In the 8-week boot camp project with GrowthX, after the four weeks of deep diving in modules, we had to apply the concepts and fundamentals we learned to real-time products. We got the opportunity to create a Growth Strategy for a product from Clear. (previously ClearTax). We were a group of 5 team members from varied backgrounds. Team members comprised a Founder, two PMs, a banker, and myself. We came from various backgrounds and specializations. We had to work together with a common goal to achieve a Growth roadmap for a potential tech product.
On a secondary note, we now had to learn, unlearn and implement the perceived values while working on the project. And a side note, we did have real fun during this period.
Framework, Structure, and Metrics:
GrowthX learnings gave us excellent frameworks and structures to follow, which helped us with our roadmaps to construct the growth strategy for the product. A unique understanding was the stages and metrics we can define at different product life cycle stages. The core idea is to focus on user journeys through penetration of business metrics along the Growth funnel.
It was time to apply our learnings from the last few weeks. I will try to add value with the unique pointers and the standard frameworks for Product life cycles.
Clear tax is a very well-established brand in India. They have several products for various purposes and audiences. The product focussed on helping the SME audience for invoicing.
Goal: The product had 100k users. Our goal was to create a plan to 10x the users in 12 months.
The product was already at stage 1. The product has a 70% Net Promoter Score(NPS). A fantastic definition for PMF, which I like, is “When people sell the product for you.”
Understand and Define:
User and Product Teams Insights:
We decided to reach out to Users, Product teams of our product, and some competitive products. We followed a structured questionnaire to help us have effective conversations and record our insights. This phase was one of the most crucial phases to get valuable pieces of information from different perspectives.
We structured our information right. Along with the expected data, the user insights helped us understand exciting features which the customers wish, giving us insights for all our phases. Here is a list of pointers we tried to collect from our users.
- How did they discover the product?
- Which features got them to move to use the product immediately.
- Which features would enable them to add additional value while using the product?
- How willing are they to refer and recommend the product?
The insights we collected formed the complete basis while working on our Growth roadmap.
We also got thirty minutes from the Product head from the Clear team. The company’s vision and plan notes enabled much better, more acceptable directions.
The User and Product team’s insights were a real eye-opener for the whole team. Here is a terrific read from Paul Graham speaking about why attention to users should be insanely important.
This module enabled us to provide a bird’ eye view of the project. We had worked on:
- To understand the core problems the product solves.
- We defined concise, precise, and real-time ICP’s. We kept them to three with broad perspectives. How the ICPs spent their time and money.
- Total Addressable Market (TAM) calculations were one of the most vital parts. We created a bottom-up approach to get more granularity for our target market.
- Define metrics about the expectations on the frequency of the product usage.
In this module, we had to define the key metrics and guesstimates for our Growth roadmap. Here is a small list.
- Define the North Star metric.
- The periodical goals.
- The overall Growth model.
Our goal was to 10x the users – acquisitions had been the highest priority module to work. Acquisitions took away a lot of time to work with intricacies. Along with the standard channels, it helps us improve to spot practical acquisition approaches and tactics. Listing a few breakdowns:
Organic and Content Strategy channels–
Cleartax has already one of the best organic traffic to various platforms and products. They are one of the first players to start Programmatic SEO in the country. We defined and designed our strategies to take advantage of their already built-in traffic and additional content plan to scale this channel. This channel was within our low effort – high return estimates.
Usually, these are pretty standard methods for most companies. We also planned and decided upon some new experiments with new channels and approaches.
Content loops are an uncanny method often missed or undervalued. We worked upon a few ideas:
- Educate the user basis on the use case of the product.
- Create valuable content for the users, which the users would distribute
- Content created by and distributed by us as well.
- The ideas while working during the content loop were unique and fun.
The power of referrals has worked numerous times for many products. Clear Tax brand the referrals loops were designed for several use cases to experiment.
We racked brains for a few ideas of acquiring users with Product integrations—a couple of ideas using Chrome Extension. A fun fact, there were distinct Product integration ideas we learned from our colleagues in other groups.
I should confess, working intensely in the Understand and Define modules helped us choose these platforms smartly. Along with the traditional media (Google, Linked In, Twitter), we learned some fascinating channels we could focus upon like Quora, B2B marketplaces, Youtube business leaders. The brainstorming sessions while working on the Acquisition modules were fruitful, along with intriguing working hours. We had clear goals to optimize CAC – LTV factors. Choosing the channels depended on Low Effort, Low Marginal CAC & High Flexibility. Choose a combination of the latest 2-3 factors for your acquisition channels.
A vital pattern to remember clearly is to experiment, record, analyze, and repeat.
This one was pretty smooth as compared to Acquisitions. While we tested the product for primary use. Here are some crucial points from the onboarding:
The product already had Aha moments. I experienced three places where the product added value. One specific moment when you add in a GSTIN number, the auto-population of data and next step to create an invoice directly was very smooth. We added a couple of ideas to improve upon and measure with experiments to convert the users into activated users.
Job to be Done(JTBD)–
We defined our JTBD very precisely to give us a clear understanding of the value the product solves. The goals were to clearly define and ease the user journey for the core functions of the JTBD. The main task was easy invoice generation. Some insights were collected in the user insights phase and implemented while working on this module.
We had a clear definition of defining the measurements of activation metrics for our product to give us a fair idea of whether the user is ready to start using the product.
Humans are with biases; our aha moments made me realize the importance of smooth transitioning for products. We gave detailed suggestions for improving the user experience and defining various metrics to capture the function and active users.
- We noted three recommendations in the flow to reduce confusion for users—one place to add more clarity. We noted down the experiments we could work on to test the flows out.
Engagement and Retention
This module had to play a vital role in the product. We had related sub-products with this product. We had to define our strategy to blend it well with the company’s other products.
Just give a brief idea, here are some categories we separated our users, with natural frequency for their segmentation on different factors like:
- Invoices per month.
- Usage of features like ledgers, payment reminders, and other add-on features.
- Age of the users on the product.
We defined campaigns to experiment with the various segment of users. We aimed to improve their engagements by adding value depending on the detail of the users. Here are a few ideas we noted:
- Setting up reminders for essential functions for users.
- Enabling easy actions for necessary core activities.
- Providing add-on features to make their core functions more attractive.
Churn and Resurrection–
We figured out the various reasons and metrics for user churn: defined frameworks to measure how users could get churned and methods to solve them. We worked upon simple resurrection campaigns to experiment with the churned users.
This module was a little more straightforward for us. This product was more of an Onboarding strategy for the other core products of the company. We did not spend much time analyzing. Not to forget, the ideas we learned in the course with the examples for this module were enlightening. To summarise for this module, we just planned to test waters for our most addicted users to check their willingness to pay for the product. We also listed down a few experiments we would be running to test out monetizing our product. Here are some ideas we noted:
- Experimenting with providing additional add-on services.
- Upsell-related products.
- An installment payment feature.
Growth Teams and Processes-
The whole process of spending those extra tedious hours/nights/days during this process was worth every. All of us were working full-time in jobs, but the willingness to not give up and support each other helped us work through the Capstone. It was enjoyable spending those precious time to get the Capstone completed. There was healthy competition for the Capstone projects amongst teams, and top teams showcased the work on demo days.