Selling a Kick in the Ass – Product/Market Fit

(This is part of a series of posts about testing product/market fit. You can download the Product/Market Fit Storyboard here.)

Back to the basics.

“Everyone” is not our customer.

Neither are “Consumers” or “SMBs.”

Unless the problem we are solving is death, not everyone wants our solution. Click To Tweet

product market fit - problems everyone has - the grim reaperEven then, not everyone wants our Grim-Reaper-Be-Gone! Spray. Some people just want to check out this of this madhouse.

(In case you were thinking it, taxes aren’t a problem for everyone either.)

But let’s say our product solves a pain worse than death & taxes and everyone will want it. Even then, we have to start with the early adopters or earlyvangelists as Steve Blank defines them:

  • They have a problem.
  • They understand they have a problem.
  • They are actively searching for a solution and has a timetable for finding it.
  • The problem is painful enough that they have cobbled together an interim solution.
  • They have, or can quickly acquire, dollars to purchase the product to solve their problem.

I’ll amend the last point.

  • They have, or can quickly acquire dollars or time to invest in a product to solve their problem.

(I add time as a form of payment because in some business models we’re asking end users to pay us with their attention and/or data. Monetization is done via sale of data or attention span.)

The earlyvangelist criteria applies to Customers and Users.

“But they don’t know they have a problem!”

product market fit - everyone knows someone who needs a kick in the assWilliam Pietri explains this elegantly:

We all know plenty of people who need a kick in the ass. But few people want one, and even fewer will pay.

Sure, maybe we think there are people who don’t know they need to quit smoking and eat a salad. So what?

Wouldn’t it be easier to start by selling to the people who actively want to quit and actively request help with their nutrition?

How will you even advertise to people who aren’t looking for a solution? What keyword do people not searching for help to quit smoking use?

You would have to educate the market with non-targeted advertising. Do you have the money for a Superbowl ad?

Even if we're selling something everyone needs, we first sell to those who want. Click To Tweet

Fixing the Customer Persona

product/market fit - The Four Parts of an MVP in the StoryboardIf you’re following along with the Product/Market Fit Storyboard, it’s time to adjust your persona.

Again, make sure your persona has an observable behaviors and a causal relationship. The behaviors should indicate that the customer is an early adopter because they customer is actively looking for a solution.

  • Where are they looking for solution? Asking friends? Asking on Quora? Reading blogs?
  • Which of their behaviors indicates they are putting together a makeshift solutions?
  • What behaviors tell you they have a budget?

If you can’t answer theses questions, you’re not ready to test Product / Market Fit. It’s time to start talking to customers.

(To be continued…)

Discussion (2 comments)

  1. Andrew Hand says:

    Hey Tristan, good post and points. I recently finished the Lean Startup and really enjoyed it. Though I must say, at a few points it made my head spin :-). I like how readable your post was…also cool to see you were in the music biz!

    Thanks for sharing this,


    1. Tristan says:

      Thanks Andrew! I wish I saw more people applying lean to music projects. That would be a revolution.

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