Is that title clickbaity enough for you? 😉
I gave a talk in 2020 by that title as an info session/pitch for why folks should take a 2-week intensive Product Management course I would be teaching. The online webinar was a mix of (1) “What is Product Management?”, (2) “What’s an interesting real-world case study highlighting the importance of product management?”, and (3) “Why should you take this course?”
The good news: the talk was really well received, and in watching now, it does a good job of encapsulating a case study that I lived through and am extremely proud of 😄
The bad news: I gave the talk on the day after the 2020 presidential election; the next few months would be some of the wildest times we’ve lived through, and the online school I was planning to teach with (Alpha Fellowship) went under before the course could begin 😟
I stumbled upon the video recently and am sharing it in case others find it useful:
And here’s the deck:
And here’s a rough outline:
What is product management?
- It’s complicated. I wrote more about this in my post about bridges.
- My pithy advice is: “Think like a storyteller. Act like a scientist”. See more in my post about gnomes.
What was the use case?
- Relay Foods' value proposition was “What if you had the convenience of Amazon with the vibe of Whole Foods?”…until Amazon bought Whole Foods.
- Relay was a well-loved brand with a retention problem – despite people needing groceries every week.
- We had a hypothesis that our customers' problem was more holistic than just “I'd like to do grocery shopping online”
- We pitched and iteratively rolled out an innovative meal-planning feature. Read more in my post that does a deep dive into the meal-planning feature.
What went well?
- We did product management the “right way” – talked to customers early and often, iterated like crazy, and worked in a cross-departmental way.
- We saw a 2X increase in customer LTV (lifetime value) 🤩
- Existing customers who began using meal planning started ordering with us 20% more often than before
- New customers had 49% higher basket sizes and 42% higher retention when leveraging meal planning on their first order (vs. those that didn't)
- A large number of lapsed customers came back, and 34% were still active after 8 weeks.
What didn’t go so great?
- We didn’t define and align on “what does success look like?” up-front and/or set up good analytics instrumentation, and thus, it took us a long time to collect data, analyze it rigorously, and realize how big the impact actually was.
- We had already committed to building other things after this capability launched, and we didn’t double down on the initial successes we were seeing.
- We were very preoccupied with fundraising, ultimately resulting in an acquisition that changed the course of the product.
What are some tips for aspiring product managers?
- Tell your own unique story and do the work to map it to what a given hiring manager is looking for.
- Show customer empathy by framing work you’ve done around value generated for the people involved (even if you haven’t done so as a product manager).
- Find small ways to practice PMing — in your existing work, on side projects, or just by reading / writing.
This video highlights one of the most fulfilling product launches I’ve been a part of, I’m proud of what our team accomplished, and I hope you find some of the above useful!