Product Update

Why having the right product fit is important to scale

Mar 15, 2024
min read

At Humi, we know how vital the right knowledge and tools are for growth, and we're constantly on the lookout for ways to enrich our content and bring you insights that matter. That’s why we've partnered with the brilliant minds at Borderless AI to bring you this guest blog, in which we explore the critical role of product-market fit in scaling your business. With their expert advice, Borderless AI sheds light on ensuring your product resonates well with your target audience. 

About Borderless AI

Borderless AI enables businesses to compliantly hire and manage talent worldwide without establishing a foreign entity. We alleviate the complexities and risks associated with hiring global employees with zero deposits, dedicated in-house support, and AI-powered global employment law resources.

Let's dive in!

From business growth and acquiring loyal customers, to product development and scaling opportunities, having the right product fit is exceptionally important. 

Whether you're a successful business or a startup looking to achieve great heights, having the right product fit is important for scaling any business. But what is a product fit, and how can businesses achieve it? 

To answer these questions, we need to start from the beginning. 

For any business to grow and achieve its financial goals, it needs to provide a quality service or offer a product. But, simply creating a product or service isn’t enough. Your product must meet the needs and requirements of the target audience and target market. Transforming your product to ensure that it has market demand requires a strong approach to product development. 

And this is where product-market fit comes in. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the various steps to achieving a good product-market fit, the challenges businesses can face without it, and useful strategies to help achieve an excellent product-market fit long-term. 

What is product-market fit? 

Product-market fit is the term given to a product that can satisfy the needs of a target audience in a viable market. It is a measurement of how well your product satisfies the needs and wants of the specific market and the target customers. To reach this milestone and achieve product-market fit, you cannot skip market research and evaluation. 

By gaining a deeper understanding of the market, the problems it faces, and the solutions customers are looking for, you can enhance your product and lay the foundations of your future growth. 

Product-market fit significance

Attaining market fit is no small achievement. It means there is a strong demand for your product and that it meets the requirements of existing customers. This can lead to an increase in revenue and brand recognition. 

Apart from an increase in sales and the obvious value proposition, there are plenty of other significant reasons why product fit is pivotal for startups and established businesses alike. 

One reason is its ability to help companies create a sustainable and competitive advantage in the market. When a product meets the needs and preferences of its targeted customers better than any other competing product or business, it becomes difficult for competitors to replicate or surpass its success. This allows businesses to establish themselves as a leader in the market and to have control over setting a reasonable price for their products. 

Another reason why market fit is significant is its ability to help businesses attract and retain a large customer base – one that’s also loyal. When customers find a product that perfectly meets their needs, they are more likely to continue purchasing from the same company and to recommend the product to others. This leads to effective word-of-mouth marketing at a very low cost since your business can take advantage of the benefits of organic growth.

And that’s not all. 

Product-market fit is significant for businesses looking to scale, as it enables more informed decision-making. Market fit requires good market research and product knowledge on an administrative level. With market and product proficiency, CEOs and founders can develop an effective market fit strategy to optimize product offerings and even make data-driven decisions that lead to growth within the business. 

Achieving a good product-market fit 

You know you’ve achieved product-market fit when your product meets the real needs of the market and resonates with the target customer. But, achieving a good product fit often involves several key factors. 

From market research and customer feedback to product development and flexibility, here’s how you can develop a minimum viable product into one that fits the market. 

Market research

Thorough research includes identifying the characteristics, preferences, and pain points of your clients. This will help you address the specific needs and wants of your target audience. 

Market research provides valuable insights into the preferences of your target market and aids in product development that aligns with customer demands. Comprehensive market research provides businesses with the means to further enhance their product,  make informed decisions, and build effective marketing strategies to boost startup growth. 

How do you conduct market research?

Market research is a multi-step yet effective process. Each step provides valuable insights and acts as a means for measuring product-market fit.

The first step is to define the objectives of your research. The specific information needed to gauge product-market fit may include customer demographics, consumer buying behaviours, and competitors' offerings. 

