May 20, 2021No Comments

SexTech StartUps: Barriers & Perspectives

Join our sextech panel discussion with industry experts to learn more about the challenges and opportunities for sextech startups and the industry's future.

When people hear the term sextech, their minds often jump to AR, VR, and robots. However, this industry is much broader. Sextech goes far beyond toys. It encompasses all areas of the sexual wellness space, from health to education. It involves businesses and technology designed to enhance sexuality. The apps designed for sexual well-being and education will be normal for our everyday lives shortly. A growing number of entrepreneurs and sextech startups have started to shift the conversation and normalize the idea of sexuality.

Today, we will talk about a sector of the tech industry that is often swept under the rug. 

But first, let’s take a look at what the numbers say:

The industry is slowly but surely gaining momentum. While there are still many obstacles and challenges for companies in sextech, we can confidently say that new opportunities are also opening up for them. 

In this video, we bring together experts to talk about technology, sex, and business. 

Meet our panelists:

Jason Maskell, entrepreneur and startups inspirer, helps them understand where they should move, Founder of ‘Life Force Hub CIC’ and ‘Crowd Capital Limited.’

Calandra Balfour entrepreneur, business mentor, author, and member of Women of Sex Tech, founder of LoveGivr, Risk To Live, and Lust!

Ola Miedzynska - CEO & CO-Founder of Sx Tech (the only conference where deep tech connects to the Internet of (sex!) things!), developed extensive experience supporting startups for over 9 years, a researcher in multiple technology trends. 

During this discussion, you’ll get answers to the following questions:

  • Why is the sextech industry still shrouded in taboo and stigma? Will this situation change somehow soon?
  • What are the biggest barriers for sextech startups? What brands managed to overcome some of them and successfully launched their products? 
  • How to successfully commercialize an idea of a sextech product today and enter a new market?
  • What are the strategies to find investment opportunities for the product?
  • How to educate users and raise awareness about your products?

We hope you’ll enjoy our talk! Click the video below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Brands we’ve mentioned:

Satisfyer

Womanizer

Dame

Coral

Mojo

Vibio

Lily Allen & Womanizer collab

May 19, 2021No Comments

PDP #11: Credit Unions in the Digital Age

Banking and wine are probably two of the oldest businesses on the planet. In this episode of Product Drama POdcast (PDP), we cover both. Our guest Kirk Drake is a leader, author, and serial entrepreneur focused on credit union technology. We talked about how to help credit unions compete in the digital age, enhance their creativity, and forge better connections with their members. 

Here is a quick rundown of what you will find in this episode:

  • How can credit unions get in on the fintech phenomenon?
  • What credit unions and wineries have in common?
  • What is BrandBucket and how it can help early-stage startups? 
  • How to write a pitch so that your mom gets instantaneously what problem you solve and how you do it?
  • What is an archetype workshop and how can it benefit your business in the long run?
  • How “Ongoing Operations” encourage credit union startups to experiment?
  • What is a strategy scorecard framework and how it can assist you in aligning an organization around a common mission and vision?
  • And much more!

Apart from a bunch of insights for startups, Kirk also shared his list of must-read books. 

We hope you enjoy our talk! Click the video below and share your thoughts in the comments.

May 12, 2021No Comments

How to choose the right technology stack for your business?

In this blog post, learn the most important thing to consider when developing a new software solution and how to choose the right technology stack for your business is?

When building a house, you use various “building materials.” The same with your digital product; you use different tools to build functional websites and applications. 

You’ve probably heard about JavaScript, Python, or even PostgreSQL. These different technologies are combined for different needs and form the technology stack. These technology stacks are what breathes life into the software products. 

The decisions regarding your future tech stack are going to influence your:

  • application’s performance and scalability; 
  • the speed of creating your product; 
  • ability to find the right developers to take care of your software;
  • the cost your company will pay for the project support and maintenance. 

The real question is how to choose the right technology stack for your business? Don’t worry. This guide will help you.

What is a Technology Stack?

First thing first, let’s define what a tech stack is. 

A tech stack refers to a set of programming languages, frameworks, and libraries. They are used together to help you create a website, a mobile app, or something that needs to be scaled up to serve millions of users. There are many technologies. Here are just some of the most popular: Python, Ruby, React, JS, Swift, WordPress, PHP, AngularJS, Flutter, Apache, C++, MongoDB, Node.js, and more. The tech stack is when I stack all these on top of one another to have an operating system, web frameworks, databases, and backend servers. 

The coding and programs that the developer chooses affect how users will interact with an app and how many people will be able to get access to it simultaneously. In other words, a tech stack defines what an application is and what it can be. 

The technology stack consists of two equally important layers: the frontend (client-side) and the backend server-side.  

The Fundamentals: Frontend and Backend

A frontend developer is responsible for linking the design and technology together. In layman’s terms, everything you click, swipe, drag, and drop on a website or app is client-side. 

Let's quickly go through the core elements of client-side programming:

  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a big part of frontend development you can’t live without. It’s a language that communicates with our web browser and dictates the structure of every page on the web. 
  • JavaScript (JS) is more than just a language. It’s an entire ecosystem that embraces frameworks, server-side development, and more.
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is how developers add styling and effects to web pages. 

Backend engineers design software architecture and logic. They write all the code that happens on the server-side. Picking the right backend stack is very important in the early stages of a project. When building a house, you don’t start with the marble facade or decoration. You start with a foundation and walls. 

