A good product doesn’t need to be ‘sold’, it can sell by itself, at least to a large extent. Big brands like Amazon, Tesla and Netflix have demonstrated this successfully with their products leading the way and driving their business.
With product-led growth (PLG), businesses rely on their product to be the primary driver for acquisition, conversion and retention of customers. This growth rate is, in turn, sustained and enhanced by brands by delivering exceptional customer experiences. In essence, the product shows the path and the brand backs it up with meaningful engagement with customers based on what the product has to offer them.
How can this be done with considerable success?
Stand out in a crowded marketplace
In the B2C marketplace, which is extremely crowded and challenging in terms of scale and retention, customer loyalty cannot be taken for granted. Brands can ensure they have their customer’s undivided attention by delivering great user experiences. PLG makes a big impact here because it urges brands to focus on retaining customers for the long haul by making use of the product’s unique features and valuable add-ons.
For example, tech-enabled mass transit solutions company SWVL differentiates itself from the crowd by providing ancillary features that go beyond traditional ride-hailing. The Dubai-based bus and car booking app helps users schedule their commute for longer periods like a week or a month. Vehicle owners can also create carpools to monetize their vehicle space. SWVL offers multiple use cases within the same app, each adding a different kind of value to different kinds of users.
But SWVL faced a challenge in delayed feature releases, which require time and resources that may not always be available. This slowed down the learning process that the company benefited from in the form of customer feedback. To overcome this challenge, the product team at SWVL broke down releases into multiple milestones or checkpoints. The team pushed one milestone at a time so that releases were quicker and in a form that is consumable by customers. This helped improve the time-to-market.
In this example, we find that the product feature played a vital role in making the customer experience faster and more delightful. There was no other extraneous factor at play here.
Deliver value to each customer
For any customer, a product becomes valuable only when it starts yielding expected and sometimes even unexpected (but delightful) results. Today’s customers have high expectations from the products they buy. They expect the products to have a strong value proposition that goes beyond solving a common problem and helps customers save time and/or money or does something exceptional. Thus, design team members and business leaders have to work together and take into account the expectations of every customer before scripting the product vision, strategy and roadmap.
Business leaders and product developers must constantly look for ways to simplify the product or service, make the usage process smooth and frictionless, and augment the productivity and efficiency of the offering.
For instance, short video app Trell appeals to users for its seamless interface that helps users create and edit videos. It allows users to watch short videos from across the globe and allows people to share their creative videos across topics such as food, beauty and movie reviews. It delivers value to its customers in the form of unique, high-quality and meaningful content, which helps customers turn their digital interactions into avenues for initiating and fulfilling online purchases. As a value addition, the app offers a wide range of effects and filters.
Chase the right metrics
While evaluating a product’s success using different metrics, the company should adopt a ‘horses for courses’ approach—for the metrics measured by one business are not likely to be relevant to another business, especially one that’s operating in a different industry.
Tracking negative metrics is as important as tracking positive metrics. Product and marketing teams often fall prey to vanity metrics such as social media traction, likes and referrals. These metrics fall short of indicating the patterns about problems that customers are trying to solve. They also fail to communicate customer roadblocks or areas that need improvement. They portray a rosy picture of the business but don’t capture the substance of business growth.
It is also important to assign specific metrics for specific functions so that outcomes can be measured precisely. For instance, the product team of Trell ran multiple experiments at a time, making it difficult to attribute growth to a specific experiment and measuring it accurately. So it assigned specific metrics to each experiment, based on which the outcome was measured.
Once the relevant metrics have been defined, teams must focus on creating a good onboarding experience for the customer.
Ensuring smooth product onboarding for customer loyalty
A smooth onboarding experience will enable the user to use the product judiciously to solve their problems in the best possible manner. The significance of a frictionless onboarding experience is demonstrated by the fact that 60% of mobile app users uninstall the app within the first 14 days of onboarding as they are not satisfied with the product onboarding.
Product onboarding is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process that needs constant refinement based on changes in user personas, expectations and new market trends, so that the brand can interact with the customer in a pertinent and personalized manner. Product teams also have to ensure that no user goes through avoidable steps or is dumped with unnecessary features. The only way to ensure this is by embracing a data-driven approach.
There are analytical tools that track every user’s data and turn them into actionable insights for delivering a unified experience to the customer. The ultimate objective of PLG is to drive meaningful user engagement and business growth by delivering everything that users need in one place.