How I Pendo Customer experience

Sparking curiosity in a community-focused field

See how Bonfire used Pendo in-app guides to surprise and delight users with useful information to help them prepare for their procurement journey


For organizations submitting a public sector bid or RFP for the first time, the process can seem nebulous. Bonfire wanted to find a way to educate procurement teams going through the motions to help them better understand what to expect—and help them prepare for what’s coming next.

Pendo'ing it

Bonfire found an innovative way to leverage Pendo in-app guides to serve up relevant information to users based on their inputs in the app’s intake and project modules—ultimately empowering them with timely resources and sharing the wealth of knowledge Bonfire has aggregated through their work.


Since launch, Bonfire’s collection of benchmarking in-app guides has seen over 8,200 views, averaging around 550 views per month. The team has also heard great anecdotal feedback from customers who have gotten a lot of value from information provided in the guides.

Doug MacKendrick

Manager, product management


Bonfire is an e-procurement and sourcing suite. Bonfire helps organizations in the public sector to digitize their procurement workflows and streamline how they manage and process bids and RFPs.

By the numbers


total in-app guide views


monthly in-app guide views

Pendo’ing it means being able to answer questions like: What's going on in our platform? What are users doing? What are they not doing, and why? It’s knowing our users’ journeys and also leveraging that data from an experimentation and feature perspective.

Sharing is caring

In the public sector, community is key. When taxpayer dollars are on the line and resources are tight, sharing knowledge and tearing down silos is the only way to get things done. Pendo helps organizations with this mindset find creative solutions for sharing content and educating their users.

Bonfire exists to help government agencies—and the people doing business with them—work smarter. After thinking through the user experience for someone submitting a bid or RFP to an agency for the first time, the Bonfire team decided to try something new. 

“When organizations are starting off on a project, they’re very curious about things like, ‘What’s the average I should expect for how long this is going to take?’ or ‘How do I set this up?’,” said Doug MacKendrick, manager of product management at Bonfire. He wanted to find a way to serve up relevant information to users from the start, to help get ahead of some of their most frequently voiced concerns.

Knowledge is power

MacKendrick noted that this spirit of sharing information is key to the success of procurement teams—and in particular, those in the public sector. “Procurement is a community job. There isn’t a concern of plagiarism, it’s all best practices and people wanting to share. And it’s all about being efficient and not starting from scratch,” said MacKendrick. Without exhaustive engineering resources available to his team, MacKendrick decided to experiment with Pendo and see what he could create on his own. 

MacKendrick decided to set up a Pendo in-app guide that would appear after a user submitted a request to their procurement team through Bonfire, containing helpful information about metrics, industry benchmarks, and what to expect post-submission. To ensure the information being served was relevant and actionable, MacKendrick configured these guides to appear with content corresponding to the specific category of the request being submitted.

Bonfire | Pendo Product Screenshot

The Bonfire team carefully curated the content that would appear for each category, ensuring the best user experience possible. “We aggregate the information, show the charts, and also provide example documents that you can click on to actually download documents based on potential community projects that are out there,” said MacKendrick. 

Because of the level of customization needed based on the category being selected by the user, MacKendrick’s team had to build a number of guides to make the feature work. “These are all individual guides, but they’re all linked to each other. So in reality we actually have something like 98 benchmarking guides, but they’re all interconnected,” MacKendrick explained. He also noted that this configuration allows users to easily explore sample documentation and benchmarks related to other categories by toggling between Bonfire’s top-level categorizations—providing further insight and breaking down knowledge silos.

The team initially rolled out this experiment in Bonfire’s intake module, but has since expanded it to their project module, too. And MacKendrick has plans to continue to evolve and optimize this use case to make it even more powerful for Bonfire’s users. “In the long-term, we’d ideally have some version of an algorithm [to pre-select the right category for users] based on the description,” said MacKendrick. “We want to expose this to our full client base.”

MacKendrick and his team have heard great early anecdotal feedback from customers who have leveraged the resources in these Pendo in-app messaging guides. Despite industry-wide digital transformation headwinds, Bonfire is paving the way to help their users get ahead and feel empowered with the knowledge they’re sharing. “In the procurement space, our biggest competitor is paper,” said MacKendrick. “The reality is there’s a lot of organizations that aren’t there yet in their own journey. But we experimented with this because our more technologically advanced clients are looking for this type of information, and we want to get ahead of it.”

Pro tips

  • Get outside your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to experiment—challenge yourself to stretch beyond the intended use cases for your Pendo products
  • Leverage the tools you have available to you to help reduce engineering effort
  • Temper your expectations—even though a project may not involve engineering, you’ll still need a team to support and maintain it