What is Product Led Growth Marketing? (+ 4 Tips To Maximize Your ROI)

Products can’t sell themselves, right? Well, what if we told you that they can

Full transparency: They don’t completely sell themselves. But companies like Slack, Dropbox, and Calendly created a steller version of their product into the right customers’ hands. They relied on a great user experience and word-of-mouth to fuel spectacular growth and result in a product that basically sells itself.

They didn’t use big-budget ad campaigns or aggressive sales teams; they created exceptional products, asked users for feedback, and kept improving their offer. This article will pull back the curtain on product-led growth marketing, covering what it is, its pros and cons, and show you examples of successful strategies. 

If you want to learn how to make your product your best salesperson and maximize ROI, keep reading!

What is Product-Led Growth Marketing?

Before we dive in, we need to cover some basics first. In this case, understanding product marketing and growth marketing before understanding how they can work together.

What is product marketing? 

Product marketing is a strategic function that focuses on promoting and positioning a specific product or service to your target market.

What is growth marketing? 

Growth marketing uses a data-driven marketing approach that focuses on rapid experimentation and optimization to achieve measurable and rapid results.

What is product-led growth marketing?

Now for the focus of today’s conversation, product-led growth (PLG) marketing. Like the first two options, PLG marketing is a strategic marketing approach that aims to create a seamless and valuable user experience and drive growth and customer satisfaction. However, what makes it unique from the other two approaches is that it leverages the product itself at the center of the marketing efforts.

Moving away from traditional marketing and sales-driven strategies can be beneficial because it puts the product and user experience at the forefront of the business strategy. This shift influences nearly every part of the business from marketing to development, customer success, and more, as they align their efforts towards driving product-led growth. 

Not quite ready to dive fully into the waters of product-led growth marketing? Consider working with an outsourced or hybrid growth team to take on much of the heavy lifting for you. At Lean Labs, We help SaaS & Tech brands to scale lead generation & profitable customer acquisition using smarter go-to-market strategies, growth websites, growth marketing, and CRO. 


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Diving Deeper Into Product-Led Growth Marketing

Product-led growth marketing focuses on two key elements: it recognizes the critical role of the product in driving business growth and encourages further growth through good UX and engagement. Both these key elements boil down to one thing: creating real value for users.

While features and navigation play a vital role, successful product-led growth marketing goes beyond them by recognizing that the effectiveness of your UX and features depends on your target audience. The better you understand your consumers’ needs and preferences, the better you can tailor your product to deliver solutions and experiences that resonate with them.

Remember the core of product-led growth marketing, creating value? You can’t accomplish this without data. Leveraging user data and analytics helps you gain insights into user behavior, usage patterns, and preferences to better cater to them and create maximum value. The more customers love your product and the experience they get while using it, the more likely they are to refer others. 

Pros and Cons of Product-Led Growth Marketing

Product-led growth marketing offers several advantages beyond the obvious ROI. Engaging users and prioritizing value helps you create advocates who actively promote your product. For example, you create a mobile app to help professionals optimize their time by sorting daily tasks. 

You might have to advertise the product or offer incentives to download it. But if the app is well-designed and actually helps your users, they’ll recommend it to their friends and coworkers. Then, suddenly, your downloads go wayyyyyy up. 

This “organic selling" between users increases credibility and trust, driving customer acquisition even higher while reducing marketing costs. In addition, when users use word-of-mouth marketing to refer the product to others, you save the time and resources that would otherwise be spent reaching them via traditional advertising methods.

However, the pros of product-led growth marketing don’t make it suitable for every product or business. Your target market, industry, and product complexity all play into this. Some products–especially those customized to specific systems or integrations–might require more personalized sales approaches or specialized support. These variables can make a solely product-led approach challenging.

Furthermore, using a product-led growth marketing strategy can put more pressure on your product or internal support team since your product is now your key growth asset. The more people use your products, the more problems and questions will arise around its operations and the more support you must be prepared to offer. 

So, despite product-led growth marketing’s benefits, you should be careful to evaluate whether or not you can effectively implement this strategy.

Maximize Your ROI with Product-Led Growth Marketing

You can’t just thrust your product into the spotlight and expect an instant return on investment (ROI). Product-led growth marketing takes intentionality and smart strategies to do well. 

But that doesn’t mean it needs to be complicated. Here are a few simple tips to help maximize your ROI with product-led growth marketing.

  • Keep users at the center: Focus on marketing your product in a way that directly addresses customer needs and ensures a smooth user experience.
  • Build a product that sells itself: Design a user-friendly product with intuitive interfaces and easy onboarding to deliver immediate value to users without adding complexity.
  • Measure success with the right metrics: Track activation rates, customer lifetime value, retention rates, and active user numbers (daily or monthly) to gauge the effectiveness of your strategy and what you can do better.
  • Understand your user’s behavior: Analyze the user journey, measure satisfaction, and monitor how often customers use your product to gain insights on making improvements.

3 Examples of Companies Rocking Product-Led Growth Marketing

1. Calendly

Calendly is an online scheduling software designed with user-friendliness in mind. It addresses the common issue of time-consuming scheduling by simplifying the process of letting users effortlessly share their availability. 

This model allows others to select convenient meeting times. Calendly also advertises a “freemium model,” making it easily accessible and easy to use, and giving potential customers the chance to see what the product has to offer them before they pull the trigger and make a purchase.

2. Slack

By creating a user-friendly interface and actively seeking user feedback, Slack embraces a product-led growth strategy by continuously refining its product based on user feedback. With a user-friendly interface and a strong focus on user needs, Slack is one of the poster children for success in a product-led approach to drive growth.

3. Dropbox

Initially, Dropbox tackled the file-sharing problem by offering an intuitive and user-friendly platform for users to share documents. The company initially pursued traditional paid advertising before shifting to a product-led approach. 

As a result, Dropbox achieved substantial user base growth by providing a high-quality product that users could freely explore and use without buying into.

Product-Led Growth Marketing: Is it the New Way?

So, is product-led growth marketing the new “it strategy” for your business? The answer is… it depends. Your specific product or service, marketing needs, and ability to support a product-led approach all play into this “yes” or “no.” 

While PLG marketing can be a powerful strategy that leverages the product to drive customer acquisition, satisfaction, and retention, it may only be suitable for some businesses.

At Lean Labs, we understand the importance of tailoring marketing strategies to your needs and goals. Product-led growth is undoubtedly one approach in our wheelhouse. However, we can also employ a range of other tactics and strategies to ensure you see the results your business needs and maximize your growth potential. Check out our Growth Playbook today to see how our methology can help you grow your business! 

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