Once you identify your objectives and the information needed, it’s time to determine the research methodology. Identify what research techniques will work best for you and the type of research you plan to conduct. Some research methodologies include surveys, focus groups, or interviews. 

Based on your research objectives and the available resources you have at hand, you can get creative with the research methodologies you use. During this step, it is important to consider the sample size and method to ensure the research findings accurately represent your target market.

With all the planning out of the way, you can focus on conducting market research and data collection. You can reach out to potential customers, conduct surveys or interviews, and start analyzing the data. 

It is crucial to ensure that your data is reliable and represents the various diverse groups present within your targeted markets. 

Next, you analyze and interpret your findings. This step involves organizing and summarizing the data so that you can identify key patterns, trends, and insights. Identify the existing gaps in the market, customer pain points, and areas where your product can provide a unique value proposition.

Customer feedback 

Customer feedback provides valuable insights, sheds light on the customer's perspective, and can even help mitigate design flaws within your product. 

To gather customer feedback, there are a variety of methods you can use. A popular option is to conduct surveys or questionnaires either online or in person. These surveys are qualitative and quantitative metrics since they provide businesses with ratings, rankings, open-ended responses, and even suggestions. Not only do surveys assist with customer satisfaction, but they also provide the means to measure product-market fit. 

Interviews and focus groups are another effective method for businesses to collect customer feedback. Ask probing questions and actively listen to their responses to gain valuable insights that may not arise from surveys alone. Since interviews and focus groups allow for open discussion, they are often an ideal way for businesses to gain insight into their products and how customers use them. 

Social media and online platforms are another quick and easy way to gain insight into what customers and critics truly think of your product. Since these platforms often provide unsolicited opinions, they can reveal valuable insights into customer satisfaction and potential areas for improvement.

Achieving a good product-market fit is an ongoing process. Customer feedback should be continuously sought and incorporated into your decision-making.  

Product development 

Product development is the process of introducing a newer version of the product to the market by evolving an existing product. 

With the market research you conducted and the customer feedback you've received, your product is ready to be revamped and reintroduced in a market where it will cater to the needs of all your potential customers. 

Since your improved product is designed based on the feedback and suggestions of your target customers and the requirements of the market, you are more likely to avoid potential mismatches and better align your product with your customer's needs.

During the product development stage, you can also test your product in real time by launching your product in a controlled environment. As the market evolves and the needs of your customers change, continue to develop your product to ensure it continues to meet the requirements of its users. 

Flexibility and feedback

Product-market fit requires flexibility and openness to feedback to differentiate your business from other industry leaders. 

Remain flexible to implement ongoing adjustments and improvements as you receive feedback. It is flexibility that allows you to adapt and tweak your product based on the suggestions you receive. 

After product launch, you can add new features, change aspects of the product, or even adjust the price. 

Openness to feedback is equally as important as flexibility. Customer feedback is a valuable tool that helps you guide and refine your product. By actively listening and being open to feedback, you can make informed decisions to refine and enhance your product to meet the ever-changing needs and requirements of your customers. 

Indicators of a strong product-market fit

How do you know when you’ve achieved product-market fit? Here are a few indicators to look out for.

Target customer satisfaction and retention

You know you're doing something right when your ideal customer is satisfied and you have minimal customer churn.  Keep track of data, such as customer reviews, how many customers are buying your product, and how many are recommending and re-buying your product to gauge your customer satisfaction and retention. 

Attract attention

When your product starts to gain attention from industry influencers, leaders, and targeted customers, it's a strong sign that your product has made its place in the market. When industry experts and leaders endorse your product, it signifies credibility and recognition. 

The attention your product receives on various social media platforms and advertising platforms is another indicator of a strong product-market fit. When prospects and customers endorse your product, it clearly meets the needs of your target market.

Revenue growth

Revenue growth is another way to determine product-market fit. If your business generates consistent and increasing revenue, it often means that customers like your product and see the value of investing in it. 

Track and compare the sale cycle of your product to get quantitative measurements of your revenue growth. An increase in revenue is always a good indicator of a strong product fitting into the target market!

