Lean Into AI To Advance Product Innovation—But Do So With Caution

While generative AI is taking the business world by storm, it’s important to note that it’s not necessarily new. Many of today's promises for AI were also made in the past. It was less than 40 years ago that LISP machines, packed with expert knowledge, were supposed to unlock the promises of AI. What went wrong? ''People believed their own hype,'' said S. Jerrold Kaplan, cofounder of one leading artificial intelligence company, TeKnowledge. So as generative AI occupies massive mind space for most innovative companies, the question they must ask is, “Are we doing this the right way?”
Unfortunately, many aren’t. In fact, there’s a bit of an Ouroboros vibe—the ancient symbol of a snake eating its tail. As companies rush to use AI, they’re making mistakes that could cost money and put the organization in jeopardy.
With that in mind, let’s explore how companies can use companies AI to forward innovation while protecting themselves.
Tap into AI for product ideation and brainstorming.
Product people must always find the next big thing or improve upon the last big thing. Even the most creative teams may stare at a blank whiteboard and scratch their heads, trying to dream up compelling ideas.
Generative AI is great for ideation. For example, input your identified customer problems and use AI to think of potential solutions. Then take each of those solutions and ask how to solve them. To be clear, you’re not going to find transformative innovation in the answer, but AI can help guide your team toward new ideas that you can discuss.
And that’s the key—find novel ideas that align with your company’s overarching innovation goals. From there, use human smarts to build them out.
It’s essential to understand the problem they are attempting to solve. That requires listening and thinking—not just assembling data from various sources. Currently, humans are better at that.
Use AI’s product development capabilities.
Product development is built on key performance indicators (KPIs) that guide product people from ideation to launch. But what KPIs should you choose? This is a perfect job for AI, especially for companies that track diverse and complex metrics for products.
Use your knowledge of the industry you’re targeting and your organization's data and let AI guide you toward KPIs that will help keep product development moving forward and on time. Another bonus: Your AI research may uncover new KPIs you hadn’t thought of previously but may make more sense based on the product.
Incorporate AI into InnovationOps.
Companies are adopting an InnovationOps philosophy, which operationalizes innovation to build innovative philosophies into corporate DNA. The idea is to bring together an organization’s people, processes and innovative jobs to be done.
Keep AI human-based.
A common fear many have about generative AI is that it will take their jobs. Not exactly. It’ll be a human who understands how to use AI. Don’t underestimate people's importance in making AI a driving force in your innovation efforts.
Safeguard your IP and brand.
Don’t put anything into an AI tool you wouldn’t want to show up in someone else’s query or give hackers access to. While inputting every bit of information you can think of in an innovation project is tempting, you have to be careful. Oversharing proprietary information on a generative AI is a growing concern for companies.
Research and refine AI output.
Generative AI’s knowledge isn’t up to date. So your query results shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value. It probably won't know about recent competitive pivots, legislation or compliance updates. Use your expertise to research AI insight to make sure what you’re getting is accurate.
The promise of AI in innovation is huge, as it unlocks unprecedented efficiency and head-turning output. We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg as it relates to the promise the technology holds, so lean into it. But do so with governance—no one wants snake tail for dinner.

The original content of the note was published on Forbes.com. To read the full note visit here

Learn How To Drive Sustainable Revenue With Product-Led Growth

The pandemic caused unexpected growth for some companies due to changes in our behavior. Zoom, Slack, Shopify, Netflix, and Square were well-positioned for this growth because they focus on product-led growth, also known as PLG.
These companies were able to experience hypergrowth during the pandemic by delivering an exceptional product experience that meets customers' needs in a rapidly changing environment. By focusing on product-led growth, these companies were able to weather the challenges and emerge as leaders in their respective industries.
1.Ask the right questions to evaluate Product-Led Growth's success.
Here are some key questions that can help assess the success of a product-led growth strategy and where to focus when implementing one.
1.How well is our product meeting customer needs and solving their problems?
2.What is our customer acquisition cost, and how is it trending over time?
3.What percentage of our growth comes from product-led channels like word-of-mouth and organic search?
4.How effectively are we using data and analytics to drive product decisions and inform the go-to-market strategy?
5.What is our net promoter score, and how has it been trending over time?
6.How well are we retaining and growing our existing customer base?
7.What is the feedback from our customers on product features, and how can we improve?
8.How well do we integrate product, marketing, and sales efforts to drive growth?
9.How do we build cross-functional solid alignment across the organization to execute a product-led growth strategy?
10.What are the metrics to measure success and set the right expectations with key stakeholders?
Answering these questions can provide insights into the effectiveness of a product-led growth strategy.
2.Embrace innovation as a critical component of Product-Led Growth.
Innovation is a critical component of product-led growth. A PLG strategy requires continually delivering new and improved experiences to customers. Tweaking, testing, and measuring parts of the user experience helps us keep our users more engaged and drive growth, even as we enter a period of increasing consumer thriftiness. This requires a culture of innovation where new ideas are encouraged and rapidly tested—and failures are seen as opportunities to learn and improve.
A successful growth strategy requires product-led growth and innovation, regardless of external economic conditions. Companies must prioritize the customer by continuously delivering new and improved experiences through innovation to attract and retain customers. This approach can help drive customer engagement and achieve sustainable revenue growth.
3.Build a community that adds value to your customers.
While having an enthusiastic customer base is excellent, if you can turn that user base into a community capable of supporting one another and sharing knowledge, you have the potential for a home run.
With relatively little effort from your company, a community can add exponential value to your users. Establishing a community may be as simple as setting up a Facebook group for verified users to talk with each other, monitoring that, and engaging where appropriate. Tracking the amount of user-generated content and the number of members provides a window into your community's health.
Follow the data—this will help identify the features that are your selling points.
This can show you where to focus your R&D for future iterations. And with a product-led growth strategy, reinvestment in your product is the key to everything.
As businesses look for more cost-effective ways to grow, a product's value proposition that delivers a great customer experience becomes increasingly compelling—and customers are less likely to "churn." This creates new opportunities for companies that have embraced product-led growth and innovation to differentiate themselves from their competition and achieve sustained growth through whatever economic waters are flowing through the moment.

