumers’ lungs or breathing
Next, consider a startup that specializes in optimizing marketers’ workflow. They created the following product vision statement:
  • For veteran marketing professionals
  • Who struggle to manage their calendars and workflow
  • The Reimagined Workflow tool is a productivity software
  • That simplifies the process of managing a marketing leader’s schedule and workflow
  • Unlike other generic productivity tools
  • Our product caters to the specific functions and needs of marketing leaders

You do not need to follow the exact formula above. In fact, your product vision can include anything you think matters for your organization’s product goals.

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