How One Product Leader Solved a Major Prioritization Tension: Customer Features vs. Product Analytics
Fast-growing startups and scaleups are often faced with a gut-wrenching choice. They need to decide between spending dev time on setting up a customer analytics stack that can increase engagement or dedicating engineering resources to build customer facing features. This is an especially difficult choice for teams that are still trying to find product market fit.
Vice president of product Stacie Velehradsky at Ruth Health knows all too well about this challenge.
“Prioritizing between building customer-facing features and setting up product analytics breaks my heart. Because I want to give our patients (users) a good experience”, says Stacie. “But in order to build new customer feature sets, we need to understand our data to know what to build. So we need both.”
As a result, fast-growing companies often turn towards a customer data platform (CDP) to collect and distribute customer data. CDPs help to an extent by providing event schemas that help engineers define events once and send that data to many different tools.
However, traditional CDPs still require engineers to write code and manually set up new events every time there is a product or site update, or a new thing to track. So, in effect, CDPs don’t fully alleviate the ongoing tension between prioritizing engineering resources to improve customer-facing features and setting up internal product analytics.
The Crux of This Tension Is Prioritizing Engineering Resources
At its core, this tension between product and engineering teams is a resource problem. Early stage startups have limited engineering cycles. Every Jira ticket submitted by product managers to support the CDP or code a new customer event to track takes away from potential work on a new customer-facing feature.
Also, as the product changes and gets enhanced, engineers will need to constantly make adjustments to the customer events the CDP tracks. Setting up traditional CDPs is not set it and forget it. It requires ongoing dev time to iterate.
Product Managers Feel Guilty Taking Engineers Away From Product Features and Engineers Hate It
It breaks the hearts of product leaders like Stacie to ask engineers to prioritize setting up customer events in a CDP instead of building customer facing features.
More importantly, deep down in their hearts, product managers know that these are the last tickets that an engineer wants to work on. “Engineering teams hate creating product analytics infrastructure. I’ve run into this problem at every company I’ve worked at,” says Stacie. “This stuff keeps getting pushed off, and it's the last thing that they want to work on. They really don’t like it.”
Use a Self-Serve CDP to Collect Customer Data and Send It to All Your Tools Without All The Dev Time
Unlike traditional CDPs that require constant engineering interventions, a self-serve CDP like Freshpaint offers a visual editor that helps any employee who doesn't write code configure events themselves. It also offers ready-made connectors that integrate with all the tools you need to use. “Freshpaint is so easy and intuitive. It literally was just a couple of button clicks to get it integrated,” says Stacie.
Freshpaint also helps you to automatically collect data for any customer events and backfill this data. So you have the option to send historical data to your product analytics or activation tools whenever you choose to track a new event. “The backfill feature is also incredible because it tracks everything. So even if I miss tracking a button click or a page view event, I don’t have to worry about it. This gives me peace of mind”, adds Stacie.
Get a Unified View of Your Customer Journey To Improve Engagement, Conversions, and Retention
Every product manager wants to improve customer engagement, conversions, and retention. Freshpaint creates a unified view of your customer journey data and helps you address important business issues like “where can we find and acquire our ideal users” or “how to improve our customer journey.”
Product managers can mine customer data and get evidence-backed answers to product questions such as “what are users doing on my top webpages” and “how many times are users coming back to use the product on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.”
Stacie uses Freshpaint to uncover actionable insights that help her improve engagement. “People engage more with our scheduling tools than they do with our resources,” she says. Stacie also points out, “I like to dive deeper; if someone is scheduling a lot with us (power users), I want to understand what else are they doing with our platform.”
Stacie also uses Freshpaint to better understand how website visitors convert. “I look at our whole onboarding process to understand where people are getting stuck,” says Stacie. She also tracks user actions to understand conversions. Specifically, she answers questions like, “are they going and buying something, or do they just land on the platform and leave?”
Fast-Growing Startups Are Looking for Ways to Reduce Dev Time
Fast-growing startups don’t have the engineering resources to create, maintain, and enhance product analytics infrastructure. More often than not, it is a CTO working with one or two engineers.
Freshpaint helps product VPs, managers, and marketers who don’t write code to collect and send customer data to over a hundred tools. As a result, small teams can punch above their weight and accomplish more. “We have a very small team, and we are trying to get a lot done,” says Stacie. “So I need to be able to do stuff on my own. There needs to be a lot more tools like this (Freshpaint) that don’t need an engineer to hook everything up.”
Ready to get started?
Using Freshpaint helps you get customer data faster, without the dev time. To get started, sign up for Freshpaint here.