Product Trends and Resolutions for 2022 — From 13 Top Product Experts
What will be the biggest Product Trends in 2022?
Interestingly — they seem completely different from the product trends we’ve identified for 2021 — including Product Led Growth, the rise of a Growth Product Management Role, chatbots, or gamification.
Will AI transform Product Management in 2022 by allowing PMs to make a better use of user behavior data? Will we see a rise of AI-powered product personalization? Will 2022 be the year of Product Ops? Will data privacy, culture and company values matter to customers more than ever, up to the point of swaying an their product decisions? What Product Resolutions are top leaders in the Product space making in the run-up to the new year?
Find out from the post below — we’ve asked a dozen of Product Experts including Jason Knight — Product Director at DueDil and founder of One Knight in Product, Raman Sharma — VP of Product Marketing at DigitalOcean, Jon Gatrell — Chief Product Officer and COO at Loren Data Corp, Andy Shamah — Head of Product at Userpilot, Vazgen Babayan -Senior Product Manager at Adobe, and Andrea Saez — Product Influencer and Senior Product Marketing Manager at Airfocus.
- 2022 will be the year of data in the product — Product Managers will become more and more data-driven in their decision-making, and will offer more personalized product experiences based on user behavior data.
- This is partially due to the democratization of SaaS — with more and more contenders joining the market, great product and customer experience is not an option anymore — it’s what makes or breaks your product.
- The shift to data-driven, personalized experiences providing more value to the users will be enabled by AI tools allowing predictive user behavior analysis, and code-free product growth tools (such as e.g. Userpilot :)). This will allow PM to build personalized product adoption experiences on the fly.
- In the words of John Fontenot, a Growth PM at Lendio and founder of Path2Product: In 2022, “you’ll see a continued emphasis on personalization through data-driven experiences”.
- Working with large volumes of data will require Product Data Management Platforms and a separate Product Ops function — another product trend that will be on the rise in 2022.
- Another frequently mentioned product trend for 2022 is the continuous rise of remote work and collaboration tools as the pandemic enters year 3 and the remote-first culture is becoming widely adopted by companies of all sizes worldwide.
- A lot of the product experts surveyed mentioned company culture as the deciding factor for more and more product decision-makers. This includes diversity, inclusion, prioritization of employee mental health, Corporate Social Responsibility, as well as data privacy policies, including “zero party data”.
- Asked about their Product New Years resolutions, our interviewees mentioned “improving feature adoption” and “talking to more customers” (fostering “continuous discovery habits”) as their main priorities for 2022.
- As Emilie Lindström, a Senior Product Manager at Outfittery and a freelance Product Coach said, we need to “stop the mad feature factories, take a step back, and think more.”
Product Trends 2022 — The Year of Data
2022 will be the year of data — a significant proportion of the product experts (42%) surveyed mentioned several product trends related to data, from the rise of Product Data Management platforms and Product Ops, through the use of AI-processed predictive behavioral data for product personalization, to the important ethical questions of data privacy and security.
Interestingly — several (33%) Product Managers we asked mentioned values such as corporate social responsibility, burnout prevention, diversity in product, as well as the mental and physical well-being of product managers.
A few mentioned democratization of product management, especially in SaaS, which means that there is more competition and that SaaS companies cannot get away with bad product experience:
“More and more people will build SaaS products irrespective of their tech expertise.” — Raman Sharma, the VP of Product Marketing at DigitalOcean, told us.
This can be attributed to the rise of no-code app-building platforms such as Bubble.io, Mendix, or DigitalOcean, as well as to the popularization of coding skills around the world and higher access to more affordable developers in developing countries.
Our own Head of Product, Andy Shamah, confirmed “Comparing now to a couple of years ago, things have drastically changed in the SaaS world:
- The number of public SaaS companies is skyrocketing.
- There are countless companies that meet every need the customer has. This means getting initial traction is much much harder.
- SaaS is much better understood as a model (even for non-tech savvy users!).
So from my perspective, basic products or quick MVPs are not polished enough and no longer do the trick. So I’d expect some biggest trends to be:
How are Raman Sharma and Andy Shamah planning to adapt to the more competitive environment?
Andy is planning to “improve the in-app product experience touchpoints mainly by decreasing the time to value for non-technical users. This should increase the number of Product-Qualified Leads (PQLs).”
Raman is also planning to “improve feature adoption.”
