Defining your product roadmap by power users - Mixpanel
Defining your product roadmap by power users
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Defining your product roadmap by power users

Last edited: Mar 1, 2022
Aaron Krivitzky (AK)

To stay ahead of your competition, you’re continually refining your products and adding new options. By offering new solutions to your customers, your company can add value to retain current users and entice new customers away from other SaaS platforms. 

Creating product roadmaps helps you assess what you want to achieve with new products and updates and gives you a timeline for achieving them. You’ve likely built your product roadmap with clear goals and a vision for your product in mind, but you may not have considered your power users. Next time you are developing a roadmap, let your power users guide you. 

Power users are the people who use and interact with your product the most compared to all other users on your platform. Often, they’re the most valuable group of users to your company, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of them. We’re here to help do just that, so let’s dig in. Here is what’s discussed below:

  • What are power users?
  • How do you identify a power user? 
  • What is the power user curve?   
  • ‌What are examples of power users? 
  • ‌How can power users help you develop your roadmap?
  • What should you watch out for when using feedback from power users? 
  • How can having power users create more power users?

What are power users? 

In general, the power users of a product are those users who engage the most with the product. From there, each company has its own set of metrics to define their power users. A project management software company, for instance, might define power users as those who appear in the app every day and interact with fellow users multiple times a day. On the other hand, an email marketing platform may define a power user as one who sends messages once or twice a week.

It’s worth emphasizing that power users are more than just users who log in the most. Instead, they engage the most often and thoroughly with a product’s unique selling position (USP) and routinely use it as a true solution.

‌Designing and improving your platform with power users in mind not only helps you retain your best clients but can also help you attract new users. Your power users know the ins and outs of your product. They know which features are most responsive, and they can help you identify where you can make improvements.

How do you identify a power user? 

‌You can pinpoint power users with engagement metrics and similar tools. Your power users not only log into your platform frequently but also engage more than standard users. Behavioral analytics provide you with more detailed information beyond the frequency of use.

How do you spot power users? You’re already measuring daily active users and monthly active users (DAU/MAU). However, this is only part of what makes someone a power user. Monitoring behavioral segments can help you identify not only who is using your product but also how they are using it. You can track data including conversion rates, areas in which your platform is being downloaded more often, and actions users take after they sign up. Analyzing these metrics can help you determine features that lead to long-term user retention.

What is the power user curve?   

‌‌The power user curve is one beneficial metric used to identify your most frequent customers. It is a graphical representation of how often users interact with your product over a set period. Some companies measure user and engagement over seven days, while others may use a 30-day period (L7 vs. L30). 

B2B companies—with products used by clients whose businesses operate during a typical work week—are more likely to use the L7 curve since their users likely only use their platform Monday–Friday between business hours. A company that operates a ride-sharing platform will get better data using the L30 power curve.

If your power user curve dips sharply from the beginning to the end of the month—or week—it indicates a high percentage of single-use users. When the curve goes up on the right end of the chart, it shows a high level of power users.

‌What are examples of power users? 

‌Some more hypothetical examples of power users:

  • A video game power user might be a user who not only logs in and plays the game every day but plays for hours and spends money within the platform buying power-ups and other in-app items.
  • For a ride-sharing company, a power user might use various ride options frequently, like economy, deluxe, and carpooling.
  • Video platform companies may use some combination of a user’s number of videos watched and number of minutes spent watching mixed with their frequency of commenting and sharing to determine if they’re a power user.

Identify your power users with Mixpanel.

‌How can power users help you develop your roadmap? 

‌Power users can help you consider needed improvements for your platform. They can also help you refine your vision and develop short and long-term priorities. Your power users know all the features of your product and they might be using it in ways you’ve never considered. 

Tapping into the needs and opinions of your power users gives you a starting point for your roadmap. Whether you’re creating a new product to complement an existing platform or interested in redesigning a popular product, your power users can set you on the right path. 

‌Creating a vision

‌Before developing a new product, you have to set short-term and long-term goals. Your company likely has long-term goals including revenue growth and increased conversions. Creating a product that provides creative solutions for your best customers is a way to help meet these long-term company goals. 

‌You might decide that a short-term goal for your product is to increase DAU/MAU by 15%. Your power users can help you by giving you detailed feedback. While analytics and engagement metrics can help you track trends related to product usage, the best way to learn how your best customers are using your platform is to ask them. 

