Product Marketing — Product Market Fit & User Research
2020 forced a lot of business to go back to the drawing board.
Companies have been trying to double down on lead generation or pull in new business. From afar it makes sense when you consider everyone is just trying to mitigate loss and keep cashflow up. However, for a lot of industries during Covid, chasing down new business is a tall order.
Finding product-market fit is the first, most difficult, and time heavy challenge a new product will experience in the marketplace. Hence, this is why it is important to complete through user research when looking to crack product-market fit.
Background Research to Understand Your Market
Exploratory research will give you insight as to whether you should launch a new product or rethink your original idea. This type of research is beneficial when you’re first finding product-market fit, but also when you want to further understand the gaps in your market as you plan new product feature releases.
The main objective of this type of research is to understand the needs of your target demographic and the market at large. Once you identify the needs, then you also identify opportunities for you to introduce new products into the market.
Clearly Defined Target Audience
Companies without well-developed buyer personas in place before your product launch often run blunt campaigns that target broadly and return little ROI. The macros are time, resources are lost and little commercial return yielded.
Businesses who held their breath and paused large marketing spend to invest in user research typically had a stronger Q3 and Q4. This process starts with identifying your audience’s specific pain points and getting to the core of what they want.
For example, pain points for a C-suite executive would likely be much different than those of a manager. The executive would likely be more concerned with budgetary constraints and urgency for a high-priority, cross-departmental solution. A manager, however, might be challenged with ineffective communications or technology overload, and therefore more concerned about individual workflow and bottlenecks to daily operations.
Don’t stop at just pain points, however — dig even deeper to find out how your target audience makes purchase decisions, what their current brand preferences are, and what kind of content they interact with the most.
Partner with Sales
Sales can be a bottomless pool of information in this process, as they likely have the greatest access to your target audiences and have become intimately familiar with their daily challenges and frustrations.
Partner with sales leaders to infirm the product market fit process. Work together to better understand your audience and refine your messaging to be an irresistible solution that speaks directly to their needs.
Identify Your Value Props and Write Crystal-Clear Messaging
B2B Product Marketing is dependent on clearly communicating how the product solves real business challenges — pain points.If you succeed in identifying the customer pain points of the people in your market you’ve got a chance at finding product market fit. I recently scrolled across this quote and it came to mind when typing this article.
“At the heart of every product person, there’s a desire to make someone’s life easier or simpler. If we listen to the customer and give them what they need, they’ll reciprocate with love and loyalty to your brand.” — Francis Brown, Product Development Manager at Alaska Airlines
Solve the pain and communicate it simply. People don’t buy accounting software because they love accounting software. They buy it to solve an issue in their daily work. Basecamp looks to serve their market by offering more than just the core tool.
‘Basecamp is more than just a project management tool — it’s a better way to work.’’ They offer optimised workflow planning.
This messaging hits right at the ‘why’ when somebody buys them. People don’t care about tags, milestones of trello boards. They care about an easier life planning work sense. Write about the issues that people have not the tool.
The next step is to create clear messaging.
When it comes to product messaging, the key is to very communicate what acute problem you are solving within their business operations — quickly.
You will all be aware of the now quote from Rudyard Kipling; “I keep six honest serving men, They taught me all I knew; Their names are What and Why and When, And How and Where and Who..”
If your messaging doesn’t immediately communicate value specific to their needs, you’ve lost them already. No pressure.
In 2020 many learned the hard way, you can’t have product-market fit without first getting message-market fit.
A knee jerk to pull in new business as economies stalled forced many in to pushing half baked product sets to market with little success.
Key takeaway message
The one-liner you use to describe your product should allow your target audience to immediately understand the gist of what you do. It could be the problem that you’re solving in THEIR lives or a solution that they’re likely to be looking for. Either way, it needs to resonate, get them curious and asking you questions to learn more.
But it all starts at user research.
Daniel is a Senior Marketing Professional working in the SaaS B2B industry. Based in Ireland. Passionate about Sport, Product Marketing and Remote Work