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Why do so many products fail? Most products fail not because they are built or marketed poorly, but because they don't delight customers. The most important thing is to achieve product-market fit.
The Lean Startup Movement is known to help teams stay true to customer needs and rapidly build game-changing products. Read the summary of The Lean Product Playbook for a step-by-step process to identify target customers, measure feedback on your MVP, and ultimately create products that delight.
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What are some common reasons for products failing to achieve product-market fit?View answer
Some common reasons for products failing to achieve product-market fit include not adequately understanding the target customer's needs, not creating a unique value proposition, not defining a minimum viable product feature set that meets customer needs, and not testing the product with customers. Other reasons could be not separating the problem space from the solution space, and not identifying the right customer segment.
What are some examples of products that have achieved product-market fit using the Lean Product Process?View answer
The content does not provide specific examples of products that have achieved product-market fit using the Lean Product Process. However, many successful products in the market likely used a similar process, even if not explicitly named as such. The Lean Product Process is a common approach in product development, particularly in tech and startup environments.
What are some strategies to shortlist the Minimum Viable Product feature set?View answer
Some strategies to shortlist the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) feature set include identifying the target customers, understanding their underserved needs, and defining the product's value proposition. It's important to keep the problem space (customer needs) separate from the solution space (product design). Multiple solutions can solve each problem in the product space. The MVP should include only those features that address the key needs of the target customers and differentiate the product from existing alternatives.
Most products fail because they don't meet customer needs better than the alternatives available. Therefore, achieving product-market fit is the key to creating a successful product. product-market fit means building a product that creates significant customer value and meets needs better than every alternative. The Product Market Pyramid is an actionable framework to achieve such product-market fit.
What are some successful products that have used the Product Market Pyramid?View answer
The content does not provide specific examples of successful products that have used the Product Market Pyramid. However, many successful products in the market likely used a similar approach to achieve product-market fit, even if they did not specifically refer to it as the Product Market Pyramid.
How does product-market fit affect the overall success of a business?View answer
Product-market fit significantly affects the overall success of a business. It means building a product that creates significant customer value and meets needs better than every alternative. If a product doesn't meet customer needs better than the alternatives available, it's likely to fail. Therefore, achieving product-market fit is key to creating a successful product.
What are the consequences of not meeting customer needs?View answer
Not meeting customer needs can lead to product failure as it may not provide more value than its alternatives. This can result in loss of market share, decreased sales, and ultimately, business failure. It's crucial to achieve product-market fit, which means creating a product that significantly meets customer needs better than any alternatives.
The pyramid has five layers grouped into a market section at the bottom and a product section on the top. Each layer of the pyramid depends on the layer below it. The Product Market Pyramid applies to both products and services.
The market for a product is the set of all existing and potential customers that share a set of related needs. Market size is measured in terms of the number of customers or total revenue generated. The Product Market Pyramid maps the market into an underlying Target Customer segment and followed by an Underserved Needs segment. This is because needs that aren't met can be identified only after selecting the Target Customers.
How can a company use the Product Market Pyramid to improve its product development process?View answer
A company can use the Product Market Pyramid to improve its product development process by first identifying its target customer segment. This allows the company to understand the needs and wants of its potential customers. Then, the company can identify the underserved needs within this segment. By focusing on these underserved needs, the company can develop products that meet these needs, thus improving their product development process and potentially increasing their market share.
What are some strategies for increasing total revenue generated by a product?View answer
There are several strategies to increase the total revenue generated by a product. These include: \n\n1. Increasing the price of the product, provided the demand is inelastic. \n2. Enhancing the product's features or quality to justify a higher price. \n3. Expanding the market by finding new customer segments or geographical areas. \n4. Cross-selling or bundling the product with other products or services. \n5. Implementing effective marketing and promotional strategies to increase product visibility and attract more customers. \n6. Offering discounts or incentives for bulk purchases or long-term contracts. \n7. Improving customer service to increase customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
What are some examples of products that failed due to not properly identifying their Target Customers or Underserved Needs?View answer
Some examples of products that failed due to not properly identifying their target customers or underserved needs include the Ford Edsel, New Coke, and Google Glass. The Ford Edsel failed because it was marketed to a segment that didn't exist. New Coke failed because Coca-Cola misjudged their customers' attachment to the original formula. Google Glass failed because it didn't meet a significant customer need and had privacy issues.
The third segment in the Product Market pyramid is Value Proposition. This is the set of specific customer needs that the product aims to address in ways better than the existing alternatives. This naturally leads to the fourth layer, the Feature Set. The Feature Set is the product features that are chosen to meet these customer needs. The topmost layer is the UX layer, which is the real-world product interface that customers will see and use.
What are some strategies for testing the effectiveness of the UX layer?View answer
Some strategies for testing the effectiveness of the UX layer include user testing, where you observe users interacting with your product to identify any issues or areas for improvement. Another strategy is A/B testing, where you compare two versions of your UX design to see which performs better. Surveys and feedback forms can also be used to gather user opinions on the UX design. Finally, analytics can be used to track user behavior and identify any patterns or trends that might indicate issues with the UX design.
