Decoding B2B vs. Consumer Product Managers

Welcome to our Product Newsletter, a biweekly email highlighting top discussions, and learning resources for product managers.

What We Will Cover In This Edition:-

Top Discussions: 

1) What distinguishes B2B product managers from consumer product managers?

2) What methodologies do consumer PMs use to measure the success of new features?

3) Successfully using data-driven decision-making processes to increase the number of active users

Top Learning Resources:

1. SaaS Metrics 2.0 – A Guide to Measuring and Improving what Matters

2. What is a business model?

3. Web API versioning

4. SQL for Beginners

5. What is DevOps?

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Top Discussions

Question 1What distinguishes B2B product managers from consumer product managers?

I keep hearing that consumer PMs are essentially “front-end” or UX-focused PMs. That essentially means that non-technical PMs are working on marketing strategy more than technical PMs, isn’t that right?

I’m perplexed because the majority of Google’s PMs are regarded as technical PMs. Do consumer PMs concentrate on technical duties like learning about cloud computing, DevOps, Istio, Kubernetes, etc.?

Does the product manager for Tinder or Instagram Stories give a damn about B2B duties like integrating with salespeople, working with cloud computing, etc.?

– Marty Ross

Discussion

A] I have been both, and following is a broad summary:

  1. Complexity and speed: Due to the lengthy sales cycle and general increased “complexity,” B2B transactions typically move more slowly. I discovered that I had to collaborate much more with many departments, including customer success, sales, operations, legal, and implementation teams. A proof of concept may take months to complete, after which it must be shown to the customer and further iterated. In contrast, A/B testing new features in customer PM may be done in a matter of hours, with feedback on which feature is most popular. In B2B transactions, the buyer is frequently not the real end user; hence, you may have many user personas. Furthermore, as you are frequently not the end user, the product is less intuitive to understand, so you will need to rely more on the sales and customer success teams for user insight.
  2. Data and metrics: varying metrics: Consumer PM has a greater psychological component, such as growth and user retention. When developing a mobile app, you’re usually dealing with millions of users; thus, additional data analysis and user psychology are required. In B2B, you usually consider ways to give the client a higher return on investment; hence, consider saving the company X dollars. In contrast to B2C, B2B can occasionally feel like you’re a waiter receiving orders from clients because they’re paying you, so it doesn’t feel as innovative and creative.

They seem to have their pros and cons.
Your observation regarding “technical” refers, in my opinion, to the nature of PM at Google or Facebook. In a different way, I discovered that my B2B experience was equally as technical as my previous consumer PM experience.

– Jane Winfred

B] While it is true that consumer product managers often prioritize user experience and marketing strategy, the distinction between B2B and consumer product managers goes beyond that. B2B product managers typically focus on understanding complex business needs, building relationships with key stakeholders, and developing solutions tailored to specific industries or verticals. They often work closely with sales teams to ensure their products align with the needs of enterprise customers.

Technical expertise may be important for both B2B and consumer PMs, but the emphasis on different aspects varies. B2B product managers often require a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of their products, as they may need to customize solutions for different business environments.

On the other hand, consumer product managers may prioritize user interface design and usability as they aim to create products that appeal to a wide range of individual consumers. Additionally, B2B product managers may need to navigate complex procurement processes and negotiate contracts, while consumer product managers may focus more on market research and consumer trends.

Ultimately, while both roles involve product management, the specific priorities and skill sets can differ significantly.

– Michael Plowman

C] B2B product managers are primarily focused on understanding the needs and requirements of businesses, as their products are designed to cater to other companies. They often work closely with sales teams and gather feedback from corporate clients to ensure their products align with specific business goals. On the other hand, consumer product managers concentrate on understanding the preferences and behaviors of individual consumers, as their products are targeted towards the general public. This involves conducting market research, analyzing consumer trends, and creating strategies to attract and retain customers in a competitive marketplace.

Consumer product managers may also collaborate with marketing teams to develop effective advertising campaigns and promotional strategies that resonate with the target audience. Additionally, they are responsible for monitoring consumer feedback and making necessary product improvements or adjustments based on customer satisfaction and demand. Eventually, their primary focus is on meeting the needs and desires of individual consumers while maximizing sales and profitability for the company.

