What is a Growth Product Manager?

Written by
Leonardo Vezzati
Co-founder & COO
Back to basics

Understanding the Growth Product Manager (GPM) Role

Who is a GPM?

A Growth Product Manager (GPM), also known as a Product Growth Manager, focuses on improving specific business goals, like user acquisition, engagement, retention, and revenue. They achieve this by identifying and removing obstacles that hinder users from experiencing the full value of the product.

Similar to traditional product managers, GPMs prioritize initiatives that address customer problems while also driving significant business impact. Ideally, they have a dedicated team of engineers, analysts, and UX designers working together to strategically plan initiatives, design experiments, and define success metrics. This team collaborates with other company resources as needed, depending on the specific initiative. For GPMs without dedicated teams, building a strong business case becomes crucial to secure resources needed for prioritized initiatives.

The Rise of GPMs

The GPM role has become increasingly prominent in recent years, especially within startups and tech companies that embrace a product-led growth (PLG) strategy. Companies like Airbnb, Twilio, Segment, Noom, and Square are all examples of organizations that have incorporated GPMs into their teams. This rise in popularity is evident in data from Google Trends and LinkedIn, showing a significant increase in both search queries and professionals with "growth product manager" in their titles.

Why are GPMs crucial for PLG?

Companies utilizing a PLG strategy, where the product itself drives user growth through its inherent value, benefit greatly from having a GPM. Their primary focus is on delivering measurable improvements in business outcomes through short-term initiatives. However, they still require a deep understanding of customer problems to prioritize initiatives that effectively remove barriers to value and maximize the product's impact.

What makes a successful GPM?

Effective GPMs excel at optimizing existing products for growth, constantly asking themselves how to extract even more value from the product for users. Due to the evolving nature of the role, its specific responsibilities can vary across organizations. However, some core qualities are essential for success:

  • Analytical and inquisitive: A scientific approach marked by skepticism, curiosity, and a data-driven mindset is key.
  • Agile and adaptable: The ability to embrace change and adjust strategies quickly is crucial.
  • Experimentation-driven: A genuine interest in experimenting and measuring the impact of those experiments is essential.
  • User experience focus: Identifying and eliminating friction points within the user experience is crucial.
  • Strong communication and collaboration skills: Effective communication is necessary for building a compelling case for initiatives and collaborating with diverse teams.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Strong analytical skills and a reliance on data are fundamental.
  • Customer-centric: A deep understanding of user needs, motivations, and challenges is essential.
  • Passionate about growth: A strong desire to see the product grow and a commitment to driving positive change are vital.

While these are essential skills for GPMs, it's important to remember that all product managers should strive to embody them for success.

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