Written By Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation
What is your best tip to find product market fit?
To help you discover the best product market fit, we asked marketing professionals and entrepreneurs this question for their best insights. From interviewing potential customers to identifying your target demographic, there are several tips that may help you find the product market fit that best aligns with your product goals.
Here is what 10 thought-leaders had to say:
- Interview Potential Customers
- Create Products that Solve Problems
- Align Product Goals With the Market
- Conduct Market Research
- Send Examples Out First
- Do a Competitor Analysis
- Set a Single Vertical
- Measure Real-world Performance Parameters
- Release A Minimum Viable Product
- Identify Your Target Demographic
Interview Potential Customers
As Steve Blank said, “get out of the building.” Meaning, get out of your headspace and go interview the people who you “think” are your customers. Ask these people tons of questions about the value proposition, and whether they’d pay for the service. If they do say they’d pay, ask for their money on the spot. By interviewing the people who you “think” are your customers, you’ll quickly learn who your customers actually are and where your product fits on their priority list.
Brett Farmiloe, Terkel
Create Products that Solve a Problem
The best products that become part of your everyday life were created to solve a specific problem. As you develop your product, think about your target market and identify their pain points. Research their needs and how they are not currently being met. That was part of our product development for Kegelbell. We wanted to offer women a pelvic floor training solution that was both effective and inexpensive and have been thrilled to help so many women improve their bladder and bowel control, reduce their risk of pelvic organ prolapse, and treat Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). So, start with a problem and then identify how you can improve on or develop a new solution that addresses a given problem.
Stephanie Schull, Kegelbell
Align Product Goals With the Market
Market research is absolutely the best way to align product goals with the market for product fit. As an entrepreneur, you need to know the market, in order to assess market share and market growth potential in order to identify the potential for a cash cow, star product, etc. Technology has made market research quite convenient, with access to endless amounts of data to analyze in a way that helps to align your product goals with the market for the best possible fit.
Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
Conduct Market Research
The best way to determine product fit for a market is to conduct market research. I’d recommend a limited launch of a product, or a free sample, to a small set of customers from different demographics. After some time, send them a survey, and they’ll share their thoughts which you can analyze to see where and how your product fits into the market, and who may end up buying it.
Brian Greenberg, Insurist
Send Examples Out First
Send out a round of example products to potential customers. This will give you direct feedback on how the product fits in the market and if the business will grow. It provides customer concerns and overall reviews for you before even getting directly in the business.
Olivia Young, Conscious Items
Do a Competitor Analysis
To find a product-market fit, it can be advantageous to see what your competition is up to. What products are they offering? How do their features differ from your own? What are their current marketing strategies? Doing a complete competitor analysis can help you ensure that you’re going a step beyond, and offering more to your customers than anyone else in your niche.
Lindsay McCormick, Bite
Set a Single Vertical
Often, businesses make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people, meaning they blanket market their product instead of narrowing their audience into a vertical. Start-up businesses almost always have small budgets. Of the 500,000 new companies that initiate business every year, only a thousand of them receive venture capital funds. Therefore, spending money on trying to reach a larger market can create cash flow problems, and many times, business failure.
It is best to start with a single focus or core element and develop your expertise to establish yourself in that market. When McDonalds began, it originally had an extensive menu and struggled. By focusing on a vertical, narrowing its selections to two items, and the speed at which they were prepared, it created a juggernaut. Developing your skills or product to fit a singular market will not only increase your success rate but establish a foundation to expand in the future.
Jeff Meeks, EnergyFit
Measure Real-world Performance Parameters
Nothing beats field testing to understand how the product fits into our real lives. While market research helps you project who your customers are and predict how your offering can solve their problems, field testing your product is the only way to truly evaluate its viability. Your theories and analysis can finally be tested via physical experiences. Without testing product performance in real environments, we can never know for sure what the customer reaction will be.
Hayley Albright, Xena Workwear
Release a Minimum Viable Product
Research can only do so much for your product. For one, it will prepare you for how your product might be accepted (or rejected) in the market. But the true litmus test is to launch the product and gather learnings from the experience. If it’s successful, then good for you. If it fails, then you still earn ‘learnings’ — use that data to reiterate and re-release.
Francine Kaye Acelar, Formicidae, LLC
Identify Your Target Demographic
You need to first decide what your target demographic is. Without having that in mind, you’re lacking in focus. By tailoring your product launches to a specific demographic, you can ensure that awareness of your product reaches those who stand to most benefit from it. It all starts with deciding what you want to sell, and to whom you want to sell it.
Ed Stevens, Preciate