How PLG Can Transform Your Marketing Funnel

April 25, 2023

Product-led growth (PLG) is a term that has been gaining popularity and Chameleon is a company that is leading the charge in this space. Chameleon is a company that specializes in helping product marketing teams with adoption utilization, cross-sell, and upsell.

The company was founded by Pulkit Agrawal and his co-founder, who faced a personal problem when they were working on a mobile app and struggled to increase user engagement. This led them to realize that improving onboarding had a significant impact on long-term retention.

Chameleon's Focus on Product-Led Growth (PLG)

Chameleon's focus on product-led growth (PLG) is apparent in its solutions for product adoption, utilization, cross-sell, and upsell.

By helping companies optimize their onboarding process, Chameleon aims to improve long-term retention and drive revenue growth.

Using CTA Pop-Ups Within Complex Products

Chameleon's CEO, Pulkit Agrawal, recommends popping up a CTA to book a meeting in the flow when there is complexity or sophistication in the product that isn't evident immediately or if it takes a lot of work in the product to find value.

This can help increase engagement and drive revenue growth.

Chameleon's Marketing Strategy

In terms of marketing, Chameleon has historically focused on SEO-driven channels with a focus on efficiency.

However, they are now shifting towards being more value-oriented and refining their content to be more valuable.

They are also exploring new channels such as partner channels and website-oriented campaigns.

Chameleon measures the success of its content marketing by looking at how it converts or influences revenue, not just how well it ranks.

Integrating Email Campaigns with In-Product Notifications

Pulkit Agrawal also emphasizes the importance of integrating email campaigns with in-product notifications to provide a seamless user experience.

He suggests using tools such as HubSpot, Marketo, or to link email campaigns with in-product notifications, allowing users to receive information about new features or reports at their convenience.

However, he advises companies to avoid using email as a substitute for in-product messaging and instead use it for re-engagement and follow-up purposes.

He recommends using for triggered and self-serve campaigns, but not for outbound campaigns.

Chameleon and B2B Tools like Snowflake, Hightouch, and Census

Chameleon's focus on PLG aligns well with other B2B tools that help companies optimize their data and operations.

For example, Snowflake is becoming the system of truth for many companies, and Chameleon's solutions can help with reverse ETL motion, which refers to the process of taking data from a data warehouse and loading it into operational systems for analysis.

Additionally, tools like Hightouch and Census can help companies improve data quality and accuracy, which can lead to better decision-making and revenue growth.

Full Episode Transcript

Pulkit: People are spending less time on marketing websites, and they're getting into the product more quickly. So they want to learn by doing rather than just by reading. We've seen lots more free trials of people having self-serve signup. And so in that first phase of user onboarding, you should actually be doing as much marketing as teaching and coaching.

Alina: I have Pulkit here, CEO of Chameleon, and they help product and marketing team help with adoption, utilization, cross sell, upsell. And today, we're going to talk about what are some of the s- successful use cases that teams are using Chameleon for, some innovative ways to get people to book a call with the sales team, and also how customer marketing teams and, and, and product marketers can think about, um, future utilization, future adoption, and future announcements. Very excited to talk to you, Pulkit.

Pulkit: Me too. So we first had the idea for Chameleon 2015.


We went to market in 2016.


Um, and it came from a personal problem that we faced, which was when we were, Brian, my cofounder, and I were working on a mobile app, and we were desperate for more people to use our app. [laughs]


More people to use our app. Stand on a street corner. Try to get people to use your app. But we realized that improving onboarding, we did some experiments with onboarding, had significant impact in long term retention. So it sounds really obvious now, but you know, it was an insight for us. We were like, "Oh, shit."

And so we started talking to people, and everyone said like, "User onboarding is really important to solve. We don't like our user onboarding. We need to fix it. It's important, but we don't have time. It takes a big effort, and so we'll come back to it later in the year."

So we realized there wasn't really a good solution to go and, um, solve that user onboarding pain point, so that's how we got started.

So the onboarding

Alina: use case is a big one for you. Product market p- product managers typically are the ones that are starting the Chameleon usage. Um, what, what other, uh, main use case is, uh, Chameleon is used for?

