Sense & Respond: a guide to developing product sense with quantitative and qualitative signals
Tools and frameworks for understanding customer needs and how to use that information to improve your product strategy.
There are many ways to develop product sense include: reading about and studying different products, talking to customers and other stakeholders, attending product meetings, and experimenting with different products. Additionally, it is important to be able to think critically and creatively, and to be able to effectively communicate with others.
The frameworks that product managers can use to develop product sense will vary depending on the specific products and markets they are working in. However, some common frameworks that product managers can use to develop product sense include both quantiative and qualitative measures.
- North Star Metric Framework – A north star metric is a business metric that helps teams to identify their goals and track their progress towards reaching them.
- Market Research and Surveys – Market research through surveys generates quantitative attitudinal data that helps with market segmentation and validating customer discovery at scale.
- A/B testing – A/B testing allows for informed decisions to be made about which product features or design elements are more effective and should be included in the final product.
- Product Analytics – Product analytics visualize how how your product is used, what features are used compared to others, and the habits of users.
- The Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) Framework – JTBD is a tool that can help determine why customers buy a product, or what they hope to achieve with yourproduct, which can help differentiate your product from that of competitors.
- Competitor Analysis and Benchmarking – Competitive analysis is the process of identifying and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.Benchmarking is the process of comparing your company's performance against other companies in your industry.
- Customer Discovery – Customer discovery is a process in which startups assess whether there is a market for their product or service by talkingto potential customers.
- Product Feedback – Customer feedback is important for product strategy because it helps businesses understand what customers want andneed from their products, how well their products are performing, and identify areas for improvement.
North Star Metric
A north star metric is a business metric that is both important and unambiguous. It is a metric that management can use to make decisions and track progress.
A north star metric is a metric that teams can use to measure their progress and performance. It can help teams to identify their goals and track their progress towards reaching them.
Input metrics are the performance data that are collected and used as the basis for making decisions about where and how to improve the performance of a process or larger metric.
Market Research & Surveys
There are three major types of surveys, each with their own best practices: map-making, intercept, and validation. Survey questions should be designed to generate quantitative data, and surveys should be sent to a representative sample of the target audience to avoid bias.
Map-making surveys are broad, extensive surveys that help build a map of customer attitudes, frequently used for market sizing and validating customer interview insights at scale. Intercept surveys are targeted surveys looking to understand specific attitudes with specific aspects of a product. They are used for things like customer satisfaction or CSAT surveys. Validation surveys are a specific set of mostly standardized surveys that validate value or satisfaction. They include NPS surveys, CES surveys, and others.
Product Adoption & Engagement
There are a few reasons why measuring product adoption and engagement is important. One reason is that it can help you determine whether or not your product is meeting customer needs. If adoption and engagement are low, it may indicate that there is something wrong with your product that needs to be fixed.
Additionally, measuring adoption and engagement can help you understand how your customers are using your product, what features they are using, and how they are interacting with your product. This information can help you improve your product and make sure that it is meeting customer needs.
Poor product adoption means that a product is not being used as much as the company or its creators had hoped. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as a lack of interest in the product, a lack of awareness of the product, or a lack of understanding of how to use the product.
Poor product engagement means that customers are not using your product as much as you would like them to. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as a lack of features, a confusing user interface, or a lack of marketing and outreach.
The success of a product's revenue model correlates with its users' depth of engagement. A product with good retention (breadth) but without depth of engagement will not become a big business.
Retention and engagement are two sides of the same coin - without one, the other cannot exist. Retention is the number of customers you have at a given time period, while engagement is the depth and intensity of their relationship with your company.
Retention and engagement are both important for different reasons - retention is key to growth, while engagement is key to profitability. Engagement deepens over time as customers learn the product and become more invested in it. The deeper the engagement, the higher the switching costs for customers, which makes it more difficult for them to leave. Engagement builds defensibility by increasing switching costs and making it more difficult for competitors to steal customers.
Product retention is the percentage of customers that continue to use a product or service over a given period of time. It is typically measured by asking customers how often they have used a product or service in the past day, week, or month.
Product retention is important because it is one of the most important factors in a company's success. It is much easier and less expensive to keep a customer than it is to find a new one.
Retention is one of the most important, yet least understood, drivers of growth. It can take years to see its impact on your company’s growth, so it often is deprioritized. However, it’s critical to take a longer term view on growth in order to understand how retention impacts your product. With a longer term view, it’s clear that retention is a key factor in winning the growth race. Companies with higher retention rates will have a significant advantage over those with lower retention rates.
Defining retention incorrectly can lead to inaccurately measuring retention, which can kill your product. Choosing the wrong unit of measurement is a common mistake companies make when measuring retention. Retention should be measured in terms of usage, not revenue.
Retention should be measured on the right frequency to get an accurate understanding of a product's retention. Measuring retention on the wrong frequency can trick you into thinking your product has good retention when it really doesn't. For most B2C social products, engagement should be daily, not weekly or monthly.
Retention metrics can be useful, but they can also be misleading if you don't understand how they work. Breadth of engagement is the percentage of users who are still active in a given time period. Depth of engagement is the strongest indicator of long term-value for both the user and the company. Retention without engagement tells only half the story.
Retention Marketing Strategies
There are many different marketing techniques that can be used in order for companies to keep in touch with their customers and encourage them to return and make another purchase. Retention marketing typically consists of communicating directly with existing customers via email, social media, or a phone call to inform them of product updates and improvements.
Data & Anecdotes
When metrics tell a different story than customers, the company should investigate the discrepancy. The company may find that the metrics are inaccurate or that customer feedback is not representative of all customers. Alternatively, the company may find that it is not meeting customer needs in some way that the metrics do not capture. In any case, discrepancies between customer feedback and metrics should be investigated and addressed.
