A product-market fit is an essential activity that should be executed even before the product is developed. That is especially necessary if you’re a startup that is yet to conquer the market, as you would know exactly what your customers want. That way, you would create a product suitable for their needs, instead of creating a product you think could be useful for someone.
Keep in mind that just because the idea you had seemed great in your mind, it doesn’t mean it will resonate well with the audience. It’s a fine line between the two, and it is crucial to decipher the difference to achieve that success you dreamed of. Here, we’ll cover the basics of a product-market fit to help you set up your own plan. That way, you can avoid mistakes that will cost you time and money.
What Exactly is a Product-Market Fit?
In simple words, it is the process of establishing your market, determining their needs, and acting accordingly. However, the process itself isn’t that simple, but when done properly, it will guarantee the successful launch of the product, for the audience it was created for.
Nonetheless, startups often struggle with it. They rush into the unknown with an unfitted product instead of taking their time to make sure to score the right market at the right time. It goes without saying that that’s a risky approach, often doomed to fail.
Next, we will cover the steps you need to make to create a sustainable product-market fit from the get-go.
A Step-by-Step Guide for a Perfect Product-Market Fit
Depending on the industry, your goal, or previous preparation, some steps may vary. However, we’ll list all the steps to help you understand if something is missing from your plan. Let’s begin!
Determining your Target Customer
You’re creating a product that helps solve someone’s problems. Identify your customers and define how well the product you’re developing is meeting their needs. Always look for feedback and improvement.
With enough data gathered, create a persona archetype that will help your developers understand for whom they are developing the product. Always keep in mind that you’re creating a solution that will help someone else, so you must adapt to the market and their real needs, regardless of your opinion. That’s where most startups fail.
Meeting the Underserved Customer Needs
Now that we have a persona archetype, we can determine if there’s a need that has not been met. This is the area where you can offer an extra value that your competitors failed to do. If you offer something unique that will help your audience, they’ll appreciate you for it.
What’s your Value Proposition?
What makes your product stand out? Why is it better than other similar products? Define your unique selling point and use it.
Now that you know your market and their needs, and you’re about to create the product that fits those needs, it should be easy to determine your value proposition. A good practice is to test it with your audience and get honest feedback once the idea of the product is ready for testing.
Determine your Minimum Viable Product Feature Set
This step is about setting up a minimum viable product features your product will include. Basically, you’re creating enough value that your customers can validate it, and detect if you’re going in the right direction. Repeat this step until you have a minimum viable product your customers claim is viable.
Creating your Minimum Viable Product Prototype
This prototype is designed for testing before building an actual product. Your target customers play an important role here, as they are going to test it, and provide you with first-hand feedback. Many prototyping tools simulate the products’ user experience and can be used for this purpose.
Testing your Minimum Viable Product with Customers
This step is one of the most challenging. It includes surveys, testings, screenings, finding a bigger amount of customers to test the prototype, and so on. However, you’re closer to launching your final product. This is your chance to observe what else you can improve, especially if you’re conducting tests in groups of few customers at a time.
Ask as many questions as necessary to get a real insight into their experience. And when you’re done, analyze the data and improve what can be improved!
Now that you have all the information you need, and all the feedback you could possibly get, you have all the grounds to build the perfect product. As a fun fact, compare the initial idea with the final product to see how it changed.
Furthermore, prepare for the marketing and sales activities, too. What’s the use of creating the product if nobody knows about it. There are many activities to consider, from social media marketing, paid promotions, influencers, mobile app advertising platforms, and so on.
Also, prepare and educate your sales team to know their audience, and to know their problems. You’re a startup company, there is a long road to success, and now, we covered the most important one.
In the End
One of the best stories on product-market fit topics is how the hairdryer was invented. When we think about it, people usually wash their hair before social gatherings. It’s only logical that a device that allows you to dry your hair faster would conquer the world. That is a real example of a perfect product-market fit.
Always remember that your idea might seem to be the best one, but if there is no need for it in the market, it’s just an idea that failed. That’s why the steps mentioned here are important – to minimize the risk of failing, losing your money, and time.