Pulkit: So user onboarding is the original-


... genesis, but it's definitely expanded since then. And I think one of the trends that we've seen is, um, around product led. But what it means is that people are spending less time on marketing websites, and they're getting into the product more quickly. So they want to learn by doing, rather than just by reading. So we've seen lots more free trials of people having self-serve signups.

And so in that first phase of user onboarding, you should actually be doing as much marketing as teaching and coaching. And I think that's something we try to educate our customers around, is that user onboarding isn't all about how to use the product. It's about why to use the product-


... because people haven't figured that out. They're not sold on it by the time they're in the product. Um, but beyond user onboarding, there's of course, uh, product marketing, which can mean different things, but, um, product centric marketing and customer marketing.


So of course, those are important to drive continual usage and expansion upsell. Again, a big trend is towards usage based pricing, which basically means product usage drives revenue.

If you can get your users to use your product, whether it's by, you know, more seats or just more activity, that drives revenue. And so everyone should be aligned around driving that, including marketing teams. So that's another big use case, um, and then of course, there's the customer success use case as well.

Alina:  And when do you think it's, uh, ideal to w- to pop up [inaudible 00:03:33] in the flow?

Pulkit: Great question. So if you want to get m- transition from self-service into, um, kind of a human assist, firstly, it's very important to do this.

Um, there's a lot of d- people talking about PLG or not PLG, and that is a misnomer. It's, you're always on a grade of PLG. There's never, it's not binary, like you are PLG or you're not PLG. Every company has some software that is self-service in some way. My firm belief is that you need to marry the sales assisted and the self-service together for ideal outcomes.

The times that you need to go into sales assist is if there is complexity or sophistication in the product that isn't evident immediately, or if it takes a lot of work in the product to find value. Now, of course, over time, you can make that better in terms of product UI, but you don't want to lose customers because they haven't been able to find value and they've lost out.

So in cases where you feel like you won't get them to the aha moment or you won't get them to value quickly, or they themselves prefer tal- talking to somebody, are good cases where you want to transition them into speaking with somebody.

So to do that, what's the traditional way? People send you emails like, "Hey. Book a call." Or there's a website like, "Book a call." But actually, doing it when someone's in the product using your product at the right moment is way more effective.


And so popping something up to say, "Hey, we noticed that you're trying to use our dashboards feature. Would you like a demo about this?"

Or it's like, "Hey s- seems like you've been successful with use case A. Would you like to see how other companies use our product for use case B? Or it seems like, hey, companies like you typically join X plan. Would you like to see the benefits of this plan?"


These are all ways that you can prompt people in the product-


... and get them to convert to booking a call and having, you know, ideally a conversation with a product expert who's a salesperson to tell them more about how to use the product effectively.

Alina:  So it's, uh, product marketing, growth marketers, and, uh, customer marketers that might be involved in Chameleon?

Pulkit: Yeah. Within the, within the marketing realm and, um, es- you know, one of the other things is a product led sales motion, which maybe we'll talk a little bit about.

But, um, in some cases, product marketers want to help drive, um, you know, leads or support their sales team in driving, uh, the right kind of opportunities from within the product. So there's some use cases around that too. But, yeah. Range of product, uh, marketing teams.

Alina: And what have you seen are the most effective campaigns for marketing teams in product?

Pulkit: Lots of different variety of ways that people use Chameleon. I think some simple ways that, uh, are effective, which are almost like no-brainer effective, um, one is getting event registrations. So if you have a webinar about a feature, today marketing teams are often sending emails, or they're sending it as part of your life cycle, like newsletter.


But that doesn't get great click-throughs or views, so prompting somebody in the product to, hey, this, there's a new feature coming. Join our upcoming live training or webinar. We've seen c- companies 50X their attendance rates-


... um, by launching those kinds of campaigns in the product. Another no-brainer, um, idea for teams is to drive customer reviews and testimonials.

Mm. Mm-hmm.

