At ProductCamp DC 2011, a group of us had an interactive discussion on this topic. I love ProductCamps. They follow the Unconference format. I highly prefer these kind of interactive, learn-from-one-another discussions to death-by-Powerpoint.

I am going to bring my video camera and record it the next time. My notes don’t capture the most interesting part which were the specific examples discussed by different Product Managers out of their current or past experience.

Here are my notes from our conversation:

What questions are you trying to answer about customer engagement with your product or solution?

  • What is our customer acquisition funnel and why do people convert
  • What are the indicators that a customer is going to churn?
  • Who has deployed my solution, who has used it, and for whom is it shelfware?
  • Where having trouble, where, when?
  • Who is talking about my product?
  • Which features matter and which don’t?
  • Where do people spend time...and enjoy spending time... in the product?
  • How engaged with us is this customer --- across product use, support calls, twitter?
  • How does survey data about features correlate to actual use?
  • What is the theoretical behavioral segmentation and the actual?
  • How does use vary over time and with seasons?
  • What are users’ steps of engagement with us?

What techniques do you use to answer these questions?

  • Web analytics tools for the customer acquisition funnels
  • Google Analytics to understand search engine traffic, match keyword with customer intent.
  • Different landing pages for different keywords
  • Keep in touch with people through mail automation systems
  • Cluster analysis on which combination of pages led to conversion
  • 1 to 1 discussions
  • Asking questions, all the time, asking customers questions
  • Online discussion forums -- whether our own or general
  • Twitter
  • Surveys
  • Asking Net Promoter score after each purchase
  • Looking at customer support cases and feature requests
  • User group events

My thoughts and observations

  • Product Management is such a hard, interesting, strategic job. There is a mix of quantitive, qualitative, asking questions, learning, feel for the market, prioritization, and collaboration.
  • I continue to think there needs to be a closer link between UXD and PM and between Support and PM. I blogged about this before but the need for this came up directly and indirectly throughout our discussion and throughout the day.
  • Several participants were looking for something that would give them the same kind of insight into their solution that web analytics gives them into their customer acquisition funnel. I was excited to share with them about Apptegic.


Karl Wirth is the CEO/Founder of Apptegic