– Karan Trivedi

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Question 2) What methodologies do consumer PMs use to measure the success of new features?

As a consumer product manager, I often rely on various methodologies to measure the success of solutions or new features. It can be quite challenging to initially identify and define problems accurately. Therefore, I employ techniques like user research, data analysis, and feedback surveys to gather insights into customer needs and expectations. By closely monitoring key metrics such as user engagement, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction, I can assess the effectiveness of our solutions and ensure they are addressing the right problems.

What methodologies do you, as consumer product managers, use to measure the success of solutions or new features, considering the challenges in identifying and defining problems initially?

– Tina Greist

Discussion

A] Consumer product managers use a variety of methodologies to measure the success of solutions or new features, including:

  • Usage metrics: These metrics track how often users interact with a solution or feature, such as the number of times a button is clicked or a page is viewed.
  • Retention metrics: These metrics track how long users continue to use a solution or feature, such as the number of days or weeks that users remain active.
  • Satisfaction metrics: These metrics track how satisfied users are with a solution or feature, such as the results of surveys or polls.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): This metric measures the likelihood of a user recommending a solution or feature to others, on a scale of 0 to 10.

These methodologies can help consumer product managers to identify and define problems initially, by providing insights into how users are interacting with their products. For example, if a product manager sees that users are not clicking on a button, they may need to revisit the problem statement and identify a different way to solve the problem.

It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to measuring the success of solutions or new features. The methodologies that are most effective will vary depending on the specific product, the target audience, and the business goals. Consumer product managers should experiment with different methodologies to find the ones that work best for their particular situation.

– Vlad Podpoly

B] Excellent response by @vladpodpoly. I would like to emphasize on the Usage metrics which can prove to be very crucial for a Consumer PM when it comes to measuring the success of their solution or a new feature.

Usage metrics are a type of behavioral metric that track how often users interact with a solution or feature. They can be used to measure the success of a new feature, track user engagement over time, or identify areas where users are struggling.
There are many different types of usage metrics, including:

  • Clicks: The number of times a user clicks on a button or link.
  • Views: The number of times a user views a page or screen.
  • Time spent: The amount of time a user spends on a page or in a solution.
  • Conversions: The number of users who complete a desired action, such as signing up for a service or making a purchase.

Usage metrics can be collected using a variety of tools, such as web analytics software or application performance monitoring (APM) tools. Once collected, usage metrics can be analyzed to identify trends and patterns in user behavior. This information can then be used to improve the user experience, develop new features, or make other decisions about the solution.

Usage metrics are an important part of any user experience measurement plan. They can provide valuable insights into how users are interacting with a solution and can help to identify areas where improvements can be made.

– Whitney Chard

C] Consumer product managers use a variety of methodologies to measure the success of solutions or new features, taking into account the challenges in identifying and defining problems initially. One common approach is conducting A/B testing, where different versions of a feature are tested with a subset of users to determine which one performs better.

Additionally, they may analyze user feedback and conduct usability testing to gather qualitative insights on how well the solution addresses customer needs. These methodologies help product managers make data-driven decisions and continuously iterate on their solutions to ensure that they are meeting the needs of their users.

Another methodology that can be utilized is cohort analysis, which involves grouping users based on specific characteristics or behaviors to track their usage patterns and measure the impact of a solution over time. This allows product managers to identify any trends or patterns that may affect the success of their solutions and make the necessary adjustments.

Eventually, these methodologies enable product managers to gather objective data and feedback to make informed decisions and improve their solutions in an iterative manner.

– Maria Wilson

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Question 3) Successfully using data-driven decision-making processes to increase the number of active users

How can consumer PMs effectively utilize data-driven decision-making processes to iterate and improve consumer-facing products in order to keep users engaged and connected on the platform? Additionally, how can they analyze metrics such as ad revenue, subscriptions, and partnerships to ensure the platform’s financial health and growth potential? By monitoring these metrics, YouTube can gain insights into user satisfaction, identify areas for improvement, and optimize revenue streams to ensure its success as the leading video-sharing platform.
Your views and insights please.

