The product development journey is a difficult one with many pitfalls. Product startups and mid-sized companies face it despite years of experience in the industry. The philosophy of lifelong learning finds its place here. To err is human, we all make mistakes, but we can also learn from the mistakes of others.
We suggest you delve into ideas and tactics based on the experiences of people who have made a lot of mistakes before creating products that have been so successful. In this article, you’ll find a mix of best practices that will help you find a product that’s right for the market, and quotes from thought leaders and founders of global product development companies.
What is a product strategy and why your brand needs it
At the heart of it, a product strategy is a product roadmap that describes the end-to-end vision of the product, sets the overall context in terms of what the product will become and how it can find its fit. perfect with the market.
The foundation of any product strategy is the desire to get customers to recognize the value of the product, to tell others about their great experience with the product, and to help the company replicate a great experience for new users. . Market fit occurs when the company’s value proposition, customers, and distribution channels align. The balance of the three is necessary to ensure the long term success of the product.
According to Forbes Magazine, a product-to-market fit occurs when a brand can satisfy a problem with burning hair that a significant number of people have. It is also defined as a scenario where a product can meet the needs of the customer in a way that similar brands cannot.
“To be successful, the product must be ‘flexible’ and injected in a timely manner with a dose of necessary changes. This is the only way to find a perfect fit with the market and to offer target users exactly what they need. The product is made not only by people but also by a dynamic improvement process, it is like a living organism. – Dima Venglinski, CEO and founder of Fire art studio, a product design and development company.
Product-market fit objectives for startups
“At the heart of every product is the desire to make someone’s life easier or simpler. If we listen to the customer and give them what they need, they will respond with love and loyalty to your brand. – Francis Brown, Head of Product Development at Alaska Airlines
Find your target audience
The first step to product success is figuring out who the users are that represent your target audience. These are the people who will benefit the most from your product. Probably there are several groups of potential customers. Use market segments to identify who your ideal customer is.
By the concept of “ideal customer” we mean a particular archetype with a set of particularities applicable to all people whose needs can be met by your product. The customer image (archetype) will help your team understand who they are creating a product towards. This research generally consists of three stages:
- Analyze your product / service;
- Investigate your competition;
- Selection of segmentation criteria;
- Conduct the research itself.
In the last step, companies create an ultimate customer image, a buyer personality, and determine which “part” of that personality they need to target in order to find a suitable product for the market. This research is based on the questions prepared in advance. Once done, the results should be shared with all executives for effective collaboration on the project.
Find out how to make your product a pain reliever. Talk to your audience to find their weak points
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation
The second most important characteristic of a successful product is that it solves the right problems. Not imaginative symptoms or problems, but the underlying problems. You have to keep in mind that you are not your end user. You can think differently. Try to identify the real issues facing your target audience, by completing questionnaires for your customers or collecting user feedback from your sales and customer support teams.
Talk to your marketing and support teams to get valuable insight into user complaints. This will help you identify customer weaknesses and create a product that addresses those challenges.
Do not diffuse the attention – Focus on a single vertical
The challenge common to all startups is a low budget. But remember that the jungle can be cultivated from seeds. Start by focusing on narrow product specifics that satisfy the small group of customers, but it does it brilliantly. It’s best not to try to cover the huge audience because attempts to sell a product to a larger group of people can end in a real financial disaster for a startup.
Focus your attention and effort on a narrow goal, but dive deep into that area. At the start of the journey, your product may only have a few features, but they should completely eliminate user issues and do it like no one else in the market. Present your uniqueness to a smaller audience. When your product wins their hearts and you see sales, start thinking about what to do to make your product meet the needs of more people.
Try to find the gap in the market and make it your own. Offer your target users something unique, even if it only covers a small audience. Your first task is simply to tailor your product perfectly to their needs.
Identify your value proposition
“Creativity is discovering a question that has never been asked. If someone raises an idiosyncratic question, the answer they give will necessarily be unique as well. ” -Kenya Hara, graphic designer, curator and Japanese writer
Figure out what your customers need and how you can outperform alternative products that provide the public with solutions to their problems. Determine the customer needs that your product can best meet, make them essential parts of a product promotion strategy, and start building your marketing around them.
The diameter of your value proposition will grow over time, but it is recommended that you start by customizing a product that addresses the most important and specific user issues. For example, Spotify has defined its value proposition as the streaming service that offers on-property access, offering data-driven personalization and the ability to unbundle content.
Measure the suitability of your product for the market
Success is a measurable value. To be aware of what you need to improve to achieve even greater success and what you’re already good at, you need to define key data points that will help you track your performance. First, start by determining your TAM (total address market), or in other words, the total number of people who can benefit from your product.
The TAM is calculated by multiplying your Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) by the total number of leads in the market. When your TAM is identified, determine the percentage of TAM that matches your actual customers.
Keeping abreast of client needs
If your product seems perfectly suited to the market, that doesn’t mean it’s time to kick back and relax. To stay competitive and relevant to your target users, you need to continually research customer needs as they are changing all the time. Keep in mind that a product is a success if it is continuously developed and adapted in a timely manner to necessary changes.
Stay patient and perseverant towards your goals. Finding a suitable product for the market is neither easy nor quick, however, it is worth it. With the right knowledge for the market, your team can create a great product much easier and faster. Your customers and other interested parties will become your marketing effort and help you increase your success. Hope this article helps you understand the topic better and update your product strategy.