Beyond the ever-elusive PMF
Product-Market Fit (PMF) is critical for a product to appeal, attract and accumulate ardent users. Don’t get me wrong. But PMF is just table stakes in a startup’s or even an established company’s journey to achieve growth at scale.
To achieve scale, one must see, plan and strategize beyond PMF. One might argue that PMF is simply evasive or even irrelevant in some cases. Think of the way Henry Ford classically quoted how he would have made carriages that run faster and pull more if he went figuring out what customers wanted; as against inventing the consumer automobile market.
Steve Jobs classical “reality distortion” theory comes into play here. Iconic founders and market leaders possess the ability to position a product/service way beyond its perceived value.
Along with Steve, leaders like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Phil McKnight and Marc Benioff belong to this category. These leaders articulated a grander vision, mission and purpose of their company. That made customers perceive the value they receive from these companies in a completely different light and hence take pride in associating with it.
How to attain Product-Market-Sales Fit?
Products by themselves hardly sell, as in the theory of a mirror and a beautiful woman. Even a mirror of a rich beautiful woman would show how good she looks ONLY when she comes in front of the mirror. Deep, right!
So “positioning” is a very critical aspect in determining the success of a business. Sometimes the emotions created by iconic positioning might go way beyond the product’s intended value. And that is sheer branding genius.
Products that are good in there differentiated value have won the hearts of the customers and hence disproportionate market share, compared to their competitors who, arguably might have better product features.
Companies tend to invest a lot in maniacally fine-tuning the product, while hardly investing in figuring out the optimal GTM Strategy, Product Branding, Value Proposition, Differentiated Positioning, and Price vs Value.
Product Leaders should focus on MVR…not just MVP
Minimum-Viable-Repeatability (MVR) is the panacea to the uber-obsessed product manager focused on MVP.
At MVR, the product is not only functional, but also saleable. And for that, engaging a sales leader and marketeer early on in the product evolution cycle is crucial.
Simply put, MVR differentiates a “good product” reaching growth at scale, from a “great product” that has not figured out the right way to position in the right markets at the right pricing/value proposition. Period.