Validating Growth Opportunities is Product Management

Anuraag Verma
Jul 29, 2019

Aviad Stein, Director of Client Partners at Feedback Loop, shares the most effective strategies and clear-cut examples for exploring and monetizing product growth opportunities.

Aviad has dedicated his 15-year career to bringing product visions to life, launching and leading product development across a wide range of industries and products.

Before joining Alpha, he worked for well-known consumer brands such as Nordstrom, Bloomberg, and Tumblr. Along the way, Aviad picked up some unique insights, particularly around product growth opportunities, product roadmaps, and go-to-market strategies.

While at Nordstrom, Aviad led the Digital Products team, at a time when the e-commerce industry wasn’t quite the behemoth it is today and the vast majority of their shoppers weren’t yet online. Aviad’s team saw an opportunity and capitalized on it.

“There was definitely a blue sky opportunity to create an online presence,” Aviad says. “The discussions were ‘What can we do to start laying out those opportunities? Who do we go after? Should we go after the existing customer base? Should we target different audiences, millennials, and may be young generation? What type of experience will be appealing for those type of customers?’”

Aviad founded a digital incubator, where dedicated teams went to work to validate the market opportunity, define the customer, and build a mobile and website shopping experience based on user feedback.

Digitizing the Nordstrom shopping experience was a massive undertaking, he says. It was only possible with in-depth customer research, prototyping, educating stakeholders, and incentivizing customers to change their shopping behaviors. “There’s challenges both from modernizing different aspects of the existing business and just making sure that [customers] feel that the experience is adding value and saving them on time and cost,” he says.

With user research, assessing and growing new product opportunities is difficult but doable, which Aviad learned at Nordstrom and carried with him to his next role: leading a consumer-facing product team at Bloomberg.

At Bloomberg, a large company already known for producing and aggregating digital content, Aviad needed to find ways to extend the content’s value and reach. The steps to accomplish something like this, Aviad says, were eerily similar to Nordstrom and required a lot of collaboration internally, a ton of research into personas and customer preferences, and constant testing of consumption habits.

And the team found new and innovative ways to do just that.

“We had a booth in Heathrow Airport and London airports, and we mocked up an iPad application to see if people go to the exhibit and try to click on it,” he says. “It was an interesting exercise to see the level of understanding of the brand and its content, and what people lean toward consuming. Based on that, we realized there’s room [in the market] for a suite of applications focused on different content types.”

A suite of applications indeed: Aviad’s team developed about 20 consumer-facing sites and applications across devices that connected the dots between Bloomberg’s audiences and its content.

His experiences at Nordstrom and Bloomberg led him to Tumblr and then to Alpha, both career switches offering him plenty of opportunities to rally stakeholders around the importance of concepts like experimentation, data-driven decision making and testing and learning.

If he could offer a key learning, what would it be?

“Being on the other side and leading large complex product initiatives it was very clear the data has a key role in successfully launching scalable, valuable products into the market," Aviad said. “Most organizations are facing an inflation of data, but with no real process of taking the data and making sure that their products or their roadmap or the decision making as a whole is relying on that.”

Here are the highlights: 

  • Steps to take when exploring new growth opportunities (8:17)
  • How to overcome the challenges of disruption (13:40)
  • Ways to improve the customer experience through user research (16:55)
  • How user research plays a role in improving a product offering (22:16)
  • Educating stakeholders about new business concepts (27:17)

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