What is product/customer fit and why do you need it?

Increase your profits with better product/customer fit

What is product/customer fit?

Customers, whether they be individuals and businesses, only have so much money that they can spend. For them to buy something, it needs to either take away a really big pain or give them a really big gain.

The purchase needs to be at the top of their ever-long 'To Do' list. As business owners, we can often get stuck thinking about things that are a minor improvement on what's out there already. But, it takes something big to change how we behave. Just ask about the time we tried to change toilet paper brands.

Why does your business need a good product/customer fit?

Save money

Whether you are launching a new business, launching a new product or growing your existing customer base, having a good fit between what you sell and who you sell it to means that your business will sell more while spending less on marketing and sales.

Find new opportunities

Understanding who buys which products means that you can test tweaks to the products you sell, how you sell them and/or who you sell them to. Questions to ask:

  • Is your marketing too 'general', which makes it difficult for customers to connect what you are selling to their biggest problems?

  • Do you have an existing product that would be better suited to another group of customers?

  • Can you make a small change to an existing product so that it better suits a specific group of customers?

How do you get product / customer fit?

Finding the right fit means you get to experiment

Products need to either give a big win or take away a big pain for customers

Do you start with customer then product?

Most business text books talk about starting with 'unmet demand' - the opportunity that no other business has identified in the market. They talk about understanding the customer, such as through a persona. This helps write down 'why' they they would buy from you (aka your customer value proposition). Sounds clever? 'Why' - the pain points, are important, but you need to know whether we are talking "I've stubbed my big toe" or "I think I might lose a limb"?

Or do you start with product then customer?

You've got this great idea that you think the world really needs. It's a genius idea that you have been tinkering on. But is it really 1000% better than what's already out there?

Minimum viable products are a great way to test whether a product is feasible. But, it's love that makes a customer switch to something new.

Why not both?

In our house, particularly if someone asks whether we should get beer OR wine, our typical response is 'Why not both?'. Incrementally developing products and services with customers in exchange for something (whether it be real money or an in-kind contribution) is the best way to test whether you are onto a winner. The ultimate challenge is whether customers are willing to hand over their hard-earned cash. Whether it be $1 or a carton of beer, any form of exchange validates that your product or service is on the right track. Each extra dollar you earn or don't earn answers this question. No other number matters.

Ignitzee's Business Alignment Health Check helps businesses find the right fit between what they sell, how they sell and who they sell it to. It takes tools commonly used in the startup industry and makes finding the right fit simple for growing businesses.

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