Since becoming popularized within the past few years, product-led growth (or PLG for short) has been popping up everywhere. I want to talk more about what it is, and more importantly, whether or not you and your product could stand to benefit from it.
What is product-led growth?
Product-led growth is a go-to-market strategy that has gained in popularity due to the fact that it can help product companies scale more quickly. It is a strategy that intends to scale your product company through your product. What this means, is instead of investing in people and process to grow your product business, you do so almost exclusively through investment in your product.
Should you be using a product-led growth strategy?
You should consider a product-led growth strategy only if you’re building a low touch product. A low touch product is one that lends itself very well to scaling through product marketing and development. Think calendly, the automated scheduling product. You either need it or you don’t. There isn’t much to figure out and that’s exactly why they are a great example of successful growth that was product-led.
A high-touch product on the other hand, would not benefit nearly as much from a product-led growth strategy. Think salesforce, the CRMverything. See what I did there. All jokes aside, salesforce does everything. This would make product-led growth a less effective strategy for them because they have lots of people and process involved in everything.
When is the best time to deploy PLG?
A PLG strategy is only going to give you the results you want if you’ve already achieved problem-solution fit. If your product is at problem-solution fit, then you know everything there is to know about your customers and their problems (for now). More technically, you’ve interviewed enough customers to know that you’ve got a great handle on all the categories that their problems fall into. Until you know this information, PLG won’t help you get you to where you want to be. That’s like throwing gas on a pile of leaves in a puddle.
The reason PLG won’t help until you’re at problem-solution fit is because this growth strategy is all about investing in product to scale and until you know very specifically what that product needs to be, further investment will only delay progress.