The original content of the note was published on Hackernoon.com. To read the full note visit here

How To Combine A Product-Led Growth Approach With Your SEO Strategy

In today's digital landscape, where the competition is fierce and user acquisition costs continue to rise, businesses need to find innovative ways to grow and stay ahead. I've found two powerful growth strategies that, when combined, have proven to be a game-changer for my software-as-a-service clients: product-led growth (PLG) and search engine optimization (SEO). Both have their merits individually, but when layered together, PLG and SEO can create an unstoppable force that drives compounding growth.
The Basics Of SEO And PLG
SEO is the practice of optimizing your website and online presence to rank higher in search engine results. It involves a variety of techniques and strategies, such as keyword research, on-page optimization, authoritative content creation and link building. The ultimate goal of SEO is to increase visibility and organic traffic and, in turn, improve user growth at a lower customer acquisition cost.
PLG is a business strategy that enables organizations to build products customers love and use as their primary growth lever. It emphasizes a customer-centric approach where users can experience the product before making a purchase.
The Intersection Of SEO And PLG
SEO and PLG are not mutually exclusive strategies; they work hand in hand to amplify results. SEO helps increase the visibility and discoverability of the product, while a well-designed product experience fosters positive user interactions. Let's take a closer look.
SEO plays a crucial role throughout the different stages of a PLG strategy. During the acquisition phase, SEO ensures your product is discoverable by the target audience. In the retention phase, SEO provides ongoing value by optimizing helpful content, support resources and personalized experiences. Lastly, in the monetization phase, SEO ensures your product is visible to users with high purchase intent, which can result in increased conversions and revenue.
PLG can be a powerful asset in your SEO arsenal because it helps businesses prioritize the user experience and implement growth-oriented product features. In doing so, businesses can create a compelling value proposition that attracts not only users but also search engines. Additionally, incorporating user-generated content and leveraging customer feedback can provide valuable SEO signals, further boosting the visibility and authority of your product in search engine rankings.

The original content of the note was published on Forbes.com. To read the full note visit here

Growth Marketing Strategies for Web3 Brands to Achieve Product Market Fit

Marc Andreessen defined Product-market fit as finding a good market with a product capable of satisfying that market. Marc is often credited with developing the PMF concept
In other words, it is the point at which a product satisfies a strong demand within its intended market, resulting in widespread customer adoption, engagement, and satisfaction.
Generally, PMF is characterized by many factors which could be Customer Demand, Usage and Adoption, Customer Satisfaction, Engagement and Retention, Competitive Advantage, etc.
Many startups often focus on reaching this stage before scaling their operations and investing heavily in marketing and expansion efforts.
If you remember the early days of Netflix, how they originally started as a DVD rental service but then achieved PMF when they transitioned into a streaming platform.
They identified a growing customer demand for convenient and on-demand access to a wide variety of movies and TV shows.
It’s not just Netflix as a startup that has hit PMF, other brands like Apple, Tesla, Lemlist, Nike, Airbnb, Slack, Meta (Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp), Paypal, Superhuman, Stripe, Supreme, and Linktree amongst many other hundreds of startups have also hit PMF.
Like Netflix, many of these brands identified customer demand to solve a problem and offered a solution (as a product), that has been iterated on over the years to become a superior product.
Many of these brands I mentioned went viral, people loved their products, and till now, their core customers are true stans; they have a strong brand connection.
This means that if Virality is always engineered from the get-go, so also, Brand Connection is engineered from the get-go too.
However, while this is Web3. It’s the same gameplay as Dan and Marc have explained, but now, the ethos is decentralised.
And this decentralised structure should normally encourage Web3 startups to facilitate brand-to-community relationships in their efforts to hit PMF.
Often they have failed to both facilitate such a relationship and also hit PMF.
I believe when we think of hitting PMF, we consistently look through the eyes of numbers and graphs.
When we have people who are our target audience, we can no longer observe marketing only from a quantitative standpoint, we should also observe from a qualitative standpoint.
When we do this, we’d begin to lean into the idea that Product Market Fit is Product People Fit or Product Customer Fit or Product Community Fit.
So you see, PMF is hinged on Brand Connection, which is a bowl of spice for multiple ingredients like:
.Superior product,
.Customer Research and Validation,
.Iterative Product Development,
.Progressive feedback from customers that align with the brand’s Mission,
.Lean Marketing and Growth Strategies,
.User Onboarding and Retention,
.Measuring and Analyzing,
.Leveraging Early Adopters, and
.Pivoting if Necessary

