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Product North Star

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What is a product North Star?

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Product North Star Definition

A product north star is a measurement of a product management team’s ability to solve their customer’s core problem, as well as how that relates to the long-term financial goals of the company.

A product north star, or north star metric, is essentially the gold standard by which the product team is judged within an organization. It’s a broad-brush approach, no doubt, but it gives key stakeholders a fast and simple means by which to assess and monitor a product’s success and its alignment to company objectives. 

What is the North Star model?

The north star model, sometimes known as the north star framework, is a means of visualizing how a product north star is decided upon. It is effectively a hierarchy of metrics and KPIs with the product north star, quite appropriately, sitting right at the top. 

It’s easy to confuse a KPI, which can be quite generic — more downloads, more users, more orders — with a north star, so the framework visualization can bring clarity. Key KPIs are always important, but they should serve a greater purpose — and that’s the north star. 

What is a product North Star example?

Perhaps the best way to understand how a product north star operates in practice is with a real-world example. 

Let’s imagine you’ve built an app that helps users get discounts on their online shopping. In this case, you might have key KPIs which include:

  • X number of downloads per month

  • X daily active users

  • X discount activations per week

These are all valuable metrics, but they don’t encapsulate the true value of the product to a customer. 

In this case, a solid product north star would be Total percentage discount activated per week. Why? Because the discount is what is most valuable to a customer, and the thing which is most likely to have them using the app again and again.

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Product North Star

General FAQ

What is a North Star in product?
In product management, a north star can be used to measure how well a product solves the customer’s core problems. It represents a product’s core value to a customer and can be used to align product strategy to long-term organizational goals.
What is a north star in marketing?
Similar to a product north star, the north star in marketing is a measure of how well the marketing team is achieving its goals in relation to product adoption, customer experience, and other KPIs.
What is the North Star metric?
The north star metric refers to a product’s ability to solve its customers' core problem. The north star metric is highly specific to the product in question, and should always align with a company’s financial and strategic goals.

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