How to Build a Product Ecosystem
When you hear the word ecosystem, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Probably a frozen tundra or even a rainforest, which wouldn’t be surprising! Ecosystems work in a very specific way, wherein the biotic and abiotic components of any particular ecosystem work together to survive. Product ecosystems are not so different! A company creates a product ecosystem when they have several products that coexist to benefit the customer. Apple and Adobe are excellent examples of companies that have created thriving product ecosystems. But how is a successful product ecosystem built? Below, we have a few pointers for any companies that are attempting to establish their product ecosystem.
Listen to your customers
The first step with anything concerning your customers is listening, but it’s especially true for building product ecosystems. The only way to have a truly beneficial product ecosystem is to provide products and services that solve the challenges and pain points that your target audience is facing. Invest the time into listening to what your customers need. Are there any blind spots in your product lineup? Is there a feature that doesn’t work the way it should? Are your products optimizing the customer experience? These are all questions that the customer will be able to answer.
Simplify the connections within your product ecosystems
Next, you need to be sure that your ecosystem works. Product integration and connection should be as simple as possible. The simpler this process is, the more value your ecosystem provides. Consider the previous example of Apple’s product ecosystem: under your specific account, each piece of technology that you buy pairs with everything you already own. So, if you have a phone, you can pair that with a new MacBook, iPad, AirPods or any other piece of Apple technology. People invest in Apple products because they work, not only individually, but as a greater whole. If you are looking to build a product ecosystem, make sure your technology can integrate seamlessly.
Consistently update and improve your product ecosystem
Once you’ve built your product ecosystem, you begin the work of maintaining and updating what you’ve created. Essentially, you never stop listening to customer feedback. Improving the product ecosystem will improve the customer experience. As your products expand and evolve, continue to work on how your ecosystem operates and how functional each piece of technology is.
Make joining your ecosystem valuable for customers
If your product ecosystem is set up properly, there’s no reason that this last step can’t be achieved. But for sales purposes, you will still want the world to know how great your product ecosystem is and all of the great things it can do for your customers. If your product ecosystem has nothing to offer anyone, there’s simply no reason for it to exist. Give it purpose and make it a “must-have” for everyone in your target audience. Any product or service that can immediately address and resolve the problems that your customers are facing is going to have inherent value.