How confident are you that your customers actively want your product? Most business owners understand just how important it is to appeal to your customers. If your customers don’t want, don’t need, or don’t understand your product, they’re not going to buy it. It’s not a fit for them. Fortunately, there are ways to measure consumer desire for your brand. You can determine the product market fit (PMF) for your products – sometimes, long before you launch them – and figure out whether you’ve hit the mark or not. That said, there are many ways this process can go wrong.
So you’ll need to adopt the right approach if you want to make it work.
What Is PMF?
Let’s start with the basics. Product market fit is a description of how good of a fit your product is for a target market. A product is considered a “fit” if it’s something the average consumer in this demographic would want and/or need.
Generally speaking, the higher the PMF score, the more your consumers will want to buy your product – and the longer they’re going to continue purchasing from your brand.
Because things like “consumer desire” are qualitative and hard to measure, PMF serves to simplify and quantify your product study. If done right, PMF can help you learn more about your target audience, improve the designs of your existing products, and possibly even help you brainstorm new products to develop.
The question is, how can you calculate it “right?”
Tips for Calculating PMF
If you want to calculate PMF for your products faster, more efficiently, and more reliably, make sure you follow these tips:
- Understand that PMF isn’t strictly quantifiable. Before delving into the world of PMF measurements, it’s important to understand that PMF isn’t strictly or universally quantifiable. Describing your PMF as a 8/10 might help you conceptualize your market fit, but it shouldn’t be taken as a measurement precise as something like ambient temperature. Moreover, there are many different sides of PMF to consider, so treating it as a singular and all-encompassing metric would be self-defeating.
- Incorporate different measurements and metrics. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to incorporate different measurements and metrics in your pursuit of better understanding PMF. The best way to evaluate PMF is through surveys (which we’ll dig into in a future point), but you’ll also need to think about sales (if your product is live), customer retention, customer attrition, and other metrics.
- Evaluate different audience segments. Your market research may have directed you to a single “ideal” target demographic, but if you’re early in the development of your business or your product, it’s worth evaluating product fit for different niche audiences. You might find that one audience segment has a higher or lower PMF than you expected.
- Utilize surveys. Surveys are the ideal tool for calculating PMF, since they allow you to ask customers a range of different questions. You can measure customer attitudes thanks to limited-response questions, and discover more about your product through the eyes of actual customers.
- Ask quantifiable questions. In your surveys, you should ask at least some quantifiable questions. For example, you can ask customers, “How much do you want to buy this product” and prompt them to respond on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the greatest amount of desire. Quantifiable questions like these allow you to assign a numerical value to the answers and evaluate it objectively.
- Ask open-ended questions too. Of course, it’s also important to ask some open-ended questions, allowing customers to tell you their thoughts in more complete sentences. This can give you insights that numbers simply cannot convey, even if it takes more time to process the answers.
- Automate whatever you can. Automation is key for this process, since manually conducting a survey would take a lot of work. By using the right tools, you can submit customer surveys on a regular basis and track your results – without spending dozens of hours to do it.
- Test iteratively. Make sure you test PMF iteratively. If you redesign and improve your product regularly, you’ll want to know its PMF through each stage of its evolution. If customers continue to use your product regularly, you’ll want to know if and how their attitudes change.
There’s a bit of wiggle room when it comes to product market fit. You might not ask the same survey questions as another brand, and you might not even have the same goals as another brand, even if it’s a direct competitor targeting the same demographics. But if you have a clear vision and the willingness to follow through with it, you’ll be in a much better position to serve your customers with a strong PMF.