You have an amazing idea for a product and have decided to build a business around it. You’ve acquired a high-quality team, built a final product, and are ready to start releasing your product into the consumer sphere, all that remains is to market and sell it. Regardless of how awesome your product is, if you don’t know who to sell it to, success is highly unlikely for your business. Even more so, selling your product to the wrong market can be disastrous for your product, and financial success.
“Whether you have a high-quality product or a fantastic service, finding the best product-market fit in your industry, and being able to measure it may end up making or breaking your product sales.” – Lina Miranda, VP of Marketing, AdQuick
Here are five ways to measure and find product market fit in your industry.
1) Know What Product Market Fit Is
The first, and potentially most important thing regarding product-market fit is to understand what a product-market fit is. There are several resources for in-depth research regarding the business sciences of product market fit, but let’s quickly touch base on it to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.
“The failure of a product to understand consumers and the external factors that affect their decisions is a failure to find the right product/market fit. If there is no market for your product or if the market demand isn’t strong enough, it’s effectively dead in the water: no one will use it, and even worse, no one will pay for it” (Beck, Christopher.“What is Product/Market Fit?” Delighted by qualities, 2022).
In essence, product-market fit factors in what the demand for your product is, and who is demanding it. If there is no demand or need for your product, but your market is in the right niche, you are trying to sell something to people who don’t need it. If there is a high demand for your product, but you sell it to the wrong subject group, you are spending time and money on the wrong people.
“A great example would be rope. Let’s say that you’ve developed a high-quality, durable, and thin rope. You can produce it affordably, it is lightweight, and can hold a lot of weight. One direction for marketing this product may be to bring it to a construction, or home goods store. While there is some demand here, many in this industry may not need a rope of your stature. However, were you to market it to the climbing industry (while it may be a smaller market), the demand for high quality, the lightweight rope is high, and most of those you market to have a use for your product.” – Serdar Ozenalp, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Ocoza
This is only one example but does a fair job of demonstrating what a product market fit is.
2) Research, Research, Research
To find, and measure your product market fit, you need to research… a lot. This research stretches several categories. First and foremost, who did you make your product for, and why do they want it? While you may think that you are already fully aware of this, you may need to reach out to your prospective consumer and understand the purpose behind a desire for your product. Begin with this market research, and then continue to stretch your research out to other markets. You may be surprised to discover that there is a market you had not previously analyzed that is more interested in your product than the one you are initially targeting.
The next area of research you need to delve into is how your consumer market engages.
“If your consumer market is older, the best route for advertisement is likely, not social media. If you have a younger audience, word-of-mouth is probably not an effective route for marketing. Carefully discover the best groups for you to market to, and delineate your marketing mediums in order of effectiveness.” – Andrew Adamo, VP, Bullion Shark
“Aside from just being able to feel it, the most tangible way to assess your product-market fit and understand how consumers view your products is by sending them surveys. The questions in these surveys are pointed, and ask customers if they think your product is a must-have and if they would miss it if it were gone” (Kelly, Donald. “How to Determine Product Market Fit in Your Industry.” Hubspot, 2021).
3) Experimentation is Good
Experimentation is not a bad thing for your business as you pursue the best product-market fit for your industry service or product. You may discover that your market changes, or even find that word of mouth changes the people who purchase your product and what they utilize it for.
While experimentation is not a shortcoming for your product, passive experimentation is. Every action that you take should be active and calculated. Intentionally compile data, interact with customers, and focus on understanding the depths of your successes and failures within different markets and consumer groups.
4) How Can Your Product Serve Unmet Needs?
“One of the best ways to push your product forward is to examine what needs are not met by anything else on the market, or are not met as well as your product meets them. A necessary product is invaluable. Put effort into discovering this niche, and market your product outward from that point. When you have this intentional standing, you have unending space to grow your business, your customer base, and even to develop more areas where your product can be utilized.” – Randee Machina, Director of Marketing, Simple Pleasures
5) You Know Your Mission
While it is a broader piece of the consumer fit profile, you and your business are part of the mission behind your product. If you take this information with intentionality as you go forward, and invite your customers to participate in it, you create a sustainable, and passionate consumer base.