The backend consists of programming languages, frameworks, servers, and databases. The server side is invisible for users, but it's the part where engineers develop and customize business logic and build software architecture. 

Server-side is an umbrella term. It consists of the following elements: 

  • Programming language is a set of commands and instructions that are used to create logic for apps and websites. Ruby, Python, Java, C++ just to name a few.
  • Frameworks are quintessential to web and mobile app development for countless businesses across the world today. Finding the right backend framework can be quite crucial for developers to ensure optimal performance and scalability.
  • Whether it’s on-site or in the cloud, the server acts as the lifeblood of the network. They provide resources that networks need to run, including storage, security and encryption, and databases. Apache, Nginx, and Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) are examples of web servers.
  • The database is a digital space to manage all the customer and product information. Any time you’re searching a hotel, product on online stores, or any other information, the database is responsible for accepting that query, processing the data, and returning it to the website. MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and MySQL are common databases. 

Top Software Development Stacks

Although there are no two similar projects, some technologies are often used together. To save you time and money, you can use proven tech stack models.

MEAN

The MEAN tech stack is one of the most popular tech stacks. The letters m-e-a-n stand for MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and Node.js. 

  • MongoDB (NoSQL database).
  • Express.js is a backend web framework.
  • Angular.js is a frontend framework.
  • NodeJS is an open-source, cross-platform server. 

MEAN stack can be used for developing complex mobile and responsive web applications. 

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a model-view-controller (MVC) framework. Large, monolithic sites such as Basecamp, Shopify, Dribbble, GitHub use RoR. 

Ruby on Rails facilitates the software development process thanks to its “gems.” Ruby gems represent software packages and libraries, including information about code and documentation. Gems allow developers to work more efficiently, reduce time spent on the product’s creation, debug code more easily and not reinvent the wheel for each new project. 

RoR is highly scalable and can be integrated with MySQL.

Criteria for Choosing a Right Technology Stack for Your Business

Project Requirements

This might seem obvious, but believe me or not, many businesses still want to keep up with state-of-the-art tech trends and get the next “Facebook tech stack” for their project. When it comes to software development, this is not quite the right approach. Before choosing the right technology stack for your business, you need to understand your particular project's size, complexity, and business goals. Not the other way around. If you choose the technology stack without a thorough analysis and strategy, you risk financial loss or poor app performance. 

Here are the basic things to analyze before choosing technologies:

  • A go-to-market strategy
  • A platform for building an app
  • UX goals
  • Load requirements
  • Future scalability 

Your project is unique, with specific business logic and requirements. So, when deciding its technology stack, don’t be a copycat by following someone’s strategy blindly. 

Development and Maintenance Cost 

After you’ve highlighted your product business and tech requirements, it's time to decide on costs and expenses. Namely, how are you going to get a solution up and running on a particular budget? For this, you need to understand the technology’s total cost of ownership (TCO), which is broken down into three components: talent costs, license costs, and maintenance costs. 

Average software developer salaries

You can check the hourly rate and the average cost of any developer in different regions using Upwork, Fiverr, Indeed, Glassdoor, and PayScale

Here's also a survey conducted by StackOverflow on programming languages and salaries:

License costs

Each year you will have to pay for licensing the technology you choose. While open-source software is technically free, there are still costs associated with it, such as implementation, innovation, and support. On the other hand, you pay for the licensed technology and benefit from a more customized product. Additionally, you get improved security, greater scalability, ongoing support, and better functionality. 

Maintenance costs

The other side of developing a digital product is the maintenance cost. What will it take and cost to support this technology in the future? The more customized your solution is, the higher your maintenance costs will be. For example, these costs usually include:

  • Buying and maintaining servers.
  • The time system administrators will spend on managing and adapting the system.
  • Support services from the technology provider. 

Size of community 

Perhaps the most underestimated criterion when choosing the right technology stack for your business is evaluating the community of customers and developers around it. This one is critical as it directly affects how much information is available about the implementation of technology, the number of developers ready to work with it, thus making your product viable. The easiest way to check the strength of the developer community of a specific programming language is to check GitHub, Stackoverflow, or LinkedIn. 

1. GitHub. Enter the necessary tech query in the search, for instance, Ruby, and follow such parameters as a number of repositories (projects), topics, and users. So, as you can see, Ruby has 345k projects, almost 1 thousand discussions, and 20k users. 

2. StackOverflow. In the left-hand corner of the logo, click the menu icon and select Tags. On this page, you can see several questions, activities per day, and a week. If necessary technology is not displayed on the first page, you can use search. Also, when you move the cursor at the technology, you can see the number of watchers (followers). 

3. LinkedIn. You can also use this platform to estimate how many developers are working in your region/country or other locations. What do you need for that? Log into account, click on search, write a query, for instance, Flutter, choose "people," and then use filters, like locations and titles, to narrow the results.

Scalability 

A system is considered scalable when it needs to be redesigned to sustain effective performance during or after increased workload. Scaling is not only about technology. It is also about how fast you can change or modify features and bring new developers into your team. There are two kinds of scalability:

Horizontal scalability, which means an ability of an app to handle more requests. Think of it as a railway system: you add locomotives to increase your capacity to transport more goods. 

Vertical scalability means adding new resources to an app to increase its capacity without damaging the overall performance. 

