Aditi Gupta talks about influencing product roadmaps with experimentation

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Hi Aditi, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! How have you been?

I’m doing good, so glad summer is finally here, I plan to make the most of the Toronto patio season. Thanks for the invite! 

Let’s start off with a bit about yourself. Could you please share with our audience what is it that you do and a bit about your career journey up to this point? 

Sure thing! My career spans 3 countries, I spent the first half of my career in email & digital marketing and the second half in product growth & retention roles in eCommerce & SaaS. I have managed products in 10+ countries and launched multiple products. My background in digital marketing has really helped me become a better Growth PM as experimentation & optimization is not something new to me & is strongly rooted in how I operate and what I believe delivers value. 

I’m currently working as a Product Manager at a Toronto based B2B SaaS company in the sales performance management & RevOps space.

Can you share with us how Experimentation fits into the world of product growth – particularly in the early stages of a product?

Early on in the product development lifecycle I see experimentation as a critical component of finding a product-market fit faster! and also helps validate the product roadmap before investing heavily into a feature/product. 

How do you go about selecting product growth metrics to optimize? Can you give us any examples of what a good metric would look like?

Throughout my career as a Growth PM I have personally aligned product growth metrics to business metrics (short term & long term company goals & product goals) and that has always worked well for me. This has helped me get stakeholder buy-in & get the results from experimentation/CRO implemented! 

For example, just to put things in context –  in my past life I was working with a Fintech company, which was on a path to expand to new countries. All the marketing spend and dev budget was focused on new markets, the company’s focus was customer acquisition in the new market and retention in the mature markets.  Hence here my growth metrics was User Activation% and First transaction% for new markets, and frequency of use & dormancy reactivation for mature markets. 

Another example I can give is when I worked at a large travel ecommerce company whose monthly digital ad spend exceeded one million, there reducing bounce rate by 10% had a positive impact on conversion rate & it was a win for the digital marketing team. 

So I would say it really depends on where in the product vertical or business unit, the growth team sits and what impact it’s supposed to produce. 

One tip I would like to give here is – always start with a list of potential experiments or an experimentation roadmap and get buyin on product growth metrics early on from stakeholders and other products teams whom you support. This helps set expectations of what the growth team will deliver and serves as a heads up to other product teams to keep some dev slots marked for wins which come up from experimentation. 

How does, or rather, how should Experimentation inform and influence a product roadmap?

For me, a product roadmap is a series of bets placed on the future of a product and experimentation helps de-risk those bets by backing it up with evidence of the right fit/ right feature to build/optimize.  I strongly believe experimentation should have a very strong say and a permanent seat on the table when finalizing the product roadmap. 

In cases where an Experiment suggests a change in a product roadmap, how do you go about getting buy-in on that change?

(I’m smiling here), because I have faced such situations before, it all depends on your relationship with Product leads and Dev leads, it becomes easier if they are aware of which experiments you are running and you have kept them informed about the signals you are getting.  It is taken badly when a change is recommended out of the blue. My mantra here is setting that expectation from the beginning with product & dev leads and showing value to them from your experimentation.

Retention is a challenging thing to optimize for since you have to wait so long for this lagging metric to change. What’s your advice to Experimenters who are tasked in improving retention? 

Retention is my favorite subject, if I had one thing I would do, it would be retention! 

I would say retention’s best friend is product analytics, making sure you have the right analytics and tracking system in place is half the battle won. 

One important thing should always be kept in mind while managing retention, you should not wait for customers to churn or become dormant, you should analyse churn & inactivity signals by looking at your customers ideal behaviors and what triggers deviation from it. And set up an early warning system either based on frequency/wallet size/time spent etc (any important parameter which measures your customer’s interaction with your product). 

This will allow you to optimize those experiences and take preemptive measures to reduce churn/inactivity. 

Changing gears. As a part-time travel blogger who is always on the hunt for vegan recipes, do you have a favorite vegan recipe that you’d like to share with our audience?

Roasted cauliflower steak (yes it’s a thing, try it you wont regret it) with lemon & tahini which is a middle eastern sauce made of sesame seeds! 

Finally, it’s time for the Lightning Round! Are you a Bayesian or a Frequentist?

Bayesian, I obsess about analytics & numbers but I strongly depend on my gut. It has worked most of times (not always though)

If you couldn’t work in Experimentation, what would you do?

I would definitely be a UX designer! Experimentation is in my DNA. If not as a Growth PM, I would be doing design research and experimentation there. 

Describe Aditi in 5 words or less.

This quote by Grace Hooper sums be up – It’s Easier To Ask Forgiveness Than To Get Permission

How has inspired you the most in this field so far?

Web Bush, Anuj Adhija, Shiv Narayana, andRamli John, he just published his book “product led onboarding” and I can’t wait to read it. 

Who should Experiment Nation interview next?

Wes Bush. I’ve read his Book Product led growth and he really puts product growth is perspective and I’ve used some of his frameworks and gotten some good results from them.

Thanks so much for chatting with me today!

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