Other indicators 

Apart from revenue growth, attention, and customer satisfaction, various other tests and metrics can indicate whether or not your product has a strong product-market fit. Some of these indicators include the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and the Sean Ellis Test.  

Challenges faced

Having a clear product-market fit is essential for businesses because, without it, they’ll run into challenges that hinder the growth of their business. 

One major challenge is the inability to meet the needs and wants of their target audience. When a business does not conduct the appropriate market research or does not acquire the necessary market knowledge, it is challenging to meet the market's demands. Without a clear understanding, businesses can end up wasting resources and talent in developing products that do not meet market standards.  

Another challenge faced due to the lack of clear product-market fit is the increase in competition with other leading businesses. Without a clear product-market fit, businesses may struggle to differentiate themselves from competitors and stand out in the market. This will often lead to a shared market where businesses will lack the loyalty of their customers. 

However, by developing a clear product-market fit, you can provide your consumers with a product that’s perfectly tailored to meet their specific needs. 

It will also be difficult for consumers to differentiate between businesses since a crowded market will have various businesses offering similar products. This will lead to a decrease in growth opportunities and revenue as you will blend right in and attract or retain a limited pool of customers. 

Having a clear product-market fit also means acquiring a deep understanding of the target market and its requirements. Without this knowledge, your business will face challenges in marketing and developing your product. Eventually, this will lead to difficulty in scaling and expanding. 

Strategies to achieve market-fit

From customer engagement and market analysis to continuous product development, it's essential to determine product-market fit strategies that increase your company's chance of success and growth opportunities. 

Customer engagement 

Customer engagement is arguably one of the most important aspects of being market fit. Since customers are the targeted audience, and their requirements and feedback create the foundation for your product, businesses must engage with them. 

Effective customer engagement strategies assist businesses in building strong relationships with customers, foster a sense of loyalty, and drive sales through word-of-mouth advertising. 

Marketing campaigns, personalized emails, and product recommendations based on past purchases are all useful strategies to make customers feel valued while providing them with a personalized experience. 

Foster a strong sense of community by creating spaces where customers can connect, such as online forums or social media groups. 

With customer engagement strategies, businesses can prioritize continuous improvement and innovation. Regularly analyze customer data and feedback to identify areas of improvement.

Market analysis 

Market analysis is a pivotal component of achieving product-market fit. Since the market is constantly changing and evolving to meet the requirements of its users, businesses also need to stay updated and make changes as needed. This can only be achieved by conducting regular market research and accurately analyzing research. 

From identifying customer buying patterns to staying updated with the latest trends, market analysis has the answer to it all. It’s crucial to identify your competitors and their products and develop practical strategies to enhance your products. 

Continuous product development

Continuous product development is necessary for refining your product based on customer feedback and market demands. It allows you to stay ahead of the competition and ensure that your product remains relevant in an ever-changing industry.  

Surveys, interviews, and even monitoring and analyzing customer buying patterns are all industry-standard strategies that ensure continuous product development. However, it is also beneficial to encourage cross-functional collaboration and communication among various departments within a business. 

Whether it’s your newly hired HR representative or a remote international employee, it can be advantageous for the entire team to attend meetings, brainstorm, and collaborate to generate new ideas and solutions to better enhance your product. 

New technology and tech professionals around the globe also help gather insights about your product performance and assist in making data-driven decisions. 

Topics in this article
Subscribe to Humi Blog
You can unsubscribe anytime. Privacy policy.

Subscribe to Think with Humi

Advice from Humi's leaders

Our newsletter is written by some of the brightest minds at Humi, with expertise in a wide range of topics: from customer experience to finance, and everything in between.

Not your typical content

We know that the world of business is constantly evolving – so you don’t need to be told the same advice you've been hearing for years. We keep things fresh and give you innovative ideas that come out of our experiences working at a startup.

Practical resources

We always try to provide a list of resources that we find useful. If a template or an article has helped us, it’s probably going to help you too.

Explore Topics