Recap – PMF Connect Sessions #3: Challenges of Implementing a Product Growth Strategy

Written by Published in News and truths, Product Management

Chris Long, Product Growth Lead, shared his experience leading the product growth team at Shopify. His team and the product teams worked very closely together. The distinction between product growth managers and product managers are that the former focus on how to get more people to use the products. The latter focus on building more value to users, for example, how do we change the user experience to provide more value to users?

He also noted the difference between growth and marketing. Growth is focused on connecting more people to the value of your product. Growth is the outcome. Marketing are the tactics, channels, and tools. A lot of organizations might have marketing teams that focus on the top of the funnel, and the product teams that focus on the bottom of the funnel. What he’s done at Shopify is combine the two to make it more seamless in working the entire funnel.

Chris shares his challenges of when he initially began as a growth manager, how he eventually built out the growth team, and how he was able to succeed in inserting his team with the product teams to help achieve product goals.

Main takeaways: One size doesn’t fit all. Some companies have dedicated product growth managers and some don’t (or the product manager is also responsible for growth). Even in the companies with dedicated growth managers, not every product line needs one either. Consider the objectives and how best to structure the team to help achieve those goals. When coming into a product team as a growth specialist, agree on metrics that represent the “quality of the user experience,” get buy-in to build trust (be ok with losing battles; it’s the war that matters), grow every product that provides value, and convince the management if you need resources. Don’t focus entirely on product experience to the detriment of product growth; it’ll be an additional lever to help provide value to the user.

Questions included:

  • How do you measure the user’s happiness?
  • What are the inputs that go into the funnel (and mini funnels)?
  • What process do you go through to determine whether a product team is assigned a growth manager?
  • How do you decide when it’s time to go from growing to improving the product?
  • How do you sell the idea to executives that it’s time to focus on evolving the current product, even though the growth of it is continuously growing?
  • What are the types of tools/metrics product growth managers tend to use when they join the product team?
  • How are product growth managers received?
  • Tips on what not to do when implementing a product growth strategy?
  • Is there a mind-set shift required if a product manager needs to focus on growth (and doesn’t have a growth specialist with them)?
  • What datasets are you using? Do you use internal or external benchmarks?
  • How does the profile of a team shift as you implement a growth strategy?

Thank you to all who joined us, and to Chris for hosting the session! Stay tuned for our next PMF Connect Session, which will be on “Rolling out Massive Product Changes, at Scale” with Senior Product Manager, Dave Meyer, from Atlassian on Monday, 26 March 2018 @ 11am CEST.


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