How I Pendo Product-led growth

Shipping better user experiences with analytics and in-app guides

Learn how TraceGains used product analytics and in-app guides to create a better learning experience and drive higher engagement with their new freemium product


After utilizing Pendo’s analytics to make more informed decisions—including launching a new freemium marketplace product—the TraceGains team needed to support and drive engagement with users of its new offering. And they needed to do so while making the most of their limited resources.

Pendo'ing it

TraceGains started leveraging the power of the full Pendo platform, using in-app guides to deliver in-context education and drive engagement with their most valuable features. Now, product analytics data helps the team measure the success of these efforts, quickly iterate, and identify new opportunities to optimize the product experience.


Since they began using analytics and in-app guides together, TraceGains has been able to create a better learning experience for their users and drive higher engagement with their new marketplace product. Pendo has also helped improve collaboration across the entire company, serving as a centralized source of engagement data.

John Thorpe

Principal Product Manager

Emma Karp

Product Manager – Growth

Kathleen Kasel

Learning Experience Designer


TraceGains is a global technology company that provides innovation, quality, and compliance solutions to consumer brands that want to reduce supply chain risk, speed up business processes, and take control of their data.

We thought we only needed analytics, but the real value came from being able to use Pendo to take action on that data, too.

The power of data-backed decision making

Today, it’s difficult to pinpoint an industry that doesn’t run on software—and the world of food, beverage, and dietary supplement ingredients is no exception. TraceGains was founded to help companies in this space maintain compliance in their supply chains. It began with a focus on document exchange between suppliers and manufacturers, and has expanded into an enterprise software platform rooted in supplier compliance and new product development.

John Thorpe (principal product manager at TraceGains) and team recently launched a freemium marketplace platform called TraceGains Gather, a global alerting system for businesses’ supply chains that also includes tools to facilitate better collaboration and ingredient discovery. More specifically, the team is working to implement product-led growth strategies for the new platform—which is why they turned to Pendo.

TraceGains first started using Pendo for its analytics capabilities. They wanted to make decisions based on how customers were actually using their product and its key features. “With Pendo, the ability to configure what we’re measuring ourselves and then translate that into our product strategy and prioritization was very useful,” Thorpe explained.

Thorpe also noted that no longer needing to rely on engineering to access these usage insights was a major benefit for the team. In fact, it was Pendo data that helped solidify the company’s decision to launch TraceGains Gather. 

After implementing Pendo Analytics, one of the areas the team looked into right away was their internal marketplace—which was only open to TraceGains customers and their suppliers at the time. The data showed strong engagement with a number of marketplace features—including high levels of communication between partners on the network. And this engagement was steadily growing over time. “As we continued to measure usage with Pendo, it really gave us the confidence to launch this product-led growth model and offer our network and marketplace to everyone,” said Thorpe. That marketplace is now TraceGains Gather.

While utilizing Pendo for product analytics, the TraceGains team realized the opportunity to leverage Pendo’s in-app communication capabilities after seeing guides in the Pendo platform itself. “As we were using Analytics to understand engagement, help define our roadmap, and justify prioritization decisions, we started seeing in-app guides promoting new Pendo features and upcoming webinars, and also started using the Resource Center,” Thorpe explained. “Seeing the guides in action made us say, ‘We want to do that for our customers.’”

Using the Pendo platform to turn data into action

From there, TraceGains started leveraging in-app guides in Pendo and expanded their overall strategy. “That’s when we started to shift from a core product team use case into now almost every department at our company using Pendo for a variety of reasons,” said Thorpe. “We thought we only needed analytics, but the real value came from being able to use Pendo to take action on that data, too. Once we started thinking about Pendo as an engagement tool—not just an analytics tool—it really became apparent that it would enable us to scale a lot better.” 

Thorpe also noted the importance of segmentation in Pendo, which is crucial to effectively communicating with their network of over 55,000 marketplace users. He explained, “We needed a tool that would allow us to communicate at scale, but in a targeted way and with limited resources on our end.”

Emma Karp, a product manager for TraceGains Gather, emphasized the value of Pendo as the team shifted to a product-led growth model for the new free platform. Since they had limited resources, the combination of product analytics and in-app guides allowed TraceGains to collect and take action on data effectively. “We were able to look at the data, react to the data, and then use the tools within Pendo to take on some of our key initiatives. And we did it at a scale that wouldn’t have been possible without Pendo,” Karp explained.

One of those initiatives was to increase usage of key features in Gather. This started with understanding how users were currently engaging, and if they were utilizing features the TraceGains team knows are valuable. Karp explained, “Using Pendo, we were able to identify that quite a few of our users in one of our target audiences were not engaging with certain features in the way we’d expect them to.”

So, the team ran segmented tests based on job title and created in-app guides driving to different marketplace features. “We were able to create different messaging based on what we thought a user with a particular role was interested in,” said Karp. From there, Karp and team could see how the guides impacted users’ behavior, leveraging reports in Pendo to measure the impact of the targeted messaging.

“We were able to use Pendo throughout the whole process of seeing what users were doing, identifying a page or feature with low engagement, using in-app guides to drive certain behavior, and then using analytics to see whether our efforts were effective,” said Karp.

Utilizing the full Pendo platform has also helped TraceGains create a better learning experience for their users—and lessen the burden on their customer success and support teams. Kathleen Kasel, a learning experience designer, explained, “With Pendo, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of hand-holding [we were doing] with our users and ultimately create a better product experience.” Kasel has created in-app guides to help first-time users navigate through the product, walk users through key tasks, and direct them to additional resources.

As part of the improved learning experience, TraceGains used Pendo to create an in-app product tour for new users—and over 50% have started and completed the tour in its entirety. Kasel also shared that 25% of their seven product walkthroughs have been viewed over 3,000 times. “I think this demonstrates how valuable of a tool Pendo is to really get our users engaged in learning the product on their own, rather than reaching out for help.”

Since implementing in-app guides in addition to analytics, TraceGains has benefited immensely from being able to reach users while they’re already engaged in the product. “One of the things we’ve noticed is that email isn’t the way to communicate with people anymore,” said Karp. “In-app guides give us a direct path to our customers. Combine that with the visibility into what they’re doing, who’s doing it, and for how long, and we get this really full story of our customers—and it’s just so powerful.”

Beyond improving the experience for their users, Pendo has also helped TraceGains improve collaboration across the organization. “It’s really broken down walls, and I think we’ve all been able to work together much more closely,” said Kasel. 

Thorpe noted that the product and customer success teams now have a shared measure of customer health that’s rooted in product engagement data in Pendo. And the sales and marketing teams use Pendo for more targeted upsell outreach to existing users. “Even our finance team uses Pendo In-app Guides as an effective communication tool for billing, because we know customers are more likely to read these types of messages,” he added. “The biggest unexpected benefit of using Pendo is that it’s actually helped break down barriers in our company, because we’re all using the same centralized set of engagement data.”

Pro tips

  • Get the most out of Pendo by leveraging product analytics and in-app guides together, for example by using product usage data to determine who to target for an in-app adoption campaign, and then to measure the impact on user behavior
  • Customer education doesn’t stop after onboarding—use in-app guides in Pendo to deliver continuous education when and where users need it
  • Encourage teams outside of the product organization to use Pendo to communicate with users more effectively and make data-informed decisions