Product Love Podcast: Nancy Hensley, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Stats Perform

Published Oct 14, 2020

This week on Product Love, I sat down with Nancy Hensley, the chief product and marketing officer at Stats Perform. Stats Perform harnesses the true power of sports data by leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence to generate the industry’s richest insights. 

Nancy first started her career at IBM and worked herself into a product role. She says that she got into product because she always had an opinion about it. Nancy had worked on the technical and benchmark teams, which helped her form a holistic opinion on the product. She jokes that once you have so many opinions about product, someone will eventually come and ask you to join the team. Now at Stats Perform, she oversees both the product and marketing teams. 

In this week’s episode, we talk about how product and marketing overlap, as well as digital transformation.

Product and marketing

“Chief product and marketing officer” isn’t a common title. Most organizations separate the CPO and CMO roles. But Nancy believes the combination makes sense at Stats Perform. One frustration she faced at IBM was that those two areas were constantly disconnected. In her opinion, growth happens when product and marketing are synchronized as a team. 

I asked Nancy about what happens when product and marketing don’t work together well. She recounted her time at IBM, when “design thinking” was first being introduced. It was the first time in her IBM career that design was involved early in the product process. Since she was working on the marketing side, she was arguing with a designer about what the real user experience was. At the time, she believed she owned the experience, since “marketing owned the logo.” However, once she opened her mind to the designer, a lightbulb went off.

As soon as you understand the experience starts with even seeing the logo, you’ll start to see user experience more holistically. And that’s when the magic happens. I thought about how product used to be something people sell, but now with guided tours, freemium, etc., the product is becoming the first touchpoint. When marketing and product work together, there’s a huge growth opportunity that can be unlocked, especially inside the product. 

Digital transformation

At IBM, Nancy was experimenting with a digital consumption model and a new sales model. As they moved into the SaaS space, they realized they were working with a product that was over 50 years old. The product was relatively static and wasn’t even growing at the rate of the marketplace. However, it still had a loyal customer base. Nowadays, product managers would see an old product like that, and think, “I need to change the UI. I need to add more capabilities.” It’s a normal reaction.

However, as they dug into customer problems, they discovered that clients weren’t complaining about the UI. The bigger concerns were around how hard it was to get a trial, updates, or results. So they built the product so it was easier to onboard and buy. They shifted their pricing to a SaaS model and charged monthly. They began to set basic foundations like instrumentation and set up in-app onboarding. 

Nancy cites one of her fun inspirations as the liquor brand Jagermeister. In the past, the product was struggling as it took too long to make and there wasn’t much demand for it. When they introduced “Jaegerbombs” to the public, it became a hit. It was a great example of changing the consumption model.

If you want to learn more about growth, or how Stats Perform is using AI/machine learning, check out the episode above.