Both of these tactics translate into an improved product experience — which will help you keep your users from checking out the competition.
You can improve the adoption of new and advanced features by adding a few (100% code-free!) tooltips to your UI pointing the user out in the right direction:
…or building entire onboarding flow:
The role of Customer Success in Product Adoption
Another way to stand out in the more and more crowded SaaS world is with excellent Customer Success function.
This is also why — as Jon Gatrell, the Chief Product Officer and COO at Loren Data Corp suggested that 2022 in Product will bring “the increased focus on customer success and how such feedback is integrated into product plans.”
Data-Driven Product Management — the biggest Product Trend in 2022?
The majority of top-product managers in the industry can’t be wrong — with all the competition on the market, Product Managers, especially in SaaS, need to make data-informed decisions.
As Vazgen Babayan, Senior Product Manager at Adobe said:
“Data Product Management is going to become more and more relevant. Many companies today have a huge amount of data about their customers which opens huge opportunities for machine learning, automation, and personalization of user experience, yet that data is usually messy and requires a lot of effort to bring to a useful state. Product Managers will need to think more of what data their products capture and how to make it more structured and easier to work with.”
This more data-driven approach will allow PMs to create more value for the users by creating more bespoke product experiences and onboarding experiences.
In the words of John Fontenot, a Growth PM at Lendio and founder of Path2Product: “You’ll see a continued emphasis on personalization through data-driven experiences”.
If you feel a lot of decisions in your Product Roadmap have been taken by the committee — rather than based on continuous user discovery and behavioral data — you’re not alone.
The “Built Trap” is a common phenomenon in Product Teams that are focused on the outputs rather than outcomes — instead of spending most of their time observing the users and understanding their needs to build something that really solves their problems, they spend most of the time simply shipping features.
That’s why — as Emilie Lindström, a Senior Product Manager at Outfittery and a freelance Product Coach said, we need to “stop the mad feature factories, take a step back, and think more.”
AI for Product Personalization — will this 2022 Product Trend disrupt Product Management?
The general personalization trend, translating into better product experience and competitiveness in the cut-throat SaaS world — couldn’t miss the rapid developments in AI.
As Natalia Kimličková, Product Marketing Manager, Kontentino, said: “I think one of the biggest trends for 2022 is the rising usage of AI, predicting consumers’ behavior and subsequently personalizing the product based on their needs, as well as being able to forecast purchases, churn, etc. Data privacy and security also play a big role.”
According to Natalia, AI will help PMs predict user behavior in advance, and catch them before they fall with bespoke reactive in-app experiences. For example, if you see your user copying and pasting emails instead of using templates, you can predict that they are likely to get frustrated and avoid using your email solution, and even possibly churn, if you don’t help them adopt a more optimal way of using your product.
You could use AI to make hundreds of such predictions in seconds, and then just act upon them by building code-free product experiences.
The higher need for product personalization calls for more organized product operations. No wonder Product Ops will be on the rise in 2022 (get ready for a slew of job offers!)
As Lena Sesardic, a Product Owner at Aviso Wealth and coach put it: “A more widespread rise of Product Ops as it becomes increasingly important for PMs to focus on and drill down to customer value and the overall customer experience — a more holistic view of data related to product analytics across the entire organization (moving away from a siloed approach for data)”
Jason Knight, agreed: “I think the biggest product trend in 2022 will be the rise of Product Operations and B2B Discovery”.
Zero Party Data
With increasing concerns about data privacy — how can SaaS companies personalize their product experiences without sounding creepy and unethical?
The answer is another 2022 Product trend — Zero Party Data.
This mysterious term stands for basically the data your user has handed over to you herself.
As Gen Furukawa, the Co-Founder of Prehook, put it:
“Product trends 2022? Personalization + Zero Party Data. With the impact of iOS 14 and iOS 15 taking hold, and traditional acquisition channels declining in profitability, it is becoming more important to build direct relationships with customers and use that data to stand out with a stellar user experience….that means one that is personalized to the needs/goals/interests/preferences of customers.
So gathering customer data and using it effectively is going to be a big trend in 2022. And you can see this for example in the onboarding process of some of the savvy saas products, asking what role the customer is, what they are using the product for, what they hope to accomplish. and highlighting features and use cases in response to those answers.”