Security 

Top security is the major concern for any digital product development. No stack is 100% secure. You better go with the one that has a good reputation and can withstand breaches and cyberattacks. Most technologies have special security guidelines to follow. So if your product stores user data, you need to have solid authentication and authorization. 

Here’s a short checklist on how to choose secure technology:

  • evaluate how you’ll be able to control users’ access to the technology. 
  • make sure that you can control access and permissions at an object level, feature-level, and field-level
  • ensure that you can track who made which changes and when.
  • allow only authenticated users to have access.
  • consider technology providers with a strong reputation. 

Frequency of updates 

Before choosing the right technology stack for your business, check how often it gets updated and the last update. But how to understand that the technology you choose is being updated the way it should be? Where’s the golden mean? If a framework is updated too often, it’s most likely in the active development stage. So it will be reasonable to pick something less volatile. At the same time,  you don’t want to pick something that has not been updated for more than 3 months. An actively developed technology is constantly updated with new patches and hotfixes.

Age of technology

Pay attention to the version of the framework you are going to use. The general rules are the closer the framework version to 1.0, the more functionality designed by the original developer is implemented. The further away from the 1.0 version framework is, the more market adoption it has. Between 0.1 and 1.0, there have to be some systematic constant incremental updates.

If it is less than 1 and the software is being actively developed, I recommend looking for more stable alternatives. It doesn’t mean that you can’t use this framework. However, there’s a high chance that developers may decide to introduce some breaking changes, and you’ll have additional expenses to keep your software updated. 

Tech Stacks Behind Famous Projects

Besides their innovative business models, these companies invest heavily in the technology that powers their products. Here are a few examples of tech stacks of famous brands for your inspiration.

Netflix

Netflix serves over 6 billion hours of content per month globally to nearly every country in the world. Building a system that can scale to that volume of customers while delivering high-quality video requires significant engineering effort. 

Pinterest

Pinterest began as a small startup and has grown to a company with over 450 million monthly active users.

Shopify

Merchants of all sizes use the platform to power sales, and at its peak, Shopify serves almost 80,000 requests per second. A driving factor behind the success of Shopify is its comprehensive tech stack.

Technology Stack and Product Development at CXDojo

At CXDojo, we choose tech stacks for projects based on the unique requirements and needs of the business. Therefore, each project has a different tech stack. For example, we are currently building a new tech stack for our client, a Ukrainian online store, selling kids' and parents' merchandise. We’ve started by identifying five eCommerce frameworks: MagentoOpenCartBitrix24Shopware, and Shopify

We created a comparison table (according to the criteria described above) and filtered those most suitable for our project. We shortlisted three frameworks: Magento, Bitrix24, and Shopify. Further, we compared these three platforms based on the requirements of the client's future MVP.


Shopify and Magento have the largest communities, while Bitrix24 has a more closed environment.
Bitrix developer's salary is lower than the one of Magento and Shopify. We also decided to exclude Shopify since it doesn't support some integrations necessary for the client's online store.


We have prepared a comparative document, where we provide all the necessary information about Bitrix24 and Magento. So far, the choice is up to the client.

Wrap Up

If you choose the wrong technology, you may have negative consequences for your business. They are unnecessary costs, long time-to-market, trouble attracting new clients or investors, and high reputational risk.

Summing up, when choosing a technology for your project, don’t be guided by its low price, popularity, or novelty. In addition:

  • Don’t limit yourself and do everything using only one best technology. Perfectionism can kill your software systems. Choose the right technical solution for every task in your project.
  • The framework allows you to speed up the launch of a software project. However, make sure to check the availability of good documentation and clarify the period of support for the framework. There is no trouble with a complete rewrite of your system in 2-3 years.
  • Technology and programming languages are not the core of your project's success. When choosing the software development stack, always keep in mind the specific requirements of your project. The right processes usually guarantee the "right" result. Remember, 2-3 months is the maximum for launching the next iteration of a software project.
  • Choose a trusted and experienced software development company that approaches both from technical and strategic. 

Start Building Your Own Technology Stack

March 17, 2021No Comments

How to Improve Customer Experience In 2021?

In this blog post, learn how to improve customer experience and build long-term relationships with your customers by understanding their needs and solving their problems.

Technology advances and the rapid growth of customer touchpoints mean that customer experience strategies will change and become more complex. Tactics and approaches that worked last year might not deliver the same outcomes today.

For users in 2021, a seamless and intuitive experience on the website or app is a must and one of the key indicators in their willingness to recommend a certain product. 

Here’s a short test that will help you determine whether your product provides a good customer experience. 

  1. Did the users achieve their goals after interacting with the product?
  2. Was the process intuitive and pleasurable?
  3. Did users enjoy interacting with the product?

If the answer to all the questions is “yes,” you are on the right track. But it's important to be honest with yourself.

CX in 2021: Statistics & Facts

Yes, customer experience is still king, but it's evolving. Consider this:

According to a recent survey, business professionals name CX their number one priority for the next 5 years.

Customer experience: top priority for business in the next 5 years
Source
  • CX drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty, more than ‘brand’ and ‘price’ combined. (Gartner)
  • 48% of consumers have left a website without purchasing because they felt it was poorly curated for them. (Accenture)
  • 75% of people expect to get immediate info when they use their smartphone. (Google)
  • 76% of shoppers use their mobile phones to shop because it saves them time. However, only 12% of shoppers felt it provides them the most convenient shopping experience (4x less than desktop). (Dynamic Yield)
  • 64% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to others if it offers simpler experiences and communications. (Siegel+Gale)
  • By 2023, 25% of organizations expect they will integrate marketing, sales, and customer experience (CX) into a single function. (Gartner)

Customer Experience is more important than ever to consumers. Thus, customer expectations are rising; they want every interaction with a product to be great. With the pandemic and its impact, customers’ priorities and expectations have changed. They want a seamless and consistent experience across a variety of communication channels and highly personalized customer service.