That's, of course, a key element in driving social validation credibility. So again, people who are in your product, the ones that are engaged are likely finding value. Targeting them when they have the context and the mindset. They've just done something which makes them happy. They found an aha moment. It's a great time to ask like, "Hey, how happy are you? Are you willing to leave a review?" So that's a really good b- no-brainer use case too.

Alina:  I like those ideas a lot. Um, is there anything else that you've seen lately that's very innovative that people doing now?

Pulkit: One part of the innovation is, how can we use data effectively?


And the more personal we can get, and the more targeted we can get, the more effective we'll be. So if we, for marketers, you know, it's a warning, if you think everyone cares about this next launch, likely they don't.


Um, so you have to find ways to get smart. So we're seeing the evolution of the modern data stack. So we've had CDPs like segment that pipe all the data to solutions like Chameleon, so you can use all of your event data or your attributes data, your company attributes data, to create targeting. We're now seeing Snowflake and the data warehouse-


... being the central source of truth for data. And now we're seeing solutions like Hightouch and Census provide a reverse ETL motion, meaning not just putting data into the warehouse, but getting data out of the warehouse for use in marketing automation.

And Chameleon is one of those solutions. So you can now get data from your warehouse. You can look at the state of the user. Is this user on X plan? Or is this user, you know, what h- data, what files have they uploaded? Have they uploaded X number of files into their account?

And based on that kind of data, you can trigger campaigns with Chameleon. And ideally, what I think is best practice is you define cohorts outside. So you have a central place where you're defining groups of users. For example, these are high ICP fit likely to convert hot leads, or these are, uh, gold plan customers at risk of churn.

And you should d- define that outside based on all of your data sources and then sync those cohorts or those groups of users to all of your tooling so you can have a really synchronized way of communicating so you know that I'm targeting the same group of users, whether it's through email or in-app or text message or whatever, et cetera.

Alina: I'm a big believer in Snowflake becoming, uh, the system of truth, especially for companies like us who can't put everything in Salesforce, because not everything should be in Salesforce. Um, so as a result, for us, Snowflake is becoming that, uh, source of truth, and the combination with tools like Chameleon makes a lot of sense to me.

I'm also curious about your marketing motions at Chameleon. Um, I'm not sure. H- How big is, um, your pipeline coming from marketing versus, uh, versus outbound?

Pulkit: So we have pretty much fully inbound. We've always been fully inbound.


Um, we are testing some outbound motions, which are like warm outbound.


I can talk more about that if it's relevant. Yeah.

Alina:  Okay. And for inbound, what are the things that, what channels are working for you?

Pulkit: So predominantly or historically, the channel's been SEO-


... so content that ranks highly. Um, and we've run, obviously, we do a bunch of ads, not, I wouldn't say, I would say we're probably under index on the ads. We, we care more about efficiency on the ads than just-


... total volume. But that's been the, the, the majority of the channel. We're now trying to layer on a partner channel-


... um, as a new thing. But, um, and more kind of website oriented campaigns. Um, but, yeah. It's mostly kind of con-

[inaudible 00:10:40].

... content driven inbound.


Alina:  And, uh, how do you measure success of an article?

Pulkit: Good question. Um, it's something that we're, we're grappling with. Um, so there's the traditional goals that we had which was, like, how well is it ranking and how well is it performing in search? We've recently looked and implemented a, um, a attribution solution called Dreamdata-


... to help us with more sophisticated multi-touch attribution to understand which pieces of content are leading to pipeline creation or influencing pipeline creation. Um, so I think that's our goal. Our, our marketing team has one of, as one of their KPIs, revenue-


... not just leads or pipeline. And so we're trying to get closer to understand what influences revenue.

Alina:  Are you focusing on mostly ranking higher on SEO? Are you look at educational value as well? Or both?

Pulkit: Yeah. Good que- I think historically, it's been very SEO f- focused. I think we're trying to move away from that a little bit, um, and be more value oriented. So now, we're looking to see, how does a piece of content convert or influence, versus just, like, how well does it rank? Um, I think there is a lot of education to be done.

So we're, our new set of content, so our, our new content strategy now is less about, uh, pumping out lots of content for SEO. It's about refining the content that we have to be more valuable. Um, it's about, you know, optimizing it but not just for SEO, but for readability and, and value.