The thing I have noticed is when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right. There's something wrong with the way you are measuring it. – Jeff Bezos
Customer feedback is crucial for product strategy because it allows businesses to understand what customers want and need from their products. This feedback can then be used to improve or create new products that meet customer needs. Additionally, customer feedback can help businesses understand how well their products are performing and identify areas for improvement.
Customer experience is an important aspect of product strategy because it impacts how customers perceive a product. Positive experiences with the product can create loyal customers who are likely to continue using or buying the product in the future. On the other hand, negative interactions will lead customers to seek out alternative products and discourage them from coming back.
A positive customer experience can create loyal customers who are likely to continue using or buying the product in the future. On the other hand, negative interactions will lead customers to seek out alternative products and discourage them from coming back.
In order to make improvements, businesses must understand how customers feel about their product and what they want from it – this is why customer feedback is crucial for product strategy.
Sales conversations are important for product strategy because they can help identify what features and benefits are most important to customers and how the product can be improved to better meet customer needs.
Sales conversations can help identify product gaps by giving you an idea of what features and functionality your customers would like to see in your product. This information can help you prioritize product development and determine where to focus your resources. Additionally, sales conversations can help you understand which features are most important to your customers and how they are using your product. This information can help you make decisions about future product development and marketing initiatives.
The sales team is often the first touchpoint a customer has with your product, and can be a valuable source of insight into what drives satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a product. By talking to sales reps regularly you can learn about common pain points and challenges that customers are having as well as their overall experience interacting with the product.
Customer success managers can inform product strategy by sharing customer feedback about what features and functionality they need and value, and what aspects of the product are causing them difficulty or frustration. They can also help identify opportunities for product enhancements or new features that would improve the customer experience and drive greater customer adoption and engagement.
There are a few things that customer success managers can do in order to help account expansion. They can help identify new potential accounts and work with sales teams to target and pursue them. They can also work with current accounts to identify opportunities for growth, and help to develop a plan to expand the account. Additionally, customer success managers can track customer engagement and usage data in order to identify opportunities for up to-scale account expansion.
Jobs to be done
Jobs To Be Done (or JTBD) is a tool that can be used for product strategy by helping to understand what needs a product fulfills for the customer.
Jobs are not solutions to problems. A problem is a gap between the current state and the desired state where there are clear steps for how to resolve the issue. A job has no conditions, but instead describes what results should be accomplished. The reason using JTBD can help product strategy is that it helps determine why customers buy your product, or what they hope to achieve with your product.
This is a crucial distinction, as solving problems often involves creating a product that has features and benefits that overlap with other products on the market. When this happens, there's no competitive advantage as the new product may only be slightly different from its competitors. In contrast, jobs can help identify why customers buy a product and what they hope to accomplish with it. This can help differentiate your product from that of competitors, as you will be able to offer features and benefits that meet the specific needs of customers.
The "Why" Behind JTBD
Understanding why people would want to hire a given solution helps identify what makes a product truly unique. Understanding JTBD is about understanding the motives behind what people do. By gaining this knowledge, you'll be able to shape your product strategy into something that aligns with the underlying motivations of customers.
Building Strategy With JTBD
As stated earlier, knowing why people employ a product can help bring insight into the needs and wants of customers. This information can then be used as part of product strategy by helping to create features and benefits that meet customer's JTBDs. There are several steps in using jobs to inform product design:
- List consumer goals – People perform tasks differently depending on their goals at any given point in time. When creating personas it can be helpful to list each persona's primary goals and then list the tasks necessary to accomplish these goals.
- Analyze your product – Once you've mapped out how different personas perform their job-to-be-done, it's important to closely analyze your product and its features. Identify which products or features perform better than others and determine why this is the case. Look for patterns in usage that may indicate underlying motivations of customers.
- Create a set of design principles – When using JTBD in product strategy, it can be helpful to create a set of design principles based on what you've learned about customer motivations behind JTBDs . These principles should inform new feature development as they are based on customer needs that are already part of the product offering. This helps ensure that new features are in line with the original intent of the product and that users will be able to easily accomplish what they want.
As a quick reminder, JTBD is focused on helping to understand why customers purchase a particular product or use a given feature. This information can help support product strategy by providing insights into customer needs from which new features can be developed. By using this perspective, you'll gain deeper customer insight and differentiate your product from competitors.
CSAT and PMF Surveys
Two valuable customer surveys include Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Product-Market Fit (PMF) surveys. These surveys can be especially important for identifying opportunities to create new features or provide additional functionality that may improve the customer experience.
CSAT can be used to inform product strategy by understanding what features are important to customers and what needs to be improved. Additionally, CSAT can be used to track customer satisfaction over time to ensure that products are meeting customer expectations.
A PMF survey can help inform product strategy by providing insights into what potential or current customers find valuable in a product. This information can help inform decisions about what features to prioritize in future product iterations. Additionally, the survey can provide insights into customer satisfaction and potential areas for improvement.
- When metrics tell a different story than customers, the company should investigate the discrepancy.
- Product adoption and engagement are important because they can help you understand whether or not your product is meeting customer needs. Retention is key to growth, while engagement is key to profitability.
- Understanding JTBD is about understanding the motives behind what people do. By understanding why people would want to hire a given solution, you can identify what makes a product truly unique.
- Customer success managers can inform product strategy by sharing customer feedback about what features and functionality they need and value, and what aspects of the product are causing them difficulty or frustration. They can also help identify opportunities for product enhancements or new features that would improve the customer experience and drive greater customer adoption and engagement.