If you’ve recently taken an interest in product management, you may have noticed that there’s a subset of designations in this space that have the word “growth” thrown in everywhere – Growth Product Manager; Product Growth Manager; Product Manager, Growth; and Product, Growth.
And no, these aren’t just fancy synonyms for the same job. A quick Google search for the term “growth product manager” shows close to 7.5 billion results – nearly double what you get when searching “product manager.”
Growth Product Management vs. Product Management
Growth product managers actually function in parallel with traditional product managers. However, instead of owning a specific product, they own the growth metrics and commercial goals of one or more products.
These metrics and goals may be associated with any part of the customer journey, which means that a growth product manager is responsible for unlocking value across the marketing sales funnel, from new customer acquisition to customer satisfaction, retention, loyalty, and expansion.
How does a growth product manager do this? Depending on the current business goal, s/ he hones in on a specific customer challenge, runs experiments for potential solutions, and consistently affects improvements until the relevant metric is optimized. Usually, these metrics are decided by prioritizing the highest impact initiatives, which are determined by the product team.
Thus, growth product management is an iterative process of determining high-impact value enhancement opportunities, running experiments to identify best-possible solutions, affecting product improvements, and measuring results.
Note that while growth product managers are more accountable for business growth than customer satisfaction, it doesn’t mean that they don’t focus on customers. Since product-led businesses grow best by delivering unparalleled user experiences, growth product managers, too, place a high priority on customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Growth Product Manager Skills
While growth product managers, like their traditional counterparts, are typically found in technology and product-led organizations, they require different mindsets and approaches, which means that they also require different skill sets.
To be a successful growth product manager, you need three core skills.
A good growth product manager has to have a strong scientific and analytical mindset – one that asks as many questions as it takes to get the right answers and is constantly driven by the urge to take things apart to find out how they work. He/ she has to adopt a data-driven, hands-on approach to probe issues, understand them, and find a better way to do them.
One of the key requirements of a growth product manager is the ability to hack their way to growth, no matter what it takes. In that sense, they need to be open to the possibility that they may have to try and experiment with a variety of approaches and processes – even ones that are relatively uncertain or considerably uncomfortable. They have to try everything at their disposal to get where they want to go.
Finally, successful growth product managers need great interpersonal skills, backed by the ability to communicate frequently and effectively so that everyone’s on the same page and working toward the same goals. From conducting brainstorming sessions and status meetings to enabling collaboration, resolving conflicts, and guiding people toward well-defined goals, they need to be able to build a clear case, every time.
Does the Pay Match Up?
Given the expectation of what they can accomplish for businesses, it’s only natural to wonder if growth product manager salaries match up. According to Glassdoor, they do – with the average annual pay being as high as $109,000, going up to $133,000 for senior roles, and $195,000 for executive roles.
A good thing about this space is that unlike core product management, it’s still in its infancy, relatively speaking – which means that there’s plenty of room for growth.
Whether you’re new to product management or are looking for a way to change up your game, Udacity can help you get started. Check out this new course in Growth product management focusing on Acquisition and growth strategy which is also the first course to our Growth Product Manager Nanodegree Program.