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The Pillars Of Product Led Growth

The pillars of product management that we use are all user-focused, with an emphasis on usability and relevance

The Pillar Of Product Led Growth

When you work in product management, there’s a number of approaches you can take. One approach which has taken root in recent decades is that of product led growth, or PLG for short. It’s especially relevant to the software industry, as other approaches could take months or even years to see results.

Product led growth takes the stance that the user is ultimately in charge of what direction the product takes. In other words, you’re designing software to solve a specific problem or have a specific function, rather than simply to have certain features or uses. This means that the product management pillars are tied directly to the users of your software.

What Are Product Pillars?

Product pillars are a concept that is complex. These pillars are the key requirements of our product design here at Guidde, but they’re also key concepts that you can look back on at any stage of your design and lean on when you need to. They’re referred to as pillars because they’re the key foundations of your design - if you fail to meet any one of the criteria then your product will crumble.

What Are Guidde’s Six Pillars?

Guidde's Six Product Pillars

The pillars of product management that we use are all user-focused, with an emphasis on usability and relevance. Each asks you how you might tailor your products and organizational approaches to your customers’ needs, driving a cycle of continuous improvement.

Keep in mind that these aren’t linear steps, you can cycle back at any point if the need ever arises.

  1. Create

Creating content is easy. Creating content that is tailored to a specific purpose, that’s trickier. During and even before the creation process begins, you need to listen and review your customers’ needs and desires. Look to tackle the root cause of their problems, rather than finding temporary fixes. Above all, you need to have a vision of what you want to achieve during the creation process, as only then can you have a plan by which to achieve it.

  1. Organize/Plan

With a customer need identified, you need to plan how you’re going to achieve it. Using the vision you have of what you want to achieve, work backwards to create a step-by-step process that will grant you the end product. You need to know exactly what you want to do in each step, and most importantly why, if you’re going to get the desired outcome.

Product planning is one of the most important steps in the process of product development, so it’s worth making sure that you get it right. It’s also key that you cycle back to this step whenever new information becomes available that might alter your plans.

  1. Publish

When you’ve finished your product, you might think that that’s it. However, the work that goes on after your software is created is just as important as what goes into it. Alpha/Beta testing may be involved, launches might be scaled to a degree in order to prevent server overload, etc. 

A key facet of software is that it costs almost the same amount to deliver to one customer as it does to thousands - most of the cost is in the development stages. By ensuring that the way your product is launched makes it visible you will increase users, that’s true, but in product led growth it’s more important to make it trackable so that you can gain information about your users. You’ll often find PLG focused organizations launching free versions of their software before the premium version is complete, in order to gather information and make their end product the best they can upon launch.

  1. Discover

A key idea in product led growth is that of discovery. To put it in simple terms, you might find uses for your products or solutions that they can provide that you didn’t think of in the design stages. Instead of becoming perplexed at this apparent misuse, embrace it! Every potential use your software has is another avenue you can explore. 

This step can also kick-start the product creation process, with an unmet customer need being identified or an opportunity being created. Creating a culture of growth in your organization, where team members are encouraged to express their ideas and innovations is key to product led growth, as it requires constant reaction to the volatile markets in order to proceed.

  1. View

PLG emphasizes embracing new opportunities and using your product itself to drive business. In other words, the features that you provide and the word of mouth of your customers will give you more growth than any advertisement could. 

The latter is the key here - keep an eye on what your customers are saying about your products. It’s information that you can use for future improvement and can contain key insights into how users want your software to function.

  1. Analyze

Data is key to everything these days, with most software being used by far too many users to feasibly record and address individual feedback from all of them. By analyzing the data you have obtained you can identify the most common problems that your users face and place priority on them, meaning the issues that vex the most users are dealt with first. 

Data is dynamic, and the results it shows can change over time. Don’t forget to re-prioritize if the need arises, some issues become null and void as users find ways around them.

How Technology Helps Empower Product Led Growth

Guidde Empowers PLG

Technology is obviously necessary in the software industry, but it can be used in ways other than direct product creation. Each of the above steps can be assisted by technology in ways that both save you time and effort, and make the information you’re working with clearer. A few of these are:

  • Customer feedback analysis tools, including text mining and sentiment analysis.
  • Communication tools that allow for easy sharing of data and code.
  • Social media tools that monitor chatter about your product and extract reviews.
  • Data segmentation tools that split your data into more relevant categories.
  • Data sync tools that bring together data from different sources.
  • User behavior analysis tools, allowing you to monitor use of your software and identify problem points.
  • Digital adoption platforms, making use of your software simple and straightforward.
  • Live feedback communication tools, allowing anyone working on the project to instantly be aware any time there is an issue and share their insights on how it might be fixed.

These aren’t the end all, be all, but they are a good starting point for anyone looking to use product led growth. Remember, what you use will depend largely on the specifics of the software you’re building. Product led growth is all about specifics, all about creating unique and innovative solutions that will stick in your customers’ minds for years to come.