Using our own experiences, as well as that of successful organizations, one thing has become clear over time for us – if there is a constant struggle to generate interest in selling your product, it’s probably because of an incorrect product-market fit. Of course, it could also mean that the problem lies with your product itself, or maybe the market itself is not defined well. In that case, you need to focus on the product – market fit. We believe that one of the best ways to enhance real demand for your offerings is to look closely at your what target audience really needs or wants.
#1. How can you know that the product/market fit is not working?
You can figure out when the fit is not happening once you notice that customers are simply not just not getting any value off of the product. The overall usage is not as per your predictions. Despite extensive efforts, word-of-mouth is also not that effective either. The reviews are not very kind, and sales are simply not happening – though the prospects certainly look quite promising.
Likewise, when the product-market fit works well, the signs are clear for all to see. Your sales efforts will be more effective than you can anticipate. Usage also grows quickly, and so does your overall revenue. You need support staff to be added to the rolls as well. Reviewers should raving about your hot new product to create hype as well. To cut a long story short, a successful product-market fit is when your customers sell for you. Once these users share their experience with other prospects out there, you can proudly claim that you know what product-market fit means.
#2. Looking at Value Hypothesis
Marketers need an answer when it comes to why customers would want to use their product, and ignore their competition. A value hypothesis tries to answer this to the best of their ability. It presents an assumption and attempts to scale the number of customers who would likely be attracted to their service or product.
Recognizing a value hypothesis that is convincing enough can lead to figuring out the right product-market fit. This approach will take into consideration the features as well as the strategy of the business that could be used to attract the customer. The pricing, placement as well as the model of the business are some of the key assumptions to be validated.
#3. What do you need to do to get the product-market fit?
Everything. When we say this, what we mean is relooking at your product critically. Rewrite the product you think is near perfect, look at new markets, change your staff if they aren’t working out, get in touch with your customers with utmost honesty and always try as hard as possible to get more capital and maybe a little more.
You need to get your hands dirty, get right down to it and not look at anything else that does not hold importance.
Instagram, Twitter, Anyperk – all of these and many other sites have revamped their processes and obtained spectacular results. This is because they did not shy away from drastically changing their course from what was planned originally to find their product-market fit.
#4. You need to be in touch with your customers
This is one skill you need to master completely to get the right product-market fit. You need to know what your customers want, and what will make them stay or even become your salespeople. There is an inherent need to cultivate your customers and be in regular touch with them.
#5. Size it up for your own good
There is an intrinsic need to measure your product-market fit as soon as possible. This is because it will expressively influence how you run your startup. If you still haven’t even touched your ideal product-market fit, then it is extremely important to focus on improving the number of customers who are in love with your product and claim to be sad in its absence. Engage with existing users and get in-depth knowledge about what makes your product so indispensable and liked. Sometimes, it might be as easy as stressing on a wonderful attribute of your product. In other circumstances, it could require some product revisions or improvements.
#6. Product-market fit is just not the marketing team’s job
Once each and every employee in the organization understands that it is everyone’s job to achieve the near-perfect product-market fit, it becomes easier for them all. It will not be a tireless journey, nor will it fall into your lap easily. It will be like a maze where everyone will be required to negotiate their ways in and out of it. And after being lost in that maze for eons, maybe you’ll realize that you need to get back to the starting point again.
All members of a particular team have pre-defined roles to play. From the ones who build the projects, to those who make decisions that matter, to those who are in touch with the customers – everyone should have a clear purpose.
#7. Like humans, markets are also quite unequal
A good market to operate in would essentially have a very large number of prospects. There would also be huge opportunities for growth in the number of potential users. But markets are simply not equal or great all the time. The right product-market fit means that you’ve not only found a product, but also a market that is need of the product. You need to gauge if the market is cheap, small or will dry up soon. So, there is a requirement of finding a good market, not just any market.
A great market will let you implement your product with ease, and help you with figuring out the competitive attributes as well. You can choose some key features which help your product stand out from the rest, and then work on those extensively.
#8. Go right ahead now and scale it up
Having reached the product-market fit, you will now have to concentrate on scaling your business as well. One of the ways of doing so is with a meaningful promise. Talk about the advantages that your loyal customers swear by. Look at the predicted revenue by implementing strategies that let you profitably acquire other users. After this, you can put a process in place that will help with repeatable and scalable customer acquisition, by improving and enhancing the product.
#9. Don’t get complacent and think you have it all
Now that you think you’ve upped the ante and are doing really well, you need to stay aware and competitive as well. You may have a fabulous product-market fit, but there is just about no surety that it will remain that way in the coming months. Maybe a new player might enter the scene and upset the apple cart. The best example would be to take a look at the publishing industry, and how the internet has impacted their revenues.
For the right product-market fit, you need to know what’s happening around you and the industry you operate in. You also need to be ready to take these challenges head-on and anticipate changes that might happen in the market.
#10. Myths surrounding Product-Market Fit
There are some common myths that come with Product market fit. But like mentioned, they are just that – myths:
Once you have a good product-market fit, you don’t have to care about your competition at all.
A product-market fit is almost always a super event that happens in isolated conditions.
There is an obvious sign that presents itself when you figure out the optimum product-market fit.
Once you achieve this product-market fit, it stays put and you don’t have to do anything about it ever again.
#11. What keeps people from trying to get the fit?
One of the primary obstacles that prevent people from even attempting to find the correct product-market fit is that they believe that they’re successful even without it. A lot of strategists call this state ‘mediocre success’.
The marketers are pleased with the generation of enough sales, payment of bills on time and meeting various other expenses. But, they still haven’t generated break-out success that lets them know that this is the way to go for them.
Just like it’s easy to differentiate between failure and success, it’s a tad difficult to point a finger in the direction of mediocre accomplishments. But, once you know that you deserve and need better, you should work towards getting the product-market fit even if you’re a late arrival on the scene.
In a nutshell, you need to:
1) Look for repeated and organic use
2) Study implicit behaviours that may be leading to stickiness
3) Ensure the usage of latest technology in your company that enables you to find these latest market trends
4) Keep on trying till you reach the goal of achieving your market fit
So, get your act together and work it out for your own good!
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