What Is a Digital Product Agency? The co-founder of Blue Label Labs explains what exactly a digital product agency is and what exactly he does.
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I am the Chief Architect at Blue Label Labs, are a multi-disciplined group of technical professionals who work together to bring products like an app to life.
Should you ask Google what a "digital product agency" actually is, you'll find a lot of colorful language that doesn't really say anything at all.
I'd like to provide my own answer to this question as well as explain what it means to our clients...
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So what is a digital product agency?
Digital product agencies are a group of professionals with the business acumen and technical chops to take a viable idea from concept to a rigorously tested MVP and beyond.
Software development is part of a much bigger picture: There's a ton of research that is used for everything from marketing, design, engineering, business planning and beyond. Most digital product agencies "borrow" ideas from everywhere to offer a diverse set of services that is different for every client.
This versus everything else
The days of cookie-cutter services are basically at an end. Those wanting to make an impact in the digital world think that finding something labeled a "development" or "design" firm will suffice. Most companies that fit in either of those categories might be able to handle one part of bringing an app to the market (e.g., the User Interface design or marketing graphics) but can't do it all. Basically, we're the most comprehensive package deal you can get for bringing an app to life.
A couple of decades ago, if you didn't like the interface of the software you used, you were out of luck. Today that's not an option.
If you build trash software that doesn't work the way users want, you'll drive a client's otherwise great idea for a product into the dirt. Everyone working with a digital product agency needs to build with the customer's best interest in mind or the business falls apart.
Some firms that develop software tend to lack the ownership that's needed to deliver a user experience (UX) necessary to connect with the products. Digital product agencies like us plan for the long haul, often adhering to an iterative development model that values feedback.
How does it work?
The best digital product agencies start with something called a Design Sprint. This five-day system was developed at Google Ventures to condense what was formerly a tedious process of refining an idea into an actionable solution---designing the product, prototyping and testing the solution with a group of users.
Not only does this allow digital product agencies to cut the time to market, but it also saves a lot of money. It is essential that the product delights customers so that's our starting point once the core problem is identified. We then engineer the solution around this concept to maximize engagement.
The collaborative element provides substantial value by virtue of having multiple eyes from those with different aptitudes. Devs need to diagnose functionality, but they might not always spot certain nuances that someone from another discipline might catch. A PM should be prioritizing developer assignments while considering user feedback.
If you're looking for outside help, don't just settle for any group that "makes software". Digital product agencies are the bedrock of this generation's app development enterprises.