Related article: CX Metrics: How to Measure Customer Satisfaction?

Let’s make it clear the good and bad of customer experience in 2021:

GOOD CX

  • Customer-centric
  • Personalization is the king
  • Friendly, empathetic experience
  • Value-delivery at the right price
  • Product improvements according to the customer feedback
  • Technology is not the priority but a way to enhance the experience

BAD CX

  • Ignoring customer feedback
  • Compromising customers’ personal data
  • Unresponsive and slow support
  • Poor website/app navigation
  • Ignoring “mobile-first”

So, what’s happening in customer experience in 2021 and beyond? Let’s find out. 

How to Make Customer Experience Better In 2021?

Unfortunately, many companies still believe that creating a quality product equals providing an exceptional customer experience. That’s not always the case. You can create a bug-free product using the latest technologies but fail to manage a particular communication channel and, as a result, make it harder for customers to communicate with your brand. In this case, we’re talking about digital customer experience or DX. While CX is how your customers perceive their interactions with your business, DX is how they interact with your brand on digital channels (websites, apps, and emails). It’s worth noting that we no longer live in a world where customers separate their experiences in digital and non-digital terms. They want to access products in any possible and most convenient way easily.

4 ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

So, let's take a look at a few steps that will help you to improve customer experience:

  • Adopt mobile-first approach
  • Use of emerging technologies
  • Embrace cloud solutions

1. Adopt mobile-first approach

Ok, let’s admit it: we can’t live without our smartphones anymore. Gone are the days when the desktop and PCs were the most popular ways to access the web. 

It's easy to see how much you use your device daily for your business and personal tasks. So imagine how your customers are using them to find businesses like yours. If you're not using a mobile-first approach for your marketing and customer service, then you're seriously falling behind.

In fact, 57% of customers won’t recommend a product with a poorly designed website on mobile. In addition, if a website isn’t mobile-friendly, 50% of customers will abandon it, even if they like the business.

Mobile-first is often discussed in the context of a future requirement. But the future is already here. Think about how much you use your smartphone for your business or personal tasks. So do your users. As a customer, would you rather have them try to zoom the content on your smartphone screen or have a seamless mobile-first experience?

customer experience: mobile-first google
Source

Mobile-first is often considered to be a design-focused project. But it goes far beyond it. It would help if you considered everything that can enhance the mobile experience and improve the customer experience.

  • Make navigation friendly with easily clickable buttons 
  • Compress and resize images
  • Address your page load speed
  • Ensure everything is easily readable 
  • Don’t forget about the voice search (Siri, OK Google)
  • Ensure videos are responsive

Even Google ranks websites higher when they take into account a mobile-first. So if you're still not adapting the mobile approach, you can count on it being lower to rank.

2. Use Emerging Technologies to Improve Your CX

The CX landscape is getting more competitive. To stay relevant and ahead of the competition, many companies embrace technologies like AI, chatbots/voice assistants, VR/AR to enhance the personal experience of their customers. 
According to Oracle, these technologies will have the biggest impact on the business in the next five years:

customer experience: emerging technologies that impact your business

Related article: How to choose the right technology stack for your business

How AI Transforms Customer Engagement?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the way that companies interact with their customers. AI plays a crucial role in understanding how businesses operate and transforming businesses in general. 

The following are some of the key artificial intelligence market statistics:

  • The retail industry is expected to experience significant growth, with 80% of business executives claiming that their businesses will adopt AI technology between 2020 to 2027. (Fortune Business Insights, 2020)
  • 22% – users who say they prefer to speak to voice assistants than type. (Pew Research Center)
  • 75% – senior IT executives from different countries who agree that adopted AI technology will enhance network security (Statista, 2019)
  • 25% of business executives state that adopting AI technology has fully enabled their business processes. (PwC AI Predictions, 2021)
  • 50% of business executives said that using AI has helped them achieve their cost savings goal. (PwC AI Predictions, 2021)

Here is a brief recap of how AI is changing digital customer experience and how you can address it in your initiatives.

Create personalized recommendations

Artificial Intelligence can help analyze customer’s purchase decisions and create personalized recommendations. Imagine how difficult it would be for an online store to provide personalization? AI allows us to analyze customer preferences and recent shopping behavior to suggest related products for the customers. 

For example, Adidas and its “Complete the Look” recommendation feature. The sportswear giant partnered with AI platform provider Findmine to automatically generate complete outfits.

adidas and "complete my look"
Source

Integrate Chatbots To Improve Customer Service Experience

When you visit a brick-and-mortar store, an assistant can help you find the right product or pick up an analog if a specific product is not available.

But, when you visit an online store, it can be exhausting hopping from one page to another trying to find the right thing. In this case, chatbots can provide your customers with the right support. 

A chatbot is an AI program designed to simulate communications with customers by engaging directly with them through chat windows, messaging, or voice applications.