How can market research contribute to defining the Value Proposition?View answer
Market research can contribute to defining the Value Proposition by identifying the specific needs and preferences of the target customers. It can provide insights into what customers value most, their pain points, and what they perceive as better than the existing alternatives. This information can then be used to design a product that addresses these needs in a superior way, thereby creating a compelling Value Proposition.
What are some examples of products that failed due to a weak Value Proposition?View answer
Some examples of products that failed due to a weak value proposition include the Microsoft Zune, which couldn't compete with the iPod's user experience and brand appeal, and the Google Glass, which had privacy issues and lacked clear use cases for the average consumer. Another example is the Segway, which was hyped as a revolutionary product but failed to deliver a compelling value proposition to a broad market.
The Lean Product Process helps to create a product-market fit by systematically working through each layer of the pyramid from top to bottom. This step-by-step process minimizes rework and creates rigor in product thinking. The Lean Startup Process consists of six steps:
While designing products, it is crucial to separate Problem Space and Solution Space. The Problem Space answers the question of what are the customer needs to be met. The Solution Space answers the question of how customer needs are met, including the design of the product and technology used. Poor Problem Space understanding gives rise to inside-out product development, where product ideas are based on what employees think is valuable. In contrast, an outside-in approach to product development begins with talking to customers to get a clear understanding of the Problem Space. In the Product Market Pyramid, the bottom three layers of Target Customer, Underserved Needs, and Value Proposition deal with the Problem Space, while Feature Set and User Experience deal with the Solution Space.
How to discover and capture underserved needs of a target market?View answer
To discover and capture underserved needs of a target market, you need to conduct thorough market research. This can be done through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observation.
Listen to your customers and potential customers. Understand their pain points, their needs, and their desires. Look for patterns and trends in their feedback.
Also, analyze your competitors. Identify what needs they are not meeting and see if you can fill that gap.
Once you've identified these underserved needs, you can then develop a value proposition that addresses them. This could be a unique feature, a lower price, or a better customer service.
Remember, the key is to understand your target market deeply and to continuously adapt to their changing needs.
The first step of the Lean Product Process is identifying the right customer segment. Companies define their target customers by capturing key attributes, including needs, demographics, psychographics, and behaviors. Demographics include group statistics like age, gender, income and education. In the case of B2B, firmographics is used instead. Psychographics classify people according to attitudes, values, opinions, and interests. Behavioral data segments based on the occurrence and frequency of behaviors. In some cases, the person who makes the purchase decision is different from the end-user. Therefore, it is useful to distinguish the two and identify their distinct needs.
Markets can be segmented on how quickly customers adapt to new technology. Tech enthusiasts passionate about innovation, and those who seek to gain an edge over others may adopt cutting-edge products even though they may not have usability issues. However, it is difficult to convince more conservative users who demand ease of use, simplicity, reliability, and reasonable pricing.
Create customer personas
Customer Personas are archetypes of users, their needs, and what they seek to achieve. They help the team align on a standard customer definition. A good Persona is a single-pager that is easy to understand and has relevant demographic, behavioral, and need-based attributes. Adding a photo and a quote that conveys what the customer cares about most makes the team empathize with the target customer in making decisions. Personas must be continually updated through one-on-one conversations with customers on an ongoing basis.
User Stories are an excellent way to capture customer needs. A good template for creating user stories is: ""As a [customer type], I want to [desired action] so that I can [expected benefit]."" The needs that the product will address are always written from the end-user perspective.
Customer needs begin as hypotheses that can be validated through one-one-one customer discovery interviews. In these interviews, each need is shared with the user, and they are asked to estimate how much value they perceive. Asking follow-up questions on why benefit matters can open up a deeper understanding of a core need beyond the superficial needs. A template for doing this is Toyota's model of asking ""Five Whys.""
The importance satisfaction framework for prioritizing needs
Importance is a problem space concept that measures how valuable a need is to a customer. Satisfaction is a solution-space concept that measures how happy a customer is with a particular solution.
The Sony Walkman was a disruptive innovation that allowed users to listen to music on the go for the first time. It shifted the satisfaction scale by redefining the customer experience. Apple repeated the same by launching the iPod. In contrast, the customer's Importance for listening to music on the go has remained constant. Therefore, when forced to choose between Satisfaction and Importance, it is better to prioritize Importance. The Importance and Satisfaction of each feature can be estimated by asking customers to rate them through questionnaires. Features with the least Satisfaction and the highest Importance values must be prioritized.
The Kano model
The Kano model divides customer needs into three categories: Must-have needs, Performance Needs and Delighters.
With time and growing competition, needs migrate from being Delighters to Performance needs to become Must-haves finally. The needs in the Kano model are hierarchical: The Must-have needs must be met first. Performance needs come later, and Delighters come last. This model helps us better prioritize needs and create a differentiated product.
Focusing on a specific set of related needs is crucial to creating a great product. The Product Value Proposition helps select the needs to address and why it is better than the market alternatives. The Must-have features are necessary for the product. Therefore, the core differentiators are the performance features to compete in and the delighters that are added.
