PODCAST #14. How to Excel in Strategic Planning for Effective Product Management: Tips from an Industry Expert

During this episode of our Careminds podcast, we discuss the complexities of product management and go-to-market strategies with our guest, Donna Cichani. Donna has a background in product management, A/B testing, and data analysis, and has worked with notable organizations such as Johns Hopkins Medicine, KPMG US, and JP Morgan. Currently, she is the lead product manager at Heal.

Our conversation with Donna covers topics like data analysis and strategic product planning, the differing mindsets between 0 to 1 and one to end product development, and methods to increase user engagement and product optimization. Drawing from her diverse experience in industries like healthcare, technology, banking, and finance, Donna shares her thoughts on the importance of strategic planning in product management.

Defining Success Criteria for Product Stages

When determining the success of a product, you consider both the user perspective and the business perspective. Using the example of an RPM solution called Pulse, designed for chronic disease management at Heal, we can explore the key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that matter most.

Firstly, there are patient-centric KPIs that focus on adoption and usage. Monitoring how often users engage with the solution to record their vitals and biometrics is crucial. The main goal is to encourage patients to stay proactive in managing their chronic conditions by using the solution more frequently.

User centricity is key, focusing on how you are improving life and the experience for the end user.

Secondly, clinical outcomes are also important. By tracking improvements in specific health measures, such as A1C levels for diabetic patients or maintaining healthy blood pressure ranges for hypertensive patients, we can gauge the effectiveness of the solution in promoting better health.

Also, business KPIs, such as attribution, play a significant role. For the RPM solution, it is important to know what percentage of patients using the solution are attributed to Heal for their primary care doctors.

Defining the best approach for optimizing a product depends on the specific product and its maturity curve. Take, for example, the RPM solution mentioned earlier. The primary goal of any RPM solution is to encourage users to engage with it consistently and measure their biometrics routinely.

At one point, the team behind the RPM solution considered expanding its features to include medication refill reminders, envisioning a more comprehensive ecosystem for patient monitoring. However, they quickly recognized the importance of perfecting their core RPM capabilities before adding secondary features. By maintaining focus on their core competency, they ensured they wouldn’t dilute the solution’s main purpose.

Optimization often involves considering the user experience, especially when it comes to healthcare solutions. In the case of the RPM solution, refining its core features contributed significantly to increased patient engagement. This example highlights the importance of prioritizing the optimization of a product’s primary functions before expanding its scope.

When to Focus on New Features or Enhancements in Product Development

You should invest heavily in user research as it’s crucial for driving customer adoption and engagement. During the discovery phase, our team spent considerable time observing patients in their natural environments, using existing products like glucometers, and capturing their day-to-day experiences. This research also included understanding how nurses, doctors, and other providers utilized data points during home visits.

By conducting ethnography studies, user research, and interviews, we were able to identify key pain points, which we then translated into enhancements and feature opportunities to drive engagement. To ensure customer adoption, it’s essential to focus on understanding users’ pain points, observe their interactions with your product or similar products, and avoid relying solely on secondary sources or high-level questions.

I don’t think that user research for usability testing ends during the discovery phase.

It’s important to note that user research and usability testing don’t end during the discovery phase. After creating our first prototype, we went through two additional rounds of usability testing to validate our assumptions, identify any flaws in our user flow, and refine the solution iteratively. This process continued up until the launch of the minimum viable product (MVP).

The ability of product managers to remain detached from their original plans, even after investing significant time and effort, is fascinating. When real data no longer supports the initial plan, it’s crucial to let it go, find a new direction, and create a better product that serves users more effectively. This adaptability is an essential aspect of successful product management.

Effective Optimization Techniques & The Best Ways to Apply Them

Optimization techniques focus on understanding existing processes, examining them through the lens of various stakeholders involved in the end-to-end flow, and identifying opportunities for efficiencies. For instance, by analyzing a process that takes 10 days and involves five stakeholders, you can uncover ways to reduce the number of stakeholders or the time each takes to complete their part.