Take Sephora Assistant as an example. Customers can receive beauty tips, tutorials, and even video clips. Sephora bot will also help find the products used in the tutorials and suggest the best products from any category.

sephora assistant chatbot
Source

You can use chatbots according to your business needs: from a simple bot that will say “Hi” to your customers to a complex one that will have a conversation with them.

Here are just a few cases when a chatbot can come in handy:

  • Answer questions and inquiries
  • Collect feedback efficiently
  • Find products, check recommended items
  • Process requests
  • Assign customer request to support teams
  • Resolve complaint 
  • Make a reservation 
  • Confirm orders and track the shipping
  • And much more!

But don’t forget that it’s easy to start focusing too much on new tech trends and forgetting the main purpose of your business - meeting customer needs and delivering value. So before investing in emerging technologies, think about how they will benefit your business, namely:

  • What will it offer your customers?
  • Which problem does it solve for them?
  • How will it enhance their experience with your product?
  • Where these technologies fit in the entire ecosystem of customer touchpoints?
  • What value will these technologies bring to your business?
customer experience: AI-chatbot

For instance, you can’t replace every interaction with a chatbot. In some cases, you will need to show more empathy and ensure a human conversation.

The chatbot needs to use plain language to engage with customers. Also, it should quickly direct customers without any frustration.  

3. Embrace Cloud Solutions

Having the latest technologies to drive your business and digital product strategy is great. But sometimes, in pursuit of trends, we forget about basic things. 

Cloud-first is the main philosophy behind many digital transformation initiatives. The cloud is the main helper for most companies to become more fast, flexible, and more scalable.

cloud adoption drivers
Source

Cloud is more than just a technology infrastructure. It provides a simplified environment to support business initiatives and realize the value of developments, such as:

  • Generate better insights;
  • Understand customer’s needs, wants, and preferences;
  • Power better decisions faster;
  • Accomplish in minutes what used to take days;
  • Facilitate rapid development, testing, and deployment to live production environments;
  • Help marketers anticipate and respond to constantly changing consumer behaviors and preferences. 

Let's see how exactly the cloud can help improve your customer experience:

Provide hyper-personalization

We used to perceive a service to be personalized when calling customers by name or foreseeing their preferences. Hyper-personalization brings customer experience to a higher level by understanding customers’ problems and immediately providing a solution. You may wonder how it relates to the cloud? The thing is that nowadays, your entire data is on the cloud, which makes it possible for brands to make the most of it. To provide a better customer experience, the cloud allows companies to analyze this data, segment customers based on their behavior, interactions, and preferences. Knowing how your customers behave and interact with your product creates the opportunity to reach them easier, faster, and more individualized. 

Increase speed to market 

Speed to market is another advantage of cloud technology. As an example, let’s look at Moleskine, a leading brand in notebooks and writing accessories. While they were heavily dependent on their brick-and-mortar stores, they recognized that customers’ shopping behavior and habits have changed and quickly adapted to the market needs. The company wanted its online presence to be unique and provide the same personalized experience as offline stores. They utilized Oracle Commerce Cloud and within 6 months launched an e-commerce platform to sell their products in more than 30 countries.

moleskine official website

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to beginning a digital customer experience journey. All customers and industries are individual, and your approach will depend on your target audience and their demands. 

A big volume of customer touchpoints in today’s digital world means that customer experience is even more complex. At first, in-store experiences were replaced with e-commerce. Then social media and mobile-first appeared. Now businesses adopt voice-assistants and AI systems. What comes next, who knows? But one thing is obvious, the platforms and to engage customers in the digital world will increase in the future, making your digital CX crucial to your ongoing success.

You might view each of these digital touchpoints in isolation, but it will only slow your ability to respond to customers in a timely and effective manner. As a result, your customer will get a bad experience. To customers, the channel is irrelevant as they jump from one digital channel to another. To keep ahead of your competitors and improve current product engagement, you need to deliver great personalized experiences at each touchpoint. In 2021, try to invest more in building long-term relationships with your customers by understanding their needs and solving their problems.

Contact us to learn how to effectively improve your customer experience, thus increasing retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue.

March 11, 2021No Comments

PDP #9: How to Lead a Startup During a Pandemic?

In this episode, how to lead a startup during a pandemic, how to be a better leader, how to choose which features to build, and much more.

Have you ever been in a situation when we had to share expenses with friends during a trip or after a party? I bet you did. We all had at least once in our life this eternal problem of splitting expenses fairly.

The newest Product Drama Podcast (PDP) episode features Joshua Johnson, who is a co-founder of MyPay Circle, an app that helps people who are doing group activities to break down their expenses and make them easier to manage. The app is in the beta version, and we talked with Joshua about what it’s like to work with a startup during uncertain times.

Related article: Things to consider when launching a Startup on a tight budget

You’ll also learn about:

  • How did their team continue working on the product during Covid-19?
  • How to choose what features to build?
  • What to do if there’s no feedback from the users on the new features?
  • How can sport help to become a better leader?
  • How to get on track with your product as the situation in the world stabilizes?
  • What makes a good leader?
  • How to use social media effectively?
  • And much more!

We also mentioned Elon Musk, Kanye West, Warren Buffet, and what it takes to create from nothing to something that will bring value.

“Entrepreneurs, artists, and creative shape everything that we do.”
It’s a very inspirational episode which you don't want to miss!

Click below and enjoy!

