6 Product Management Trends to Track in 2022 [+Webinar]

As 2021 draws to a close, 280 Group is looking ahead at the coming year, and spotting key trends we feel will have the biggest impact on Product professionals across industries. We’ve identified six key trends that are gaining momentum, as discussed in our on-demand webinar, “Six Trends to Track for Product Success in 2022”. Let’s take a sneak peak of the trends.

Trend #1: The Pandemic Pivot and Recovery through Product Innovation

It’s been nearly two years since the country shut down in response to Covid-19, and people have adjusted to working remotely. This eventually resulted in the emergence of the hybrid workplace. Organizations impacted by the “Great Resignation” have made remote work an option, in order to retain employees who are leaving heavily populated metropolitan areas for more affordable living options, and today, one in four Americans continue to work remotely.

To capitalize on this trend, Product Managers will need to evaluate their products from the perspective of remote workers. What opportunities does the new hybrid workplace represent for your company and products? How can new products be developed to cater to a remote and mobile workforce? And as your organization develops new products to serve the changing needs of your audience, how can you help your distributed teams work collaboratively and efficiently, regardless of where they choose to live?

Trend #2: Product-Led Growth in the B2B World

As organizations look for ways to stand out in the crowded marketplace while keeping costs at bay, Product-led Growth (PLG) will become the primary method for creating and expanding demand. Instead of relying only on traditional marketing and sales activities to generate interest in new products, Product teams will leverage free trials and innovative pricing models to attract buyers and get them hooked.

PLG tactics are intended to make products easy to use and extremely accessible, so users will fall in love with the product and spread the news to other potential buyers. With a focus on PLG, Product teams with tight budgets can bypass expensive marketing tactics and let the product sell itself.

Trend #3: Experimentation with Physical Products and IoT

With a large percentage of the population working from home, Product teams that work on physical products such as hardware will need to be exceptionally innovative and think outside the box. The popularity and adoption of IoT devices in the home is increasing rapidly – the average number of smart devices in a typical U.S. home was 10 in 2020, and by 2021, 35 billion IoT devices will be installed globally. Product teams must develop and manage a diverse ecosystem of hardware and software products, and ensure new products meet customer expectations.

Innovating in this landscape will require Continuous Discovery. Weekly conversations with customers, along with research activities such as focus groups and surveys, will be essential to understanding evolving customer needs and staying one step ahead of demand.

Trend #4: Product Management Ethics

Thanks to tech giants such as Facebook and others whose ethics have fallen under scrutiny in recent months, establishing and enforcing ethical guidelines throughout product development and GTM will be an essential Product Management skill. As a Product professional, you’ll need to be adept at handling ethical dilemmas, and innovate products that drive healthy user habits rather than encouraging addiction. To serve a customer base that increasingly touts social justice and sustainability – and chooses to work with brands that support those values – developing products within the context of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) will be critical to attracting customers and maintaining competitive advantage.

Trend #5: Soft Skills Development

In addition to an increased awareness of social issues and sustainability, today’s workplace is also focused on enabling a healthy work/life balance. In the wake of the pandemic, priorities have shifted, and a focus on the employee as a whole individual rather than just a worker is critical to encouraging employee engagement and retention.

To that end, Product Managers must be skilled in communication techniques such as active listening and delivering constructive feedback, as well as negotiation techniques and the ability to set and respect boundaries. They should also look to incorporate tools that enable personal interactions such as Donut on Slack and team bonding events, to encourage team building and inclusion in the workplace.

Trend #6: Combining Data-driven Development with Story Telling

Data is everywhere, and so are tools that help Product teams analyze and gain helpful insights into the competitive landscape, a product’s viability and addressable market, or how to segment your audience. But developing winning products isn’t just about data-driven development; understanding the buyer’s intent, behavior, and journey is just as essential to creating products that people love. Insights into what drives someone to buy your product should be leveraged to tell a story about the product that has an emotional impact, because emotion is what compels people to take action.

Get Ready for What’s Ahead

While there will be numerous trends and challenges facing Product professionals in 2022, these are the six we feel will be most impactful – and require the most preparation to respond. 280 Group offers the training and resources to help you prepare for whatever lies ahead.

For starters, be sure to watch our on-demand webinar, during which we dove into each of these trends in more detail and provided tips and advice for using them to your advantage.

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About the Author

Roger Snyder - VP of Marketing
Roger Snyder is a Principal Consultant/Trainer, and VP of Marketing at 280 Group.
Roger has worked in the field of Product Management for over 20 years, with experience in startups, growth companies, and various technology sectors. He specializes in improving product strategy development, implementing full product lifecycle processes, and roadmap development and evolution.
280 Group is the world’s leading Product Management training and consulting firm. We empower Product Professionals with the knowledge and tools to create products that matter.

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