Process mapping, a technique that visually represents the steps involved in a process, helps identify bottlenecks, redundancies, and areas for improvement. A/B testing is another valuable technique, where two different versions of a feature or product are tested with the target audience to determine which performs better.

In my experience, one of the keys to successful optimization is to involve the entire team in the process.

Involving the entire team, including product, engineering, design, sales, and marketing, leads to a more holistic view of challenges and opportunities, ultimately driving better optimization decisions. Keeping the end user in mind is crucial, as the goal is to enhance their experience.

It’s important to acknowledge that the rapid growth of product management as a career has led to a mix of undisputed go-to practices and those still being defined through trial and error. Sharing experiences and learning from others in the community can help navigate this evolving field and contribute to its development.

What Drives a Product Manager: The Exciting Facets of a PM’s Career

Effective management in product management involves three key aspects. First, tailor your approach to the needs of each individual on your team, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Second, invest in the long-term career growth of your team members, extending beyond the scope of your organization, by providing mentorship and opportunities for personal and professional development.

The third aspect involves being able to oversee the work of your team without micromanaging, while still being prepared to jump in and help when necessary. Balancing trust and autonomy with support is essential for successful management.

It’s an exciting time for all the PMs because we are focusing on doing good and building impactful products and services that can make people’s lives better.

In terms of current excitement in the field, AI and machine learning are opening many doors in product management. There’s a rewarding shift in focus in both healthcare and fintech industries. In fintech, increased emphasis on financial literacy and access to banking products for the unbanked population is driving positive change. Meanwhile, healthcare is moving towards value-based care, focusing on preventative measures and overall population health, which reduces costs and the burden on the healthcare system. This is an exciting time for product managers as they work on building impactful products and services that improve people’s lives.

Wrapping Up

As product managers continue to navigate this rapidly evolving field, learning from industry experts like Donna and sharing experiences within the community will be invaluable in driving growth and creating impactful products that make a difference in people’s lives. Key takeaways from our conversation include:

  • Defining success criteria for product stages: It’s crucial to consider both user and business perspectives when determining the success of a product.
  • Focusing on core competencies in optimization: Prioritize optimizing a product’s primary functions before expanding its scope or adding new features.
  • Conducting user research and embracing adaptability: Engage in user research, usability testing, and iterate on your product based on data and feedback, and remain open to change when necessary.
  • Effective management and exciting developments in the field: Tailor your approach to individual team members, invest in their long-term career growth, and maintain a balance between autonomy and support. Embrace the exciting opportunities in AI, machine learning, and the shifting focus of various industries.


PODCAST #13. The Psychology of Product Management: Unlocking Human Insights & OKRS






The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

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5 Key Mobile Marketing Metrics

Not so long ago, app developers were all about deciding the success of apps based on analytics. The statistics were assessed to determine just how good an app was doing in terms of user appeal and feedback. At one time, developers measured the app’s overall success based on its ratings and the download count (or sales). These were key mobile marketing metrics.

However, these days there are better ways to assess the overall success of any mobile application. These marketing metrics are something every developer needs to know about if they are to decide the success of an application.

Every measurement shared here consists of a formula or a way of getting information that you can use to draw insights about the app and how well it is doing. You can figure out how much revenue an app is generating per user, the costs per loyal user, and the costs per install and compare it with mobile application development costs

The latter figures will reveal how successful you’re marketing is and if users are finding your app useful or enjoyable. You can also find out how people are engaging with the app, the parts of the app that are most enticing, and if your application requires changes or improvements.

Mobile marketing metrics to track in 2017

1. Know Your ARPU

ARPU - mobile marketing metric

ARPU is an acronym for Average Revenue per User. The ARPU is broken down into a formula consisting of the amount of money the app generates within the framework of a set period over the number of active app users within the same timeframe.

Bear in mind that ARPU will be different for every mobile app category as well as for every revenue model. However, there are some comparisons that can be made that can prove useful in determining app success. ARPU by revenue model can help you take another look at the revenue brought in through advertising; fee-based downloads in-app purchases, freemium apps, and subscriptions for ease of comparison.