How do you craft a value proposition for your product?View answer
Crafting a value proposition for your product involves several steps:
First, identify your target customer's needs and wants. Understand their pain points and how your product can solve them.
Second, clearly define what your product does and how it differs from the competition. This is your unique selling proposition.
Third, communicate the benefits of your product, not just its features. Explain how it improves the customer's life or solves their problems.
Fourth, validate your value proposition. Use customer feedback, surveys, or market research to ensure your value proposition resonates with your target audience.
Finally, articulate your value proposition in a clear, concise, and compelling manner. It should be easily understood and compelling enough to convince potential customers to choose your product over others.
Remember, a strong value proposition is specific, solves a recognized problem, and differentiates you from the competition.
A tool to create a Product Value Proposition is to make a table with the first column listing the must-haves, performance benefits, and delighters. There must be columns for each competitor and one for the product. Must-haves and delighters are filled with a simple yes, while each performance feature is rated high, medium, or low. This table helps us clearly articulate the value proposition along with how it is differentiated from competitors. To be prepared for future market shifts, we can add a near-future column to each competitor and the company's product to estimate future value.
To create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), we need to select the minimum functionality required to validate the product design. This step marks a transition from the problem space to the solution space. For each benefit in the Product Value Proposition, the team creatively brainstorms to come up with as many feature ideas as possible. This needs divergent thinking that allows for idea generation without judgments. For each benefit, the top five features are identified. Features can be captured as User Stories to retain the connection with the corresponding customer benefit. Good user stories must be independent, valuable, small, and testable.
Each user story is further broken into smaller pieces of functionality called Chunks to reduce the scope and build the most valuable parts of each feature. Smaller Chunks lead to faster turnaround and quicker feedback. After User Stories are made and chunked, developers assign points based on the amount of effort required. A Chunk that requires high points is broken into smaller pieces. Chunks that have high value and low development time are prioritized.
Finally, the team creates a list that maps each feature in the product value proposition with its corresponding Chunks organized by priority. First, Chunks must be selected to satisfy each Must-have Feature fully. Then, chunks must be chosen to achieve key Performance Features that have been chosen for outperforming the competition. Finally, the top Delighter Feature must also be present in the MVP for customers to see why the product is superior to competitors. The chunks that are not shortlisted are added to the tentative feature roadmap for the next version. This roadmap may be changed based on customer feedback on the MVP.
Minimum in MVP is not an excuse to produce a poor user experience. While the MVP might be minimal in terms of feature scope, it must be high quality to create customer value and test for improvement. MVP tests can be qualitative with direct customer interaction or quantitative to measure aggregate results at scale. While quantitative tests are good at answering ""what"" and ""how many,"" qualitative tests are crucial to understanding the ""why"" behind customer responses. Therefore, its best to begin with qualitative tests in the initial stages.
Qualitative marketing tests
Qualitative marketing tests involve showing customer marketing materials, including landing pages, brochures, and advertisements, and inviting feedback. An excellent way to see if the marketing material works as intended is the five-second test. Customers are shown the content for 5 seconds and then asked to share what they remembered and what they liked.
Quantitative marketing tests
These are usually large-scale tests that can be used to improve the rate of reaching prospects and converting prospects into customers.
Qualitative product tests
Qualitative tests are ideal for testing and improving Product-market fit. The quality of feedback in a product test depends on fidelity and Interactivity. Fidelity is how closely the artifact resembles the final product, and Interactivity is the extent to which a customer can interact with a live, working product.
Quantitative product tests
Quantitative tests can help the team measure how customers use their products.
Working closely with a product can make the team impervious to critical issues in the product. User Tests can uncover these blind spots within minutes. User Tests are best-done one-on-one with five to eight customers focusing on deep interaction. After making changes, another round of User Tests can be done.
Before conducting a test, scripts must be prepared that detail which parts of the product are shown, the tasks the user must accomplish, and the questions to be asked. User tests typically run for an hour with fifteen minutes of warm-up and user discovery, forty minutes of feedback on the product, and five minutes to wrap-up. It is essential to differentiate between feedback on how easy it was to use(usability) and how valuable the product is (product-market fit). User Testing must be done by carefully choosing customers from your target market. Otherwise, the data will be misleading.
The essence of lean development lies in quick iteration.
Hypothesize design test learn loop
In the Hypothesis step, the Problem Space hypothesis is formulated. Design Step is about finding the best way to test the hypothesis. After creating a design artifact, the Test step allows the team to verify their assumptions through customer testing. The Learn Step studies the results to understand the changes required leading to a better hypothesis. At every point, the team should identify which part of the Product-Market Fit Pyramid the new insight falls in. Changes in the lower layers will require reworking in all subsequent layers.
To pivot or not to pivot
If the product does not work as expected after multiple iterations, it is essential to take a step back and brainstorm on what the core issue is. It could be the case that a deeper problem is being solved on a more superficial level. If the brainstorming leads to a change in product direction, it is considered to be a pivot. If, after several rounds of iterations, Product-market fit is not achieved, then teams must consider pivoting.
Product teams must employ a ruthless focus on their core priorities. Deliberately keeping a narrow focus and rapid iteration based on customer feedback is key to designing products that create customer delight.
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