Economic downturn and Shift in Product approach

Product-led growth
February 6, 2023
5 mins read

We all agree that economic downturns are never pleasing. However, seeing how companies grow during these cycles can be interesting.

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.

Let’s see the two common trends tied to such a shift.

Doubling down on product initiatives

Product teams usually find themselves feeling the pinch of added pressure from leadership to achieve ambitious targets with tighter resources, primarily because attention from top-of-the-funnel marketing spends gets concentrated toward product strategy.

Since the stakes are high - PMs are influenced to stick with less risky features. It can spiral product teams down into a feature factory sprint. Therefore it’s crucial to be mindful of the degree to which the product strategy deviates and adapts to the existing scenarios.

One of the ways to avoid that is by strengthening the validation practices to weed out the likely unsuccessful ideas and hence take more educated bets and build an impactful product strategy.

Aligning Business stakeholders

There is always a healthy tension between the product teams and business teams (sales and customer success). And it tends to spike during recessions since the sales pipeline shrink and customer churns are likely to increase - the product teams need to make a more conscious effort to align with the business teams, and communicate how are they accounting and accommodating their requests in the product roadmaps.

At the same time, the business teams will have to meet the PMs halfway - by letting go of some of the revenue today to build and shape the product for a long period of time - since product teams not just focus on the existing customers but also the potential customers.

Therefore it’s important to keep internal stakeholders (sales, customer success, leadership, etc.) and external stakeholders (customers, partners, etc.) informed, especially during times like these when there are always doubts.


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. Therefore, it is also essential to account for other teams’ requirements and be mindful of the bets that product teams make during stressful times like these.

On a brighter note, 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.

And these passionate teams build faster and better using Zeda. They avoid wasting spending on the wrong product because’s ethos is one of user-centricity. They leverage the platform to keep internal and external stakeholders in a tight loop, avoid misalignments from the get-go, and even reduce churn.

We are building to empower product teams like yours. Check us out - our team would be happy to show you around.

Happy building! 💜


Nireka Dalwadi
Product Marketer
In a constant shift to help product teams build products faster & better, and being perpetually awkward.
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