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Buyer , Scaleups , Startups , User — 09.16.2022

What Is a Digital Product Agency?

Katie Lukes, Principal, Product Strategy & Research

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Have you heard the term “digital product agency”? In the landscape of companies that can help create or renovate software, the digital product agency is relatively new. 

A digital product agency brings cross-functional expertise in product management, design, and product marketing to help companies create the best digital product for the first time or improve an existing product. They focus on the strategy that goes into software-enabled products like apps, websites, and digital platforms, all before code is written or rewritten. 

Let’s say you’re a CEO looking to improve an existing digital product, like your company’s customer portal. Or you might be a founder with an idea for a new application to support your industry’s transactions with vendors. You could build each of these on your own. But to create a product that stands out from the crowd, you’ll want an external partner to help bring it to life. By partnering with someone who’s not directly tied to your product, you get an unbiased, expert opinion on the decisions that are best for your product as informed by detailed user research and industry best practices.

As a digital product agency, our team at Innovatemap concentrates on the “why” and the “what” up front before you ever get to the “how” of the technical solution. Then we help you build the right thing for the right audience. Think of it this way: if it were your house you were building rather than a digital product, you wouldn’t start by picking out building materials and kitchen appliances. You’d first understand your vision, research the climate and the location, understand the requirements of the people who would live there, and create a blueprint. 

Your digital product is no different. The digital product agency can help you with all of that upfront so that when you do build, you can be confident in the results. At their best, digital product agencies can help you de-risk a huge investment—your product—by providing you with expert talent from every product discipline. 

The Emergence of the Digital Product Agency

The world of digital products has evolved. What started with on-premise software used only by businesses has turned into an all-encompassing world of digital products. We use digital products for everything from ordering groceries to planning weddings to handling contracts.

The disciplines needed to bring products to life and make them successful have deepened alongside this shift:

  • Excellent user experience has gone from being a nice-to-have to being table stakes
  • Product management is now a must-have for learning user requirements and using them to prioritize building a product that advances your business goals
  • Brand and product marketing are now non-negotiable disciplines in launching an internal product or debuting one in an external market

Of course, you have many options for building a product. An internet search for user experience design in any given city will list many companies that specialize in user experience and user interface design—two essential parts of your product. Among these companies are development firms, consulting firms, innovation firms, marketing agencies, and freelance networks. Each type has its own benefits. Development firms are experts in technology and engineering, and consulting firms know organizational transformation and strategy. Marketing agencies understand graphic design and how to target various audiences.

Each of these agency types serves a tremendous purpose in growing businesses. But their focus is not on the fundamental product strategy that digital product agencies provide.

Service Offerings

How exactly do digital product agencies achieve your goal of creating the best product? The process starts with several important offerings, including:

  • Research and insights to understand your market, your buyers, your users, and the market landscape of all those players 
  • Vision definition and design to establish your north star: why does your product exist? Where is it going? 
  • Strategic planning and prioritization to establish the right features first
  • Strategic product design with user experience expertise that understands and works with development
  • Brand skills that help establish visual identity and name that tells the right business story
  • Foundational positioning and messaging so that people understand your product and why they should be using it
  • Go-to-market strategy that gets your product out in the world the right way
  • Go-to-organization strategy that helps your internal teams understand what your product does and why

In the end, your digital product isn’t a simple project with a start and a finish. Digital products and the needs of the people who use them evolve over time. By working with a digital product agency, you can unlock new insights about what your users value and what challenges to stay ahead of in your market. With expert product designers, digital product agencies can help you take these insights and apply them in the best way to launching your product or choosing the right update. 

Are you interested in seeing your product vision come to life? Let us know and we’ll be in touch.

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