The Conflict of a User-Centered Strategy Relying on Business-side Monetization

This article is based on Episode #5 of 100 Product Strategies (Spotify, Apple Podcast).

Some products like e-commerce, SaaS, or subscriptions rely on creating great value and experiences that directly correlate to getting more revenue from their users.

But what is the impact on the product strategy when your revenues depend on having an active and engaged user base to monetize through other B-side value propositions and channels?

In the 5th episode of 100 Product Strategies, Johannes Mayer explains how they do exactly this at Kununu, the largest employer and salary review site in the DACH region.

You can listen to the episode, or jump to my takeaways!

My 4 takeaways

  • I really liked Kununu’s learning about balancing C-side (users) and B-side (companies) in their OKRs: instead of having dedicated goals for each, including what it means for both sides in each “goal topic” (reach, retention, satisfaction). This means that you explicitly see the balance when an initiative may help one side but hurt another, and instead look for synergies where both sides profit.
  • Product values can help you navigate the conflicts between both sides. Kununu’s example: when a user writes an honest review, no matter if a paying company wants it removed, it is not possible as part of the transparency and trustworthiness values they have for the product.
  • The conflicts in day-to-day situations (like bad reviews) can help inform the strategy, helping the team find ways to incorporate directly into the product mechanisms to either prevent a conflict or create a synergy.
  • One of the pillars of Kununu’s strategy is trustworthiness, and mostly what they are doing is finding ways to communicate better what they are already doing. One great signal of the product experience is not being just what you do or offer, but how you make the user perceive it.

This story was originally published on LeanExperimentation.com. To get my latest content, you can subscribe here and join +2000 newsletter readers!

This content is related to my book Product Direction. In it, I describe in length, with tools and examples, all the steps to create a successful product strategy and how to connect it with OKRs.

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