Maximizing Product Strategy and Managing Expectations for Success

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Apr 03, 20245 min read


Maximizing Product Strategy and Managing Expectations for Success


In the world of business, product strategy plays a crucial role in determining the success and longevity of a product. It is essential to understand how to delight customers, create hard-to-copy advantages, and experiment with pricing and business models. Additionally, managing expectations is equally important, as the anticipation of an event often outweighs the actual experience. This article will explore the DHM Model of product strategy and delve into the concept of expectations through five short stories.

#1 The DHM Model:

Product strategy is centered around answering the question, "How will your product delight customers, in hard-to-copy, margin-enhancing ways?" This model emphasizes several key elements: brand, network effects, economies of scale, unique technology, counter-positioning, switching costs, process power, and captured resource. By understanding these factors, businesses can create a product that not only satisfies customers but also provides a sustainable advantage in the market.

Building trust with customers is a fundamental aspect of product strategy. It requires consistently delivering value and minimizing "trustbusters" that could erode customer confidence. Trust is built over time, and maintaining it should be a priority for any business.

Furthermore, network effects and economies of scale contribute to a product's success. The more users a product has, the more valuable it becomes, creating a virtuous cycle. This can be seen in platforms like social media, where the value of the platform increases as more users join.

Unique technology and counter-positioning are also crucial for creating a hard-to-copy advantage. By developing innovative technology or positioning a product differently from competitors, businesses can carve out a niche and attract customers who value these unique aspects.

Switching costs and process power are additional factors that make a product hard to copy. Switching costs refer to the costs associated with switching from one product to another. By making it difficult for customers to switch, businesses can retain their customer base. Process power, on the other hand, involves creating a highly efficient and streamlined process that competitors find hard to replicate.

Captured resource refers to the ability to control essential resources that are integral to the product's success. This could include securing exclusive partnerships or acquiring key assets that give the product a competitive edge.

To implement the DHM Model effectively, businesses must continuously experiment with different prices and business models throughout the product's lifecycle. This experimentation allows companies to adapt to changing market dynamics and customer preferences, ensuring that the product remains relevant and profitable. Product strategy is an ongoing process that requires constant evaluation and adjustment.

Product Strategy Exercises:

To apply the principles of the DHM Model, here are three exercises to consider:

Exercise #1: Take a moment to jot down how your product delights customers today. Then, brainstorm ideas on how you can enhance this delight in the future. By continually seeking ways to exceed customer expectations, you can maintain a competitive advantage and build long-term loyalty.

Exercise #2: Using the eight hard-to-copy powers mentioned earlier, brainstorm ways your product can create a hard-to-copy advantage in the future. By leveraging one or more of these powers, you can differentiate your product and establish a strong market position.

Exercise #3: List a few price and business model experiments you can explore over the next 1-3 years. The market is constantly evolving, and customers' preferences change. By experimenting with pricing and business models, you can adapt to these changes and stay ahead of the competition.

Expectations (Five Short Stories):

While product strategy is crucial, managing expectations is equally important. The anticipation of an event often brings more joy than the actual experience itself. This phenomenon can be attributed to the way dopamine works in our brains. Understanding the role of expectations can help businesses approach customer satisfaction more effectively.

The first story highlights how even astronauts walking on the moon were left underwhelmed by the experience. This raises questions about our own earthly goals and expectations. It serves as a reminder that the pursuit of grand ambitions may not always lead to the fulfillment we expect.

The second story emphasizes the resistance to change and the urge to stick to familiar ways of doing things. People often resist being told they've been doing things wrong, even when presented with evidence to the contrary. This resistance can hinder innovation and prevent businesses from adapting to new market trends.

The third story explores the concept of risk and humility. No one is exempt from being humbled, regardless of their predisposition to risk. Setting ambitious goals comes with the risk of failure or disappointment. Acknowledging this downside and being prepared for it can help manage expectations and navigate challenges more effectively.

The fourth story highlights the importance of recognizing the downsides of every goal. While it is essential to set goals and strive for success, it is equally crucial to understand the potential pitfalls and trade-offs. By being aware of the downsides, businesses can make more informed decisions and mitigate risks.

The fifth story emphasizes the fleeting nature of experiences and the power of anticipation. Our minds quickly move on to anticipating the next event once an experience is over. This phenomenon underscores the value of creating memorable experiences for customers. By focusing on delivering exceptional experiences, businesses can surpass expectations and leave a lasting impression.


In conclusion, a successful product strategy involves understanding how to delight customers, creating hard-to-copy advantages, and continuously experimenting with prices and business models. Additionally, managing expectations is vital to customer satisfaction. By recognizing the power of anticipation and understanding the downsides of goals, businesses can better navigate challenges and exceed customer expectations. To maximize product strategy and manage expectations effectively, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

1. Continuously seek ways to delight customers by exceeding their expectations. This can be achieved through innovative features, exceptional customer service, or personalized experiences.

2. Embrace change and be open to exploring new ideas and strategies. Sticking to familiar ways of doing things can hinder growth and prevent businesses from adapting to evolving market dynamics.

3. Prioritize customer experience and create memorable moments that leave a lasting impression. Anticipation and the thrill of experiences contribute significantly to customer satisfaction.

By incorporating these actionable advice into your product strategy and expectations management, you can position your business for long-term success and customer loyalty.

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