The book Joshua mentioned:

I Got Kanye Confidence

March 4, 2021No Comments

PDP #8: Remote Product Management

What a year 2020 has been. It has revolutionized the way we work and our lifestyle in general. Remote office at home has already become a new normal for most of us. In this episode of the Product Drama Podcast (PDP), we talk about remote product management in a post-pandemic world, the benefits and challenges of working from home, and the future of product management. 

Related article: What's the difference: B2B and B2C Digital Product Management

Clement Kao, product manager at Blend and a co-founder of Product Manager HQ, joined us to share his experience and thoughts on remote product management. He talked on two dimensions: one as an employee at Blend and another as a leader at Product Manager HQ. We also talked about:

  • How to become a successful remote product manager?
  • What is Zoom fatigue and how to avoid it?
  • What does the future of remote product management look like?
  • How to be productive when working remotely? 
  • And much more!

Here are some quotes:

“You need to be thoughtful in terms of reaching out to people but also give them space.”

"How do we want to want to make sure that everyone's in sync on what are the kinds of work that we're doing without necessarily feel like we're micromanaging?"

“There are so many workflows that won’t work unless you make your products talk to each other.”

“One of the challenges of product teams is not understanding high-fidelity of who is the user and what is their pain.”

“The future of product management is not yet determined, and there’s still a lot to happen.” 

"Product manager always serves customers, business stakeholders, and development teams."

We hope you’ll enjoy our talk! Click the video below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Check out:

Blend

Product Manager HQ

The state of product analytics in 2020 and how to move forward

Find Clement on LinkedIn

February 19, 2021No Comments

B2B and B2C Product Management: What’s the Difference?

This article discusses the differences and similarities between B2B and B2C digital product management. You will also learn about the job responsibilities of B2B and B2C product managers and how to switch from B2C to B2B projects. 

In their article “Product managers for the digital world,” McKinsey&Company call product managers “the glue that binds the many functions that touch a product— engineering, design, customer success, sales, marketing, operations, finance, legal, and more. They not only own the decisions about what gets built but also influence every aspect of how it gets built and launched”

It’s hard not to agree with this definition. Both B2B and B2C product managers are responsible for leading their products throughout their lifecycles. However, their daily responsibilities may differ due to the specifics of the business. 

So let's start at the beginning and briefly define business-to-business and business-to-consumer digital product management.

What is B2B product management?

Generally speaking, a B2B product manager focuses on the clients and their needs. In B2B, companies have longer relationships with their clients. You give a client software ownership instead of keeping it to yourself. It’s also worth noting that when you work with big B2B contracts, you can suddenly have 10k users come to your platform. That’s why it’s a bit different the way you measure and compare usage. 

As a B2B product manager, you spend most of your time in customers' meetings/calls and working closely with the sales team.

What is B2C product management?

In B2C, product managers focus on the end-user without knowing their customers. Product managers can hold focus groups, conduct surveys, interviews, and user research to obtain any data about customers and their preferences. Still, they don’t need to have ongoing relationships with the customers. Daily, B2C product managers work with digital product analytics, study user behavior patterns to see what works well and should be improved, and continuously seek new ways to optimize product UX.

The Difference Between B2C and B2B

Despite the differences in project management, sales processes, and release cycles, both B2B and B2C have one thing in common: anticipate customer needs and solve them. Eventually, no matter what you think of a certain idea or feature, what your customers need matters. In both cases, customers want:

  • User-friendly and outstanding onboarding experience. 
  • The mobile-first solution makes it easy to interact with the digital product on the go. 
  • Personalized solutions. According to Accenture, “With so much digital “noise” out in the marketplace, companies must make the most of every opportunity they have to connect with customers. The priority? Solving for individual needs and preferences – with the customer experience right at the center”.
  • Low level of effort no matter where they are in their buyer’s journey.
  • Brands that deliver on their promise and values as most customers buy from companies they trust. 
  • Support channels with multiple options including calling or chatting with customer support or reading FAQs.

Although there is plenty of overlap between B2B and B2C digital product management, they are two distinct entities with different processes and approaches. To help clear the confusion, let’s look at the major ways in which they differ:

CUSTOMERS AND USERS

It’s not the product manager’s role that makes B2B and B2C different. It’s more the nature of the customers. Let me briefly explain what I mean:

B2C products are consumer-facing and help users solve their personal needs. Social networking apps (Instagram, Clubhouse) or health and fitness apps (Strava, Headspace) are all examples of B2C products. In B2C, your focus is more on the end-users as you build the product for one key persona - your user. It simplifies the task, but, unfortunately, not everything is as easy as it seems since some users can be hard to understand. With B2C products, managers can’t reach every individual user and ask for their feedback. For this reason, the product scope usually originates from analyzing user behavior patterns, identifying gaps, creating vision through user research, and adapting to the changing needs of the users. 

On the other hand, with B2B products, you focus on the client and their users. In other words, you build products for two personas: those who make purchase decisions (your customers) and the product users (your customer’s employees). That’s why balancing between the needs of the two personas in your product roadmap can be challenging. 

B2B products are business-oriented and are intended to solve business problems. For example, CRM platforms (Salesforce, HubSpot) or cloud providers (Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure) are all examples of B2B products. B2B is typically sales-driven. That’s why product managers need to understand the sales process, client requirements, and how leads are generated. It will help them develop more effective solutions, convince the team and stakeholders to change focus (if there’s a need for it), and adjust the digital product development process accordingly. 