Thanks in advance

– Jane Winfred

Discussion

A] Consumer product managers effectively utilize data-driven decision-making processes to iterate and improve consumer-facing products by first identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the product’s goals and objectives. They then collect and analyze relevant data, such as user feedback, usage patterns, and market trends, to gain insights into consumer preferences and behavior. With this information, product managers can identify areas for improvement, prioritize feature enhancements or bug fixes, and make data-backed decisions on product iterations. Regularly monitoring and evaluating the performance of the product against the identified KPIs is crucial to ensuring its continuous improvement.

Product managers should track the KPIs over time and compare them to industry benchmarks or internal goals to assess the product’s success. This ongoing monitoring and evaluation process allows product managers to stay responsive to evolving consumer needs and make data-driven adjustments to their strategies. By continuously analyzing data and using it to inform their decision-making, product managers have the opportunity to create consumer-facing products that are more aligned with customer expectations and preferences.

– Kane Morgan

B] User engagement can be measured through metrics such as time spent on site, the number of videos watched per session, or interactions with features such as comments, likes, and shares. These metrics provide insights into how actively users are interacting with the platform and can indicate the level of satisfaction and enjoyment they derive from the content.

– Fergus Xavier

C] Retention rate can be measured by tracking the percentage of users who continue to use the platform over a specific period, such as a week, month, or year. This metric helps evaluate the platform’s ability to keep users engaged and connected. A high retention rate indicates that users find value in the platform and are motivated to continue using it.

Revenue generation can be measured through various sources, such as ad revenue, subscriptions, and partnerships. Ad revenue can be tracked through metrics like ad impressions, click-through rates, and ad revenue per user. The quantity of paying subscribers and the revenue coming in from subscription fees are two ways to measure subscriptions. Partnerships can be evaluated based on the number of brand collaborations or sponsored content deals as well as the revenue generated from these partnerships.

– Quinn Gomez

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Top Learning Resources

This article is a comprehensive and detailed look at the key metrics that are needed to understand and optimize a SaaS business. SaaS, and other recurring revenue businesses are different because the revenue for the service comes over an extended period of time (the customer lifetime). If a customer is happy with the service, they will stick around for a long time, and the profit that can be made from that customer will increase considerably. On the other hand if a customer is unhappy, they will churn quickly, and the business will likely lose money on the investment that they made to acquire that customer.

What is a business model?

A business model is nothing other than a representation of how an organization makes (or intends to make) money. In several industries new business models are threatening or even replacing established companies and conventional ways of doing business. Just have a look at the music or airline industry. The business model topic is very popular among business people today because in various industries we can see a proliferation of new and innovative business models (i.e. new ways of making money).

Web API versioning

Versioning allows developers to write code against specific states of software, which is incredibly valuable. In this article, the author explores the issues developers must understand in order to manage API changes using versioning, specifically when it comes to web APIs. The author also digs into what it means to make backward-compatible changes to provide the greatest benefit to API users without requiring significant work on their end. (It’s not as simple as it might seem!) He looks at why backward compatibility is dependent on how and where the API is used, as well. Finally, he explores a few potential versioning strategies for web APIs, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. Don’t miss the article.

This guide provides a comprehensive introduction to SQL, covering technical topics and practical tips for non-data scientists. It covers the basics of a SQL query, database schemas, basic SQL queries, writing SQL, query performance, advanced features like window functions and nesting, and practical tips for improving and being a good teammate. It also mentions that SQL queries can write data to a database, but this post focuses on reading data, which is typically the primary goal for engineers and database admins. The guide is available for further learning and reference.

What is DevOps?

To understand why DevOps as a concept has gotten really popular recently, you need to understand software delivery and how that’s changed over time. DevOps is a process that helps teams build and maintain software at scale. It involves distributing and ensuring the software works for customers. The mass adoption of cloud has made running software harder. DevOps focuses on four main aspects: pre-release building, CI/CD, infrastructure, and monitoring. It is essential to understand the workflow of public companies like JFrog and Datadog, as they operate within the DevOps workflow.

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