54 Product Leaders Share How They Navigated Economic Downturn with Effective Product Strategies

3 min readMar 24, 2023

With teams resizing & businesses focusing on product-led growth, everyone is feeling overwhelmed. So we asked seasoned product leaders from Twilio, Circle, Freshworks, MoEngage, Dunzo, smallcase, TikTok, and about 40 others to share their insights & key takeaways.

It’s interesting to see businesses especially tech-businesses adapt to these changes and challenges. The product teams, along with the leadership and CEO, have a direct say and impact on the future of the company, especially in PLG companies.

The silver lining here is to see how organizations reshuffle and focus their product strategies. Businesses said to double down on product-led growth (PLG) tactics as part of their greater strategy.

Product Leaders take on Shift in Product Strategies

Has there been a shift in your product goals?

37.7% of Product leaders say there is no change in the Product Strategy. Since the principles remain the same, says Product Leader Viminya Doss, Associate Director of Product at Onsurity

Ensure strong fundamentals and work by first principles. Basically, asking the right questions and chasing the right answers.

Product leader from SquadStack also advices budding product managers:

Always have a Plan B seeing the macroeconomic situation that could affect your product offerings to the customers

About 62% of product leaders said the current economic downturn had caused a shift in Product Strategies.

Budget cuts and team size reductions may also lead to a greater emphasis on maximizing productivity and achieving more with less. Ultimately, businesses will need to adapt to these changes and challenges in order to succeed in the current economic climate.

The theme of this shift is focused on product-led growth tactics and how to achieve monetization faster.

Pramod Kumar, Product Manager at Dunzo, said

The entire focus has shifted onto profitability & scalability from growth.

VP of Product at Circle, Sumeet Ahuja shares,

Growth and innovation initiatives with long lead times and unproven ROI models take a hit in favour of protecting the core and proven ROI business. It is important to strengthen the competitive moat and drive higher c-sat and reduced churn.

Marty Cagan, in SVGP blog during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, said -

During the major economic downturn in the late 1990s, various tech companies were impacted, some shut shop whereas some developed their product strategy to take advantage of the eventual recovery.

It’s in times like these when Product Led Growth companies shine.

Despite the economic conditions, thousands of products are brewing. The bears know the value of building for when the situation flips on its head. So they prioritize building for their users, following the same PLG model.

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On the sidenote:

Zeda.io empowers product teams to discover the right opportunities and measure business outcome of the products being shipped.

Here’s how:

  • Discover problems worth solving
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Zeda.io aims to make Product Management and Development Simpler & Smarter. We write about Product Management, Product Design, Product Development, and startups.