I work in digital strategy, as most people who read this blog know. I work in marketing, which probably explains most of the content I post here. But I don’t think I had ever clearly explained why digital strategy from a marketing perspective, and digital strategy from a product perspective, are two completely different things.
Product strategy is about creating an experience that provides value to users. Marketing strategy is about driving desired actions.
This is why most of the strategy advice I read from people who are fundamentally product-focused isn’t actually applicable to much of the work I do. It’s taken as gospel that the best way to drive a strategy is to generate as much value for the user as possible.
That’s not my objective, though. That’s one potential way to motivate a desired behaviour.
But there are many other ways to get someone to do something. Sometimes I just want to inform them, because the decision I want them to make is the logical one. Sometimes I want to terrify them, explaining the situation in a way that generates action by painting a worse case scenario. There are times when I need to leverage lust or desire, and times when I try to generate curiosity or mischief.
There’s something really noble in the kind of focus that it takes to aim solely at creating a great experience that exists on its own merit. And I do enjoy that element, polishing an experience to make it as rewarding and valuable as possible for those who use it.
But it’s a very different game than trying to drive specific actions.