June 15, 2020

The Power of Product + Marketing

The holy grail of marketing is sending the right message to the right user at the right time. Did you know that average time spent on mobile and desktop devices has increased every year over the past decade? This year, it reached a whopping seven hours per day on average.

The sheer amount of time people spend on digital devices has pushed marketing teams to adapt and begin delivering campaigns through mediums that contain functionality beyond traditional print and advertising mediums.

A lesson from the “hackvertisers”

“Hackvertising” involves closely watching conversations trending on social media to find opportunities to drive growth.

Burger King and DAVID The Agency have pioneered this strategy and are routinely supporting the continued growth of the Burger King mobile app with a progressive set of martech tools that power their marketing campaigns.

Positioning your brand’s mobile app as a centerpiece to in-flight marketing campaigns is essential for maximizing application conversion, engagement, and retention metrics.

BK marketing

A piece of marketing content that loops users into your brand’s native mobile experience will inevitably boost your chances of converting and retaining that customer for the long term.

The Burger King marketing and product teams work so closely with each other at this point, they are virtually indistinguishable.

Growth unchained

Through their use of leading martech tools and the close collaboration of their product and marketing teams, Burger King has been able to achieve some of the highest growth rates ever seen in any industry.

The latest Burger King campaigns have been so interesting, purposeful and targeted, they have literally made the world want to buy more Whoppers.

Does becoming the most downloaded app in the app store, generating over a billion impressions off a single ad campaign and generating a 54% increase in in-app sales sound like something your team would like to say in your next quarterly review with leadership?

Our suggestion: take a long, hard look at how your brand’s product and marketing teams are, or aren’t, working together. This could potentially be the gap that’s causing your brand to fall short on digital ambitions.

Go watch the recent campaign Burger King launched in  Brazil earlier last year in conjunction with DAVID The Agency if you still aren’t convinced – Burn That Ad. The innovation is jaw-dropping.

The message is the app and the app is the message

Advancements in martech over the last decade have created tools that put marketing and product teams on the same playing field.

One example: marketing teams are now able to deliver targeted emails that have embedded functionality in them that feels more like a web or mobile app than a standard email. This is something marketing teams need their product teams to build and support.

In addition, product teams are building messaging inboxes into their mobile apps for marketing teams to distribute content within. This has resulted in product and marketing teams being pushed closer and closer together as they increasingly need each other’s capabilities to achieve success and deliver on customer expectations.

With the amount of time consumers are spending on mobile devices and the number of brands competing for their attention increasing, it takes more for brands to stand out. Simply having an app and delivering messages through digital channels isn’t how brands are delivering maximum impact to consumers.

Look at the email campaigns that Pinterest is able to deliver using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

These emails are interactive and feel more like a web page or mobile app enabling Pinners to perform various actions directly in the email. This is a great example of a brand that is taking messaging to a new level with greater functionality to improve the experience and increase user engagement.

The power of these two teams is magnified once channeled together to boost conversions, engagement and retention. Failing to do so could be the difference between your brand becoming Facebook or MySpace.

This article was originally published on ClickZ.com

May 15, 2020

Driving Sustainable Product Growth: What Gets Mis-Measured Gets Mis-Managed.

It’s common that I find myself in a room asking a team who supports a web or mobile application, “How do you measure the success or failure of your digital product?” More often than not, I end up with a list of twenty or so “metrics” the collective group has either been tasked with driving or have learned from an article online. It’s incredible how much content there is on this subject.

What most of the teams don’t realize when I first ask this question is that I’m looking for the single most important metric that aligns to your business’ success and customer motivations. One. Not twenty.

Brand obsession with measurement and quantification

This idea reminded me of a concept I learned from Rory Sutherland’s foreword remarks in The Behavior Business by Richard Chataway. Rory states that he believes our obsession with measurement has been accelerated by the invention of the spreadsheet. It’s amazing to think that the first version of Excel was released for Mac in 1985 and for Windows in 1987.

The following 40 years gave rise to all things analytics including a specific category called “product intelligence.” These tools allow both product and marketing teams to collect customer event and property data to understand what makes them tick and how to improve their experience. However, just because you have the ability to track a list of twenty metrics that you are told to pay attention to by various articles, doesn’t mean it will help you make the right improvements to drive sustainable product growth.

Don’t focus on improving the wrong things

Brands will struggle to drive an increase in conversions, engagement and retention if they focus on improving the wrong things. Some companies lack the proper “north star” needed to guide them to the promised land their leadership team has committed to reaching.

I can relate to this lack of understanding. I too used to give people puzzled looks when they asked me about “the product north star”. The product north star is a bit like one of those pictures you have to stare at for five minutes before you see it. However, once you see it, you will never look at it the same way again and it will become your best friend.

Not only does it give you the focus needed to build a great product, but you also have a way to handle all those “great” ideas that everyone sends by email after your digital product starts to make waves. Reply to them with your product north star framework and ask if it aligns to your customer’s motivations and business objectives. Further, ask them to justify with numbers why their idea should be prioritized over all the others in your backlog.