Company Values and Culture — a 2022 Product Trend to Watch Carefully
A very promising product trend in 2022, as forecasted by Andrea Saez, Sr Product Marketing Manager at Airfocus:
“The product trend of 2022 will be more awareness for diversity + inclusion, as well as more awareness for people’s self-care and mental wellbeing. Burnout is very common in products and knowing where to set up boundaries and how is incredibly important. There’s always been this awful trend where people brag about how they work 80+ hrs a week for “the hustle” — that’s not really the case anymore. Knowing to take time off actually opens you up to being more empathetic with others, which is a key skill for product people. Empathy with others starts with having empathy for yourself.
Sorana Duca, Head of Brand Marketing at the Association of International Product Marketing & Management, in turn, maintained that company values will literally make or break the buyer’s decisions:
“Consumers will stop engaging and buying if their values are not in alignment with your company values. With strong communication platforms and transparency, consumers become strong activists for causes, such as equality, women empowerment, and climate change. Brands who say they stand for those causes but fail to align their actions, supply chains, culture to those causes, will be penalized hard by the 2023 consumer.
One piece of advice for brands: determine who you are, make an honest stand, and walk the talk.
Your consumers will become fierce advocates of your brand and that will reflect in your culture, profit, employee retention and overall wellbeing.”
Remote Work and Collaboration tools will be on the rise
Unsurprisingly, after nearly 2 years of the pandemic, remote team collaboration and remote work tools are still very much in demand. The “new normal” means a lot of employees still work from home, and several companies have now moved to the “remote first” model.
According to Vazgen Babayan from Adobe: “Another trend is Covid and remote work. While there is a noticeable trend towards bringing people back in the office, workers have shown that they can continue to stay productive outside of the office, all while saving time on the commute and spending it with their families. Product Managers will need to learn to work in a hybrid work model and organize their own workweeks better to align with it.”
This is why Lena Sesardic predicts “Improved tools for async/remote communication like Loom.com will still be a big product trend in 2022.”
Moshe Mikanovsky, Sr. Product Manager at Procom, and cohost at Product for Product Podcast, concurs.
Product Resolutions 2022
Now that we know what will be trending in product management in 2022 — what actions should you take to adapt to the new product trends?
Here’s a list of our interviewees’ “Product Resolutions” you can use too:
- Work hard to articulate the value of an MVP to my business stakeholders and why the best products are built using agile methods
- Maximum feature adoption for the new product I’m building (it’s a website! :))
Mentor more PMs, do more conferences, do more customer interviews.
Improve feature adoption.
As a PMM I’d say extending on brand awareness. As a startup getting your name out there is important, so talking to others and finding market-fit is really something I’m looking forward to in the new year. But yes of course also feature adoption — who doesn’t want that!
My New Year’s resolution is to be more customer-centric and set up communication-based on behavioral events. By doing so I hope to increase activation, feature adoption and well as retention and increase users’ LTV.
Talk to more customers, not just look at usage metrics.
I have a mind for tech and a heart for people. I believe tech for good is the best kind of tech, therefore I have only one New Year Resolution: to see more products that respond to people’s needs. As a Marketer with 15 years of experience, I stand by products that enhance people’s lives, and not for those that may create addiction, low wellbeing, health problems, financial difficulties or degrade our planet.
To more ethical products in 2023. And everything else will sort itself out naturally: the activations will happen by value alignment; product adoption will be instigated by the consumer while retention will be the most natural thing in the world.
I should know, I have acquired a @Calm membership for life.
If that is not loyalty, I don’t know what is?
To be more methodic in my discovery habit. To really adopt Teresa Torres’s methods in identifying opportunities and solutions and experiment on regular basis. Basically, build up that muscle and create a habit.
The second resolution is more personal — to work and release my second book, and do it as a Product Manager! Write it with my intended audience and find a product-market fit for success.
Increasing retention, growth, and profitability of our partner channel.
Not really 🙂 I don’t believe in New Year resolutions and think that if you work with goals and metrics, you are constantly in that mood and don’t need a specific time of the year to make a plan to change something 🙂
Improve user activation (and therefore reduce churn!)
Back to basics, customer first, discovery and collaborations.
Improving the in-app product experience touchpoints mainly for decreasing the time to value for non-technical personas along with the aim of increasing the number of Product-qualified leads (PQLs).
In sum, it looks like personalized, data-driven product experiences will dominate SaaS Product Management in 2022. Deciding to work on feature adoption and talking more to your user is the best start to improving your product experience next year.
Userpilot can help you with both!