product strategy: DEFINING PRODUCT PRINCIPLES
What should our product principles be?
Amidst the early stages of the company and product, we as a team wanted to clearly articulate principles that would guide the product design. These principles would help inform prioritization decisions, aesthetics, branding, copy and overall feature set. When I first joined Customer.io, I interviewed a handful of users to understand how they think about email and Customer.io.
What are our users / potential users' mindsets and attitudes? Why do people come to Customer.io? What do they expect from the service? What's the primary emotion we are should be trying to convey in our product?
Who are our primary users? What is their role in their organization? Who is their boss? How is success measured for them?
BASED ON USER RESEARCH, OUR PRODUCT SHOULD...
- Make it hard to make mistakes. We deal with a company's communication with their customers. This is a vital interaction, and it's imperative that our users trust us to handle it. Therefore, it's important throughout the product we build reassurance and trust with our users. It's also important that we have numerous safeguards to prevent our users from making mistakes.
- Be human. People who are using our product are typically marketers who don't have a technical background, moreover, they are intimidated by code. It's important that copy is friendly, jargon-free and human in order to be relatable.
- Celebrate success. Our customers are mostly working within a larger organization. Make it easy for our primary users to share success with their team. This builds the team's trust in their teammate and the teammate's trust in us.
The following designs are examples of decisions based on the above principles.
Customer.io today has over 900 paying customers, including Shopify, CodeAcademy, DigitalOcean, Trello.