How Product Management Can Double Customer LTV

Jeff Bordogna

@jeffthink /

Meal Planning @ Relay Foods


What is product management?

It's complicated.

Delivering value to customers.

Building useful artifacts.

Facilitating decisions.

Determining the "why" and "what".

Prioritizing work to be done.

Enabling collaboration.

Voice of the customer.

CEO of the product.

Writing user stories.

Product Mindset

  • Customer empathy

  • Curiosity

  • Humility

  • Adaptability

  • Intelligence

  • Data-driven decision-making

  • Continuous improvement

  • Scrappiness

- Seth Godin

"That voice in our head is a press secretary who is explaining to the media, without knowing exactly how, why what we just did was very smart."

Like a



Like a Scientist

Online Grocer founded in 2007

Series A in 2013 => Acquired in 2016

Focused on Mid-atlantic region

From 2007 => 2009, Relay was:

We'll deliver anything to your door

From 2010 => 2012, Relay was:

We'll deliver any food to your door

From 2013 => 2015, Relay was:

We're your online farmer's market for local / healthy food


Net Promoter Score (NPS)


That sounds good.
What's the problem?

after 1st Order


after 8 weeks



New Customer Economics


(Average Order Value)


(Customer Acquisition Cost)


New Customer CLV


(Customer Livetime Value)

Avg. over 12 months




Think like a storyteller

"Why are users recommending Relay to others, but not continuing themselves?"

We learned that the real problem was:

Act like a scientist

Hypothesis: By incorporating more elements of the full grocery lifecycle into the product, customers will become stickier.

Step 1) Create a low cost experiment

Add recipes content with focus on planning & cooking

Step 2) Measure engagement

New Customer Retention

Average Order Size (AOV)

Recipe Engagement

Step 3) Collect customer feedback

“This is great! I am more organized with shopping and am now managing to make meals for my family a lot more often.”

- Sienna

Step 4) Get leadership approval for a project

Enter the

"Meal Planning"


We did Product Discovery.

We talked to our customers

Attitudinal: "Tell me about your grocery shopping routine."

Behavioral: "Can I watch you you interact with this wireframe / prototype?"

We prototyped before we built

We collaborated and planned across departments

Product - What to prioritize & how to design it?

Marketing - How to talk about it & who to target?

Merchandising - Which recipes & ingredients?

Operations - How might this impact fulfillment?

Engineering - How to iteratively build it?

We iteratively rolled out improvements.

Oct 14'

Nov 14'

Dec 14'

Jan 15'

Feb 15'

Mar 15'



Research / Build






Meal Planning rollout

% of customers with access


drumroll please...


New Customer CLV


Lesson One

The ability to measure an initiative's sucess is as important as any feature and can't "wait until later".

"According to our roadmap, it's time to work on X, Y, and Z"

Meal Planning

Project Y

Feature X

Partnership Z

Lesson Two

Companies must be ready to adapt - by having a framework for when to fold, call, or double down.

Lesson Three

A great product manager is always aware of the motivations of the people around them.

4 months later...

(August 2015)

Fast forward to

Existing Customers



Order Frequency


(27% of them tried it out)

Lapsed Customers

Their Previous


Still Active
after 8 weeks


(4X more winbacks than usual)

New Customers

1st Order AOV
(vs non-meal


8 Week Retention
(vs. non-meal planning)


(consistent findings across channels)


New Customer CLV



we missed our window...

We spent the next ~6 months focused on fundraising / M&A

Acquired by Door to Door Organics
(May 2016)

Door to Door Organics Closes / Sells Tech
(Nov 2017)

3 Tips For Aspiring
Product Managers

1) Tailor *your* story

Think of how it maps to the story a given hiring manager is telling themselves.

I would love to be a product manager here.
I think my X experience would be relevant for Y reason.

For example:

2) Show customer empathy

For example: Show how you thought about their habits & pain points, how you mapped that to a solution that you then validated, etc.

How can you frame a project or deliverable you were a part of to focus on the customer to whom you were delivering?

3) Practice, practice.

Find ways to do PMing - in your existing job, on side projects, or even just in your reading/thinking.

 For example: Think about what you don't like about products you use every day - why do you think the decision was made the way it was? What would you have done instead?  



Relay Foods Meal Planning LTV Case

By Jeff Bordogna

Relay Foods Meal Planning LTV Case

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