All of these ingredients — which are important topics and will require a strategy to execute — when mixed, should help strengthen the Brand connection; which is the focus of this article.
Ultimately, they ensure Web3 brands build product people care about, love to use and would gladly refer their friends to. Products people Care about tend to always hit PMF.

The original content of the note was published on Medium.com. To read the full note visit here

From product-led growth to product-led sales: Beyond the PLG hype

Ever since software-as-a-service (SaaS) innovators, including Atlassian and Slack, pioneered the product-led growth (PLG) model, the strategy has often been viewed as the “holy grail” for achieving efficient growth and above-average returns. Many tech companies, from other SaaS natives to established enterprise software providers to consumer product brands, have embraced this model. By giving customers control from the get-go, with the product at the center of customer acquisition, retention, and expansion, the theory goes, companies can scale their businesses with lower sales costs, greater product virality, and higher net retention.
However, succeeding with PLG is far from a simple proposition. Our research suggests that only a few companies that use it actually achieve outsize performance, and they do so by increasingly developing a hybrid motion known as product-led sales (PLS). This innovative approach combines elements of PLG with the more traditional enterprise model of sales-led growth (SLG), in which a salesperson sells the software in a long sales cycle, typically to a senior executive. Our research further shows that the companies that implement PLS most effectively can enjoy sizeable boosts in both revenue growth and valuation ratios.
What it means to be a product-led company
As the moniker suggests, being a product-led company means giving the product itself a critical role in acquiring, growing, and retaining customers.
All B2B software companies can adopt some aspects of this model in their go-to-market (GTM) motion by investing in the following elements:
.Digital as a demand-generation engine. A well-designed, engaging website with the following attributes is the primary driver of digital demand: interactive, use-case-based product demos; personalized landing pages with value propositions specific to different personas and roles; and simplified trial or live demo sign-ups.
.Seamless access to the product and TTV. Allowing customers to experience the product before they purchase it is an essential ingredient for product-led companies. Try-before-you-buy tools such as trials and “freemium” offers make the research and evaluation stage of the buying process come alive.
.Innovative sales techniques enhanced with product and usage analytics. Try-before-you-buy tools coupled with product analytics can help sales teams implement innovative data-driven strategies to increase conversions by understanding user behavior, segmenting users, and delivering personalized, product-led experiences accordingly.
.Cross-functional growth teams with an experimental mindset. Helping to fuel this seamless customer experience are company growth teams focused on constantly making incremental improvements in key conversion points to improve metrics such as user engagement, adoption, free-to-paid conversion, and TTV. These autonomous and empowered teams of about seven to nine individuals typically include a mix of product managers (PMs), data scientists, demand-generation specialists, content creators, designers, and marketing strategists.
Only a select few have mastered the product-led model
The common perception among software executives and investors is that product-led companies outperform their sales-led peers in revenue growth, operating efficiency, and market valuations. And while this is true in some cases, our recent analysis of 107 publicly listed B2B SaaS providers shows that most companies adopting product-led motions are not enjoying any boost.
A new hybrid approach combines the best of both worlds: product-led sales
The software sector had, for many years, generally believed that a clear distinction existed between the PLG and SLG target markets. Many industry participants and observers were convinced that the pure PLG approach worked best with small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) or particularly tech-savvy buyers, while SLG was the only way to build a scalable business serving enterprise customers.
Our experience and research strongly refute the notion of such a sharp dividing line in the two models’ applicability. Product-led motions exist on a broad spectrum, enabling most, if not all, B2B software companies to embrace this approach to one degree or another. The lines between PLG and SLG are already starting to blur; pure-play PLG companies are hiring sales teams to cater to large enterprises, while more traditional, SLG-driven companies are investing in product-led experiences to help their sales teams prove the value of the product and appeal to a new class of SMB customers.

The original content of the note was published on Mckinsey.com. To read the full note visit here