Leveraging the Ladder of Needs Framework for Product Management

Have you ever heard of the “Ladder of Needs” framework? It’s a popular tool used by product managers to create compelling visions and roadmaps that are both customer-centric and competitive. At its heart, product management is about understanding what job your product is being hired to do, how you can do it better or differently than your competitors, and considering whether you should extend your product’s purpose further to address unmet needs. Let’s take a closer look at how the Ladder of Needs framework works, exploring examples from Amazon and Rent The Runway as case studies.

The What Job – Understanding What Job Your Product is Being Hired For

The first rung on the ladder of needs framework is focused on understanding what job your product is being hired to do. Amazon has done an impressive job of this by recognizing that their products and services are not just about making purchases; they are also about convenience and ease-of-use. This understanding has enabled Amazon to create innovative solutions such as one-click checkout, same-day delivery, and Amazon Prime subscriptions that have drastically improved the customer experience.

Rent The Runway has also taken advantage of this rung by recognizing that customers don’t just want access to fashionable clothing—they want access on their terms. To meet this need, Rent The Runway created a unique business model where customers can rent designer clothing instead of buying it outright, allowing them to save money while still staying on trend with the latest fashion trends.

The How Job – Understanding How You Can Do It Better or Differently Than Your Competitors

The second rung focuses on understanding how you can do the “what job” better or differently than your competitors. In light of this, Amazon has made numerous investments in enhancing customer experiences and satisfaction levels through initiatives such as its “AmazonSmile” program which donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to charity; its award-winning Alexa voice assistant; and its Prime Video streaming service which offers original content alongside movies and TV shows from other sources.

Similarly, Rent The Runway has made several strategic moves in order meet changing customer needs such as partnering with rental locker companies so customers can pick up their orders directly; creating a subscription service for frequent shoppers; launching a dedicated bridal store called “Say Yes”; and most recently opening physical stores across the US where customers can view items in person before renting them online. Rung

The Why Job – Considering Whether You Should Extend Your Product’s Purpose Further to Address Unmet Needs

Finally, the third rung encourages product managers to consider whether they should extend their product’s purpose further by addressing unmet needs in existing markets or entering new industries altogether. Amazon provides an example here with its expansion into new markets such as cloud computing (Amazon Web Services), streaming music (Amazon Music Unlimited), grocery delivery (Amazon Fresh), professional services (Amazon Home Services), movie production (Amazon Studios) and more—all while remaining true to its core mission statement – offering customers low prices, selection, convenience, fast delivery options and excellent customer service across all markets it enters into. Rent The Runway also continues to explore ways it can extend its brand beyond providing rental services with initiatives such as owning branded stores where customers can try items before renting them online for added convenience; launching collaborations with celebrities like Blake Lively; producing original content via podcasts like “Unlimited”; creating physical pop-up shops at festivals across the US during peak seasons; expanding their size range by adding petite sizes; etc..


Leveraging tools like the Ladder of Needs framework allows project founders and CEOs alike to build competitive products that are both customer centric yet remain true their core mission statements while still finding creative solutions for addressing unmet needs in existing markets or entering new industries altogether. We saw evidence today through examples from Amazon & Rent The Runway case studies on how utilizing concepts like these—such as enhancing user experiences & satisfaction levels through initiatives like AmazonSmile or partnering with rental locker companies like Rent The Runway did—can help elevate your products & services above those offered by competitors . Ultimately , if you focus on quality over quantity , strive for continual innovation , invest time into researching keywords , develop backlinks strategically , creating compelling content etc., then you too could be successful at building an engaging digital presence for your business .

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