Now you are coming from a position of strength. Put the conversation back in their ballcourt rather than yours. It’s a lot less work. I promise you.

Readdressing the balance

As Sutherland mentions, “The prospect of rational, objective and quantifiable metrics only makes sense if they are closely aligned with what your customers care about.” Case in point, when LinkedIn launched their endorsement tool back in 2012. Data scientists at LinkedIn have shared how their focus on improving metrics tied to the endorsements feature did not result in a better product experience. Their metric definition was simply the total number of endorsements, which didn’t improve their business because it wasn’t aligned to what LinkedIn users cared about, which was “who” made the endorsement.

The product team was busy trying to improve the product to help users drive the highest number of total endorsements, instead of adjusting the product to better showcase key endorsements, such as past managers or industry thought leaders.

The team eventually created a new endorsement display on each user’s profile that highlights their meaningful endorsements. Each highlight can be clicked for further details about the endorsers.

Figure 2: In-App Survey

Figure #1: New endorsement display on the profile highlights the meaningful endorsements. Each high- light can be clicked for details about the endorsers

Figure 3: Survey responses over time (% of total responses, reported as percentage point difference relative to May 2016). The first product changes were introduced starting June 2016. Since then, 5- star responses increased by nearly 5pp, while 1-star responses by nearly 1pp.

The team is now focused on helping users drive the highest number of meaningful endorsements, which is in complete alignment with their users’ motivations.

In summary, the true key to driving sustainable product growth lies in your brands ability to define and focus on the right north star metric that is aligned to both customer motivations and business expectations.

This article was published on Medium.com

April 28, 2020

The State of Product Analytics 2020

Although COVID-19 is leaving us with more questions than answers, one thing is for certain: product investments of all shapes and sizes are being­ scrutinized more than ever. And, like it or not, this trend is not going anywhere soon.

Providing data backed POVs on what is resonating with customers and how it impacts the business is now a non-negotiable. This imperative is accelerating the already rapid growth we’re seeing in the adoption of self-service product analytics platforms. Gone are the days where a data request takes a week to turn around. Now, more than ever, individuals across the organization need to be fully empowered to access, understand, and action on data in real-time.

"Even before this pandemic swept the country, we at Bottle Rocket were observing a significant uptick in brands coming to the table with more focus, more passion, and more humility around leveling up their data and analytics strategy."

In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has turbo-boosted this mindset. It is no longer acceptable for brands to not have a reliable source to go to for quick-turn product insights. Platforms like Mixpanel, a leader in the product analytics space, give brands the access and confidence they need to ensure they are continuously making the right product decisions.

Regardless of where your organization is on the journey to having a meaningful product analytics strategy, there are four key principals to consider to help increase the likelihood of success.


  1. Organizations must first shift their mindset before investing in a toolset. Articulating the value of embracing data at the organization and cultural level is one of the hardest, yet most impactful, levers a product team can pull. It requires persistence, patience, and the right amount of pressure. Once you encourage teams to #LoveTheData, operationalizing this mindset is the next complex challenge to tackle.

  2. Stories move people to action, data does not. Finding compelling insights from the data is critical; however, weaving these insights into a persuasive story is equally–if not more–important. Zoom in to mine and tie data points together but remind yourself to regularly step back to organize your findings into a cohesive and strategic story. Oh, and please be a gracious host to your audience: do the thinking for them.

  3. Regardless of title, strive to be a “data champion.” Data champions not only find creative ways to habitually share insights across the organization, but they find ways to empower others to discover insights on their own. Democratizing data and enabling others to understand user behavior is a surefire way to move faster and smarter. Leveraging data is a team sport–the more perspective, the better. It’s the product managers’ role to step up and be the team captain.

  4. Product analytics tells us the what, while qualitative research tells us the why and brings to light the questions we should be finding answers to. They must work together harmoniously to make real impact. Finding lean and scalable ways to get “closer to the why” is just as important as standing up and supporting a reliable analytics platform. Understanding both the what and the why will increase the odds of getting closer to the truth.

What’s interesting is that regardless of where an organization sits on the data sophistication spectrum, everyone is looking to level up their skillset, toolset, and–most importantly–their mindset. We are seeing more and more “data champions” within our clients’ business. These are the individuals who are not only finding creative ways to share insights across the organization, but are finding meaningful way to empower others to discover insights on their own.

Having a pulse on user behavior has never been more important that it is now. An objective view on how users navigate your products and how that activity contributes to desired business outcomes is your lifeline to future investments.


Alex Cohen is Client Partner, Director of Strategy and Transformation at Bottle Rocket, a Dallas-based digital experience consultancy. He has spent the last several years of his career leading product teams in the ever-evolving world of mobile technology. While at Bottle Rocket, Alex advises clients on focusing on the highest value opportunities and addressing the right gaps across the product spectrum. When Alex isn’t helping teams ship product, he is pretending to know how to landscape and garden.‪ 

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