Related Article: Digital product strategy: from idea to execution

RELEASE CYCLES

Exciting and brand-new features are great unless it concerns your job and getting things done. This is what determines the speed and scope of making changes to your products. Let’s consider the two categories separately: 

Releases for B2B products

In B2B software, customers are not big fans of frequent changes in product functionality. The reason is that changes might cause some product malfunction. The introduction of new features may also require additional testing and staff training, which can take some time. 

To mitigate any risks related to product performance, product managers usually put together all major releases. They try to make product updates optional or based on settings while avoiding changing the entire product experience at once. 

Releases for B2C products

For B2C customers, things are the opposite: small and frequent updates are welcomed. Users are happy to try new functionality and engage with the product on new levels. But it’s important to remember that when introducing new features, one should prevent any performance problems. If your product introduces some serious updates or UX changes, consider user onboarding or some hints so users can easily start enjoying the new features. 

STAKEHOLDERS' COMPLEXITY

In B2B, the person who decides to buy is not usually the person who will use the product. In B2B, you have many ideas coming from stakeholders on how to improve the product. Product managers have to consider different stakeholders, prioritize the product scope, and keep stakeholders informed of progress. That said, when you release something new, it's the product manager’s job to communicate with all stakeholders and ensure that the product addresses the needs of each one.

On the contrary, for most B2C products, the decision-maker and the user are all the same person. 

DELIVERING VALUE TO CUSTOMERS

B2C product managers are focused on building products that appeal to users emotionally. Research conducted by Bain & Company “The B2C Elements of Value” shows what consumers value most by highlighting four categories of elements such as functional, emotional, life-changing, and social impact. At the bottom of the pyramid, users need to meet their functional needs and become more personal at higher levels.  

In B2B product management, your main focus should be on improving workflow efficiency. Building new features, adding new functionality is more important for enterprise clients than worrying if the product has an appealing interface. 

The same study as with B2C customers was conducted with B2B. It turned out that the bottom of the pyramid shows the most objective values such as price, regulations, scalability, quality, etc. On the top of the pyramid, the elements become more subjective and personal, like design and aesthetics, perks, vision, marketability, and so on.

What B2B & B2C Digital Product Managers Have in Common?

TOOLS

According to Gartner, 80% of product managers state that they use basic tools that help them to “solve digital product management problems, make data-driven decisions and accelerate end-to-end product management processes.”

UX DESIGN

Gone are the days when UX was a nice-to-have for most SaaS products. Nowadays, a compelling UX is a new black and oftentimes a key competitive advantage of the digital product. And this applies equally to both B2C and B2B companies. 

B2B products have much in common with B2C ones: they need to create a clear information architecture, add engaging and informational content, provide details about products, and have a simple, clean, and friendly interaction design. 

How to Transition From B2C to B2B and Vice Versa

The best way to learn about career prospects and the specifics of switching from one business to another is firsthand. Learn about Katarina’s experience of working with both B2C and B2B businesses. In this podcast, she shares some of the realities and myths of being both product owners.

Conclusion

B2B and B2C are different in releasing cycles and roadmaps, customer acquisition, and stakeholders' involvement. But despite all these differences, one thing remains common, and it is the most important one in the entire digital product development process - you create and build for humans. What matters most is that your product has to be usable. Therefore, always strive for a better, intuitive, clear, and smooth user experience that will remove all customers’ frustrations, add value, and make them enjoy your product. 

If you need to figure out how to improve your digital product development process, conduct user interviews, make prototypes, verify your ideas, and prioritize features, our digital strategy consultants will provide you with all the necessary resources and support.

If you're looking for a reliable team to build your product, we’re here to help. Share details of your project, and we’ll contact you asap

February 25, 2021No Comments

PDP #7: Why Do You Need a CTO?

Listen to our new podcast to learn why you need a CTO in your company and their main responsibilities in product development.

Companies become bigger and transacting faster. All of their legacy methodologies and ways of operating now need scale. Decision-making isn’t done in isolation anymore, and organizations hire individuals who understand the problem and make decisions. A CTO is responsible for setting a technology strategic vision, assembling a team to solve tech challenges, and keeping the company running. 

CTO is short for Chief Technology Officer, or, in other words, a person who wears a lot of hats in the company. 

WHAT IS A CTO?

A CTO, at its core, is the executive responsible for managing and realizing business value from technology across the company. The job of the CTO is to work with the CEO and other business leaders to ensure that you’re implementing the technology vision that supports the digital product strategy of the business. 

Related article: Everything you need to know about CTO-as-a-Service

WHAT SKILLS ARE THE MOST CRUCIAL FOR TECH EXECUTIVE?

The role and responsibilities of the CTO may vary across companies and industries. But one thing remains the same for every CTO: they have to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies that could disrupt their business. 

In general, the main tasks of a CTO include:

  • Developing a technology strategy and vision. 
  • Building, hiring, and guiding technology teams.
  • Empathizing with employees and guiding them in the period of uncertainty and confusion. 
  • Understanding how technology can help achieve company goals.
  • Working with senior stakeholders, and other c-level executives to determine values and mission, and plan for short and long-term goals.

Related article: How to choose the right technology stack for your business

HOW THE ROLE OF A CTO HAS CHANGED OVER A DECADE?

The chief executive officer role has been around for decades. However, the job CTO in 2021 is not the same as it was in 2010. The CTO’s main concerns in 2010 were backups, desk support, and managing IT infrastructure. Nowadays, it’s a more strategic role: building a roadmap, guiding the team, and communicating the technology vision across the company. Having a trustworthy CTO on Demand by your side will make your job easier and less stressful.