The ARPU can help you in finding out the average revenue the app is generating per user. The latter figure is important because you can use it in other metrics. First, in CPLU (Cost per Loyal User), you can compare the ARPU to the CPLU and if the latter is less than the former, you’re using your marketing methods correctly.

Essentially, it reveals you are generating more income than it costs to acquire the attention of the consumer. Next, in the Retention metric, the ARPU is part of finding out the lifetime value of those consumers you have as loyal users. Therefore, if you have an app that makes $0.50 a month and you retain a consumer for about 5 months on average, the lifetime value is $2.50.

2. Know Your CPLU & CPI

CPI - mobile marketing metric for applications
CPLU - mobile marketing metric for applications

CPI is an acronym for Cost per Install. CPLU is also an acronym standing for Cost per Loyal User. The CPI is a formula that equals the advertising dollars you spend divided by the number of new installations you get within a given advertising campaign. The CPLU however, is the number of advertising dollars you spend divided by the amount of new and loyal application uses you get from the ad campaign.

These two figures can be used along with your ARPU to find out the return on investment you are getting from all of your advertising and marketing. For your marketing to prove successful, your CPLU needs to be less than your ARPU.

3. How Are Your Users Engaging?

Engagement is not something you can figure out by a formula, and it requires an assessment of how your users are making use of the mobile app in question. In understanding a user’s behaviors, you can get an inside view of what is most appealing to your users and what features may be unnecessary.

Engagement is an umbrella term covering a variety of user actions including an assessment of app screens viewed per session, the conversion rates, interactions, opt-ins, opt-outs, and session intervals and lengths. Let’s look at each of these analytics a bit more in-depth.

Customer loyalty measures how often your users return to the app and use it. Your customer’s engagement is vital to the success of the app, as engaged users are being called the bread and butter of an application’s overall success. If you have users that are remaining engaged with the app, it means they like what the app has to offer and are therefore more likely to spread the good word about the app to others – word of mouth advertising goes a long way in the mobile app industry.

What’s more, you can track the usage of loyal users over a longer time to see if trends in application development crop up or if the users repeat actions that may offer insight into how you can improve the application or enhance user engagement.

4. Know Your Love Ratio

Love Ratio - metric for mobile apps

The love ratio is a mobile marketing metric that’s been in use for a while and a broad assessment of statistics reveal that the answer is yes, just over 57.70% of the time. The measurement gives you a good idea just how much your users are enjoying the app and if the numbers are low it suggests you’ll need to make some changes to the app to make it more loveable.

Bear in mind, this figure can also vary if a person is not giving an honest answer to the survey and is just clicking on whatever answer will dismiss the survey question quickly. Despite potential biased answers and incomplete assessment values due to lack of user response, the Love Ratio formula still reveals vital information to the app developer, especially over the course of version histories and time.

5. Monitoring Retention Rate

Retention rate as a key marketing metrci for applications

There’s a formula for determining your retention rate, which is a metric marking the number of users you have returning to your mobile app on a weekly basis. Aggregate retention is the number of actives you have during a month divided by the install amounts during the same period. To determine what the retention rate for a specified time is, you need to note the number of app users you’ve retained by the end of a specified time and divide it by the installs during that period.

Broad statistics suggest that as many as 40% of mobile UX apps continue to use the app following the first 30 after the installation, but this number dramatically declines to a little as 4% within the year following the date of install.

The retention rate will allow you to define, not just how many downloads you have, but how many users you have. Even better, you can figure out active users over the course of time. Even if you have 100,000 downloads, 50% of that may have retained users over the course of time, and only by knowing your retention will you know how many downloaders actually remained active users.

When you know the monthly active users, you can use the figure to multiply it against the monthly average revenue you’re making per user to determine your overall revenue.

In essence, there are plenty of ways to measure what is happening with your mobile app. There are formulas you can use to find out user behavior, actions, and if they like using the application you‘ve created. A developer can then use the insights gained to improve the application and subsequently increase revenue.

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