Talk to them about what they like best about your platform and any improvements they would like to see. Getting feedback from user comments, mining social media mentions, and looking at comments on your company’s social media pages is a good place to start. ‌Dig deeper with customer interviews or power user surveys. Encourage your power users to tell you how they are using and engaging with your platform, as well as what ideas they have to enhance its efficiency.

‌Use information from your power users to define your end goal for your new product and create a solid vision on which to build your product roadmap.  

Defining your value proposition

‌You might think you know what makes your product unique but engaging your power users could lead you in a new direction. When interviewing your power users, ask them which product features keep them using your platform and why they decided to use it over your competitors. Asking multiple power users these questions can shed light on features that add value to your products.

Use the information to craft your unique selling proposition. Build your goals and strategies for the product around this value proposition. 

Choosing a customer base

‌Once you’ve identified your power users, you can look for trends and patterns within the user base. You may discover that the most frequent users of your existing products are different from the ideal customer base you defined in your previous roadmapping process.

‌Your power users may give you insights to create new customer profiles or shed light on ways in which you can tailor your next product to make it appeal to a different customer base.

A video game developer may currently target men in the 18–24 age range with their most popular game but find that their average power users are women aged 34–45. The video game developer can interview these women to see what attracted them to their product and why they play it. They can ask which features the women enjoy and what they would like to see in the future. Their feedback not only tells the developer how to improve the game but also gives them ideas for different games to create for this demographic and for men aged 18–24.

Prioritizing product features

‌When you’ve set your goals, defined your unique value proposition, and identified your ideal customer base, you can start making a list of features and functions for your new product. At this stage, you’ll be meeting with internal stakeholders within your company to determine the best way to execute your product strategy. 

You will likely run into budgetary and technological constraints that make it necessary to refine your product and its functionality. Knowing what your power users value and what they think makes your company unique can help you prioritize which features to keep in your product. 

Before meeting with your internal stakeholders to discuss the logistics of development and marketing, use your power user feedback to create lists of must-have features and functions and “optional but highly desired” features.

Power users’ opinions can also inform different options for execution. When you know what they expect in terms of functionality, you can strategize different ways to make your product work the way they want it to. When you need to consider technological and budgetary constraints, you can approach the team with a plan B so the product doesn’t lose its functionality.

Even if you don’t have an alternate approach, during the beginning of this process, you can work with your engineering team to strategize on how to achieve priority functions with less effort.

Establishing development metrics

‌After you’ve detailed the strategic goals and execution strategy for your product, it is time to create initiatives and deadlines for each product feature. Establishing development metrics helps you keep your team on task to design and implement your new product. 

‌Each initiative should have a timeline assigned so the team can complete the project promptly. You should update your roadmap regularly. In the fast-paced tech world, new competitors pop up regularly and customer expectations change with them.

What should you watch out for when using feedback from power users? 

‌While user insights are valuable to the product roadmapping process, it’s important not to let them completely overtake the process. Your new product still needs to fit into the company vision and align with your brand. If power users are describing an ideal product that is completely out of line with your current product range, refine their suggestions into a product that fits into your brand. 

When garnering feedback from power users, you also run the risk of listening to the wrong people. You may receive feedback from a small but very passionate group of power users who use the opportunity to complain about features that aren’t a problem for the majority of your users. 

‌If you give too much weight to these power users, you run the risk of changing your platform too much and alienating the majority of your current customers. Combat the small but vocal customers by engaging a more broad range of users that offer you the best value. Use secondary data like social media mentions and satisfaction surveys to see how often your power users’ suggestion or complaint is addressed. If the issue doesn’t seem common among all users, focus on other solutions that appeal to a broad base of users. 

How can having power users create more power users?

‌Not only does feedback from your power users help you create a product roadmap with better strategic direction for the end user but it can also help you refine existing products. Using their feedback to consistently improve your products gives you a robust portfolio of solutions to common customer concerns. 

‌More importantly, engaging users in the development of new products helps establish you as a company that cares about the end user. Your power customers know that their concerns are being heard and are more likely to recommend your products to others. In turn, these new power users can inform the development of even newer products and improvements. 

TL; DR—Ready to find your power users?

‌Engaging power users in your product roadmapping and strategic planning might not seem like a logical first step. But by not engaging these users, you run the risk of creating products that miss the mark and losing customers. Asking your most valuable clients about their needs and working with your team to develop solutions helps establish your company as customer-oriented. Customers are more likely to be loyal to brands that listen to their feedback and help them solve their problems. 

Mixpanel offers tools you can use to find your power users. Get started today and engage your best customers before creating your next product roadmap.

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