Finding the right product-market fit often feels like solving a riddle wrapped in an enigma. Will the market accept our product? Does the product make financial sense? These and more questions keep product managers awake at night.
Building products that make sense for both the company and its customers requires a particular mindset that helps create a culture of delivering consistent value to end users:
- First, always ask "why?"
- Second, always ask questions.
To help you build a successful product that will sell and create value for your users, we came with an approach we called the ABC framework — Always Be Challenging. Asking "why?" and always asking questions during the product development phase ensures you only take to launch products that make sense.
With this framework, product teams understand how things work and why they work the way they do. You also discover the true purpose behind the product you're building to make sure you are solving an existing problem and giving real customer value.
We recommend the "five whys" technique for the best results — ask at least five "why?" questions and ensure you can answer each one satisfactorily. This approach ensures you understand the deeper purpose of the product you are creating.
Furthermore, with each additional question, you create a solid foundation by digging deeper to find the root of your product and how it solves real problems that add value to your customer.
Understanding your product's core purpose
There are other methods to understand your product's true value proposition and improve your response to customer needs. One such method is the Build-Measure-Learn (BML) principle, a technique developed by Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup.
The BML approach is a technique for continuous improvement of new ideas, services, and products — through a cycle of creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and testing your hypotheses with real users to see their reactions and get feedback. Then, based on that information, product teams can refine their offering to give customers what they truly want.
Validating your product hypothesis
At this stage, your product is still a theoretical idea. Even if it's being tested on real users, it's yet to translate into business value. So, essentially, your hypothesis is simply a guess that your product idea may succeed.
The first thing you need to do is formulate your hypothesis. We illustrate a simple template you can use below.
Below is an actual example for a new page on a website:
- If we do what? For example, create a new registration page.
- By implementing what? Let's say implementing a clear navigation path.
- Then, what will happen? More users will sign up.
- Because? They will find the sign-up process easier.
- End result? You'll have more active users.
By asking these questions, you dig deeper to understand what value your new product or feature will deliver for the customer and how it benefits your company.
The next step is defining the success criteria for your newly formulated hypothesis. In our example above, you can specify a minimum number of new sign-ups as the success criteria that prove your new registration page idea delivers a better user experience.
After setting the success criteria, testing your hypotheses on real users gets you concrete evidence that the new feature is a viable idea. There are numerous ways to try new ideas. For example, you can create a quick registration page and ask users to go through the registration process, then collect customer feedback from that experiment.
You can also do A/B testing to compare two versions of the new feature to see which users prefer.
Other excellent testing methods include conducting interviews and surveys, and discussions with real users to identify pain points, needs, and motivations to understand your users and the product better.
Surveys are a quick and affordable method to gain insights from your target audience, which you can send to email contacts and social media networks.
Another excellent testing method is a landing page. Landing pages give you insights into which features lead to more conversions, what aspect of your product or messaging resonates better with your audience. You can use low-code tools like Webflow to create the page then distribute it as an email campaign or through your social media networks to gather insights.
At this point, you have a product hypothesis and results from the user experiments and are looking to bring your idea to life. Start by prioritizing the insights and ideas and how much effort to assign to each priority.
We recommend using an Impact Effort matrix to determine what aspects to implement first and the potential impact you'll make. The Impact Effort matrix is a visual decision-making tool that categorizes priorities into four groups: Quick wins, Major projects, Fillers, and Time-wasters.
Quick wins deliver the best returns with low effort (resources, time, technology), they are high impact and deliver immediate value. Major projects require a greater effort but bring long-term value. Avoid Time-wasters because they need much effort with little results to show.
(Image source: modelthinkers.com)
Building successful products that will sell
Now you know how to get started building products that will sell — ask many questions, challenge the status quo, dig deeper, and always start by asking "why?"
Don’t get attached to new ideas and existing products that don't deliver much value to your end users.
We recommend that you validate your product hypothesis with customer feedback from end users through testing and experiments before going to market. Additionally, user feedback creates an opportunity to discover new ideas and features to implement. Therefore, managing stakeholders is also critical to your product development.
At Netguru, we align our product development process to our client's business goals and customer feedback. Our process shapes your business ideas and refines existing products into solutions that inspire real users and deliver financial value to your company. Get in touch with us to get started.