And then the next piece of content is things like case studies. It's, we've got this new section called recipes, which is like how to use Chameleon with other tools and step-by-step guides. Um, and then it's a- about repurposing the content we have into smaller format or short form content as well. So it's less about new stuff. It's about, okay, we've got a ton of stuff. Like, okay. H- Let's make it more valuable.

Alina:  One last question that I have for you. You're competing with a publicly traded company, uh, WalkMe. How do you see the differences in the future?

Pulkit: Yeah. I'd say WalkMe is like the one point [inaudible 00:12:40] in our space. They kind of started the trend of, like, having in product something. But they're oriented very much around training.

So if your team needed to learn your Salesforce instance or you were using something else like Oracle or SAP Ariba or something, then it, it, you would use WalkMe and set it up for your, your own application or your version of something like Salesforce to train your employees.

So they're oriented very much around that, and that's their core. We came from a product led world, so it's like helping your end users find value in your product.


So there is a significant difference in our focus and use case, who we sell to, and then the feature set that accompanies that. For example, we have functionality that prevents overusage of Chameleon.

It's like, okay. We don't want you to send too many of these in product messages, because they can be annoying, so we have controls around rate limiting and how f- the frequency capping based on type of exper- so there's just, like, a different set of features for us. Um, so that's one thing.

And then the second way is design. We care a lot about design and good design, and that means good user experience. And, and it's not clunky. It's not, doesn't look like a '90s website. And I think people who resonate with that, it's very easy to make that distinction.

Um, and one other reason why that's impactful is because for a new category, people don't often know all of the different features to evaluate, so they index highly on how easy is it to use?


So that's why we care a lot about UX design and ease of use.


Alina: What's, uh, next on the roadmap?

Pulkit: So AI? [laughs] Should we talk about AI? Um, so one cool thing that we're going to do is, um, allow companies to link up their help centers and generate content for in product using their existing help documentation.


So you already have spent a lot of time and effort writing help doc- docs, and AI is pretty good at summarizing them. And all you need to do is put that summary in the right place in the product, so when someone's using the r- relevant feature, they get a quick snippet and then a ch- and a gateway to read more in the doc.

So it's about bringing all of this rich content into context when someone's using an application, and it's the same reason that we're launching this new product called HelpBar. Giving you two for the price of one here.

So HelpBar is about providing a search experience. So y- a customer of Chameleon, their end users can hit command K and search and search all of the help documentation right from in the product. So they don't have to go anywhere. They don't have to go navigate help centers.

They can be like, "I want to learn about this feature." Hit command K. Search it. And the results appear, and you can open them in-app. So, and that's just Chameleon working with your existing help documentation in the product.

What about emails? [laughs]

Emails play a big part. It's a big role. Um, the way that we think about emails is that there are fantastic other solutions that run emails, whether it's a solution like HubSpot or Marketo or And we want to integrate well with that.

So some things you can do today is if you show a Chameleon notification in-app, let's say you have a new report coming out, and you're like, "Hey, who wants access to this report?"

You could have s- someone, you could show the notification. Someone can send, send it to me. And that click can trigger an email from your existing marketing automation solution to go into their inbox.


So there's a way to kind of, again, marry the different channels, because they're not ready to read the report right now. They're in your product. But they want it for later, so you can link it to r- running a, a c- campaign like that.

Or you can fl- tag a user that clicks a button that says there's a new feature. You want to ask people to opt into this beta release. They can be like, "Yes. I'm interested." That can add a flag. That can then trigger an email campaign.

So there's ways that you can connect email to in product. I think there is a important use case for email, you know, reengagement for people who are not in the product, and then followups for people that want to do something later after the product.

But, um, there's a lot of people that are s- there's a lot of companies that are sending a bunch of emails today that should just be in product instead. You're, like, they're, like, teaching users how to use their application through screenshots in email. All of that stuff shouldn't be on email. That should be in product.

What do you use yourself for email?

We use is for t- product emails and marketing emails. We use, like, for triggered campaigns, self-serve campaigns, not for outbound.

Alina Vandenberghe
Pulkit Agrawal
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