Peter Shankar, Chief Technology Officer at Equity Multiple, joins the new episode of the Product Drama podcast to share his story and experience of what it takes to be a tech c-level executive in the real estate investing company and his job looks like day-to-day. 

This episode will be beneficial for companies thinking of adding a CTO to their team and those who dream and plan to land a tech executive role one day. 

Enjoy!

February 18, 2021No Comments

PDP#6: Fails and Wins of Launching Products

In this episode of Product Drama Podcast (PDP), we talked to Mary Kopczynski, CEO at RegAlytics, about what it's like to launch a RegTech product, fail forward, and turn mistakes into stepping stones success.

Mary's first company was called 8 of 9 (as she is the eighth child out of nine). She then did the regulatory crisis management for the biggest banks on Wall Street. 

It took her several years and failed products to develop RegAlytics and realize that she is a truly successful entrepreneur.

This is a jam-packed episode. On the one hand, we talk about things that seem boring at first sight, like regulatory compliance and laws. On the other hand, we discuss ups and downs, finding strength in yourself, and continuing to create what you believe in. Mary also mentions the practice of handwriting and what benefits it can bring to your daily routine.

We also covered:

  • What is RegTech and what’s its future look like?
  • How to launch your product, while keeping your day job?
  • How to build a simple MVP first and start collecting customer feedback asap?
  • What are the founders’ biggest fears?
  • How to test product concepts and conduct customer surveys?
  • Tips for startups who are afraid to fail.
  • What does it take to be a cool manager?

Here are some quotes:

“You can’t say you’re building an industry. You’ve got to build something someone got to find useful”.

“Another mistake was that we built products and never showed them to anybody.”

“Founders don’t rest. And that’s another pitfall”.

“When you’re early in your failure, it stinks a lot more.”

“People at your company are not here to be your friends. They are at the company to gain valuable skills”.

Check out:

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't 

Morning Pages

RegAlytics

Find Mary on LinkedIn

February 11, 2021No Comments

PDP #5: Shape Up Method

In their latest book, Basecamp introduced their internal approach to product development. It was described by Ryan Singer, Head of Product Strategy at Basecamp, in the book Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters

Singer writes, “one of the core tensions in product management is the urgency of day-to-day implementation details vs. the necessity of strategic planning. Left unresolved, this tension leads to a slew of practical problems (missed deadlines, tangled codebases) and low morale.

As the team started to grow, Basecamp spotted some challenges that led the company to seek new ways to address these pains. For instance, lack of clear understanding of the project endpoint, no time for strategic sessions, the ability to ship products on time, and meeting stakeholders’ expectations. This led the team to come up with their approach to product development.

What is the Shape Up Method?

The Shape Up Method is the so-called tool used by product development teams to shape, bet, and build products. It gives product teams certain techniques to better define and prioritize projects and address risks at each stage of digital product development to build and ship better products. 

This method turned out to be super effective for the Basecamp team. But what about other organizations? 

We talked to Vi and Canaan from Careerplug, a recruiting software. In the new episode of the Product Drama podcast, they shared how to work in a team with no product managers and start applying Shape Up in your company - so that you can optimize the development process and improve team communication.

Must-listen moments

2:20 - How to organize the development process with product managers?

Vi: "When we did have Agile and were practicing it, none of us felt that it was our natural inclinations. We felt better when we were working together, as closely as possible, which Shape Up allows us. With Agile and product manager in place, we felt like we had that one person to manage every of the work we were doing and how it was done, which kind of muddied the waters. And we like the idea of working closely together, especially the designers and developers". 

6:06 - What does a pitch in Shape Up look like?

Canaan: "It generally encapsulates a proposed solution, an appetite, which is how long are we going to stay working on this, and kinda like boundaries sets like where we are not going to go. Instead of saying, “we want to implement X, how long will that take?” We kind of switch that statement around to say, “here’s a problem that the business is facing; how much time are we willing to spend to solve that problem?” 

13:28 - How to work without a backlog?

Canaan: "That allows us not to lock ourselves into the concept that we certainly have to do this, as we haven’t gone to it for six months, and we are going to do it now anyway. So maybe these six months from now, the thing that we were potentially talking about, means nothing for us. It allows us to change quickly".

23:45 - How to avoid the most common mistake when writing pitches?

Vi: "We’ve been learning up with pitches that require a ton of discovery work within the cycle period. So when the team should be focusing on building up the solution and figuring out what is deliverable within six or two weeks, they are suddenly stuck with defining what the solution is altogether instead of pairing it down and delivering something. So I think that was one of the biggest mistakes".

31:08 - Tips for those who want to start with Shape Up.

Canaan: "Be open-minded and non-reverse to change."

To listen to the entire episode and learn how the team from Careerplug managed to optimize their processes with the help of the Shape Up method, click the video below:

Check out:

Shape Up book

Vi on LinkedIn

Canaan on LinkedIn

cxdojo.com Facebook
cxdojo.com Twitter
cxdojo.com Dribbble
cxdojo.com LinkedIn

541 Jefferson Ave. Ste. 100
Redwood City, CA, USA 94063

4a bakulina st. Ste. 48
Kharkiv, Ukraine 61000

4a bakulina st. Ste. 48
Kharkiv, Ukraine 61000

Frame-2

© Copyright 2021 CXDojo

0