Build the right product. Build your product right
Written by
Lakshmi Gandham

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Build the right product. Build your product right

Published : September 2, 2021

If you want to retain your customers and grow, then build your product right. How? The Netcore Martech Mashup 3.0 panel discussion puts all the cards on the table.

To build a great brand, you need a great product. If the product isn’t up there, all the marketing firepower in the world will be nothing but wasted time and money.

Building great products is a difficult skill – as it’s not just about building the product right, but also about building the right product. `User-centric design’ isn’t just a fancy buzzword anymore. If your product’s features and functions are intuitive and solve customer pain points, you’ve got a winning combination at hand. 

So how do Product Managers know they’re building the right product in the right way? Let’s hear it from the experts.

At the Netcore Martech Mashup 3.0, marketing experts like Tarun Valecha (Senior Manager, Product Management@ AirAsia), Shubham Kumar Boundia (Senior Product Manager @ Unacademy), and Mansi Narang (Product Manager @ Prime Wallet) shared the game plan into how an airline company, an ed-tech platform, and a fin-tech major got their product development spot-on.

Products have varied user personas today. How does a company zero in on the key personas for its product?

How fin-tech firms can get user personas right:

As fin-tech firms work in the lending space, knowing what a person does for a living is important information for them. For instance, he could be a grocery store owner. Since such businesses usually work on credit, he’s a likely user. Or it could be a yoga teacher who wants to start a fitness academy.

To understand users, fin-tech firms categorize customers based on their bureau score or credit score. When users with low bureau scores seek an end product like credit, UX is not the most important thing. So the company focuses on building the right algorithm to assess their ability to repay.

On the other hand, the right marketing efforts and experiences are deployed to attract users with a high bureau score.

How ed-tech firms define user personas:

Any product intends to give value to users. And different personas can derive different values from the same product. So a perfect target persona would derive maximum value from a product. If you focus on this persona, you’re on the path to maximum growth.

Different personas come to ed-tech platforms for different reasons. Some want to learn, while others may want to test their learning. Some may want to take a quick quiz.

Ed-tech platforms keep tabs on some key traits of their users:

–        Usage frequency: Is the user coming for one hour in a day, one minute in a day, one day in a week, or one day in a month?

–        Virality factor: What are your users saying to other users about your product?- What is their monetization capability? At the end of the day, you need to keep the money flowing.

The airline way of defining personas:

– How recently did a user come onto its platform?

– How frequently are they visiting its platform?

– What is the average basket size or the transaction volumes at which they are transacting?

Using this framework, AirAsia can identify its supremely loyal users, the 10/10 champions, and the high-value users who don’t visit often. Based on these personas, the company figures a right-fit user engagement strategy, which varies according to the line of business.

Products and personas evolve with time. How do views on prioritizing and product building change over time?

AirAsia’s social app:

AirAsia is transforming from an airline to a tech company as it enters multiple businesses. Among the new products launched is AirAsia Chat, which enables a social connection and communication between travelers. A chat group is created for passengers flying on the same flight. This was a breakthrough product for the AirAsia portfolio as the company has not been associated with building social apps.

As companies evolve, their changing priorities are reflected in the product they build. With time, the AirAsia chatroom grew from a single chat room to multiple ones, spanning different locations – like the Kuala Lumpur Travellers and the Bali Travellers.

Ed-tech makes online teaching leaps ahead of offline:

If not reinvented, the wheel needs to be constantly upgraded. In these times of rapidly changing technology, as your personas evolve, it’s an opportunity to evolve your business.

While building an ed-tech platform, the first step is to replicate an offline classroom and provide classroom experiences that make users feel they are in an offline study center. However, online classrooms have an opportunity to do things that are not possible in an offline setup. For instance, if a teacher asks a question, the platform can do the Maths and provide her the percentage of right and wrong answers given by the students. Technology offers added value to customers.

Fin-tech apps build trust and security:

It’s important to change the features of your product as per the changing user landscape.

India has seen massive growth in internet penetration. Earlier, people in small towns were not comfortable using digital apps. Prime Wallet had to deploy sales executives to demonstrate how to download its apps. As people become tech-savvy, fin-tech firms have also seen a spurt in internet fraud. Prime Wallet now focuses on building user trust and optimizing security.

Time for some crystal ball gazing: What does the future of product growth look like at AirAsia, Unacademy, and Prime Wallet?

AirAsia: Not just an airline company

AirAsia is evolving to become a full-fledged super app. In certain geographies like Malaysia and Thailand, it’s already doing things like food, grocery, and beauty product delivery. It also acquired Gojek’s Thailand presence recently.

Covid-19 accelerated change at AirAsia, as the company began exploring strategic initiatives like selling tickets for other airlines and hotel rooms on its platform.

AirAsia’s customer journeys have also evolved. During the pre-Covid days, it was primarily a travel-based customer journey that lasted for a long time – from booking a ticket to boarding a flight. In the food and grocery space, customer journeys are much shorter. AirAsia is reconfiguring its customer engagement strategy as it builds new customer personas that penetrate across categories.

Even then, the company’s core value – of providing affordable options to users – stays the same. A strong customer focus and providing the best service at the right price remain the core value as AirAsia expands across categories.

Unacademy: Building great user experiences

Your brand equity will rise if your users love your product and tell others about it, and growth will automatically kick in. Unacademy’s ethos is to be a user-first brand.

A great user experience remains its focus area. Everything else, including growth strategies, is an enabler for it. If your users draw success after using your platform, then you’re on the right growth path.

Prime Wallet: Fair credit for all

Lending has always been a very traditional market, with physical and cumbersome processes. This fact restricted the industry’s product offerings to Tier one and Tier two cities, where financial institutions were present.

Fin-tech companies changed the game. With technology being the enabler, physical dependencies have been reduced, and more people have access to fair credit with a click on the phone.

Prime Wallet wants to build a tech stack that will work pan India and simplify user experiences. For example, if you order from a food delivery company, it automatically gets your location. Financial products are aiming to bring in the same ease of use.

Also, Fin-tech might sound like a fancy word, but companies are dealing with people’s money at the end of the day. So regulations and compliance are critical. And successful fin-tech companies are learning how to be compliant and deliver the best user experiences.
We hope you found this panel discussion insightful.

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Written By: Lakshmi Gandham