Oftentimes companies seemingly end up spending too much money and putting unnecessary effort into features that no one needs in their product. As a result, they lack product-market fit which leads them to collapse and meet their demise.
To find and achieve a product-market fit for your mobile app with an MVP, you must involve your customers in the initial product, receive their honest feedback, and incorporate that into the final product. This is the best way to increase the success rate of your application so that you don’t incur a significant loss in the long run.
Your product needs to reflect the needs of your target audience. And to make sure that it continues to stay on top of its game, it is crucial to find a good market where the product will be able to resonate with that specific crowd.
What Is a Product-Market Fit?
A product-market fit describes a scenario where the target audience in a market is well invested in purchasing and making use of your product. And if they’re happy with the service, they are most likely to tell others about the product. When this audience grows significantly, it will be enough to sustain the product which will lead to future growth and profit.
In this day and age, it’s extremely difficult to come up with a new startup as the world continues to see various inventions and the competition grows with each passing day.
A couple of years ago, no one thought that traditional banking could be replaced. And how could they? For decades, traditional banking has been able to cover the needs of customers – from providing regular savings accounts to easing its way into digital banking and other investment opportunities.
From money transfers to competent customer services in bank branches all across the globe, traditional banking has it all. But most people don’t want the hassle of going through so much paperwork in order to open a bank account just to send money abroad.
Companies like Wise realized that there was a way to connect with a large audience if their product focused on a single target: a cheap and easier way to send money. By catering to the customers’ needs, it was easier to build a more successful business that is capable enough to run smoothly for generations.
Finding a product-market fit seems like the most obvious thing to do before the final app reaches the market. But in reality, most businesses fail to collect any data on the market before releasing the product. With an idea of what the customer needs, the chances of the product reaching its goal become inevitable.
Product-Market Fit for your mobile app
But the competition continues to grow with Google Play Store harboring over 2.87 million apps on its platform. So how does one find a specific product-market fit in a place so congested? The best way to maneuver through is to build an MVP and give its access to the target customers. In this way, they can understand the product in its initial stage and provide feedback which is beneficial for the app’s development.
As the users determine the success rate of the application, their opinions are of significance. With the MVP, you only need to incorporate the most fundamental features of the app and then let the audience decide whether there’s a market for the product. With the collected ratings and data, it will be easier to make further improvements to the product so that it may satisfy the needs of a bigger audience.
Why is Product-Market Fit necessary?
A prominent example would be BlackBerry. BlackBerry dominated the markets in the early 2000s. They took the world by storm and created a base for themselves. That was until the competition arrived and proceeded to knock them out of the park.
The downfall of Product-Market Fit by BlackBerry
The initial version was already a success but it did have many limitations at the same time. But there was no doubt that a product like this was in-demand. After the product finished development inside the company, employees started using it regularly. The product had thus found its internal product-market fit.
But only catering to the internal market would not help with mass production. It needed to meet the needs of an average customer as well. This means that the product requires several other improvements which will happen with the help of new technology.
As they worked on the prototype, they also collected data on what the customers needed and finally found their very own niche. Business managers and entrepreneurs who heavily relied on email were the target audience who focused on getting prompt answers and faster communication to increase efficiency, thus they were buying blackberries for themselves as well as their subordinates.
BlackBerry’s approach was an enormous success. This was mainly because they came in prepared, found their target audience, focused on the problems, built an MVP, ran tests, and made changes according to their target audience’s needs.
This only lasted until the competitor’s arrived at the scene. With the introduction of the first iPhone, BlackBerry was now in cold water as its stance in the global market took a huge hit. Their success rate in the corporate sector continued to grow due to business contracts and other relations. But the mass audience started to venture out and take more interest in newer innovations.
With every iPhone and Android update, BlackBerry was slowly being pushed out of the market. And eventually, they completely disappeared. This happened due to a lack of vision and overall knowledge of the market needs. Instead of conducting market research and learning what the audience desired currently, BlackBerry concentrated on improving previous features that had once put them on a pedestal. BlackBerry’s inability to adjust to the current market needs was the primary cause of its downfall.
“Apple reset what the expectations were. Conversations didn’t matter. Battery life didn’t matter. The cost didn’t matter. That’s their genius. We had to respond in a way that was completely different than what people expected,” (Mike Lazaridis speaking with hindsight in “Losing the Signal” p.168).
How to find the Product-Market Fit with an MVP?
Step 1: Build an MVP for your mobile app idea
Step 2: Circulate the MVP amongst your target audience
During this stage, you can conduct research and go through dynamic and motivated communication with the clients involved. As a result, a plethora of data is collected in the process which gives way to more insights that the development team can work on.
Step 3: Receive feedback from user
With the use of an MVP, customers will be able to give feedback about what they prefer about the product and the features that they can do without. With this knowledge, companies can start improving their mobile app accordingly.
Most of the popular apps that we know of today, such as Twitter, Instagram, and even Spotify were first introduced as MVPs. The Product-Market Fit Pyramid was designed to outline the product-market fit with 5 main parts.
Note: You can find out more about what an MVP is and why it is necessary for your startup here.
Product-Market Fit pyramid
The foundation and the initial layer of the pyramid are the setting stones for the rest of the layers above it. Thus, once you’ve had the hypothesis set in the primary layer, you can build your product up. All these layers are interconnected. So, if you take one of them out, the rest of the pyramid will fall apart and your app will be of no value.
The first 3 layers are Value Position, Feature Set, and UX. These are the components of the MVP. Once they’re met with customer reviews and other surveys to see whether they meet the market need, the product enters the final stage of production.
The Lean Product Process, created by Dan Olsen tells us how to fit the market with the initial MVP. It all happens at the bottom of the pyramid and slowly moves upwards. The actions are as follows:
Determine your target audience
The customers’ opinions matter the most here as they will determine whether your product will succeed in the market space. Just because a company thinks that its product is at the top of the game doesn’t mean that it will resonate with the audience in the same way. To design a great app, you must identify who you’ll be deploying it to.
Identify the needs of the customers
You can even go one step ahead and read up on testimonies and reviews in the Google Store under those apps that provide more or less the same services that you’re planning to. It’s more to do with what they want rather than what you think they want in the final product.
Now that you have your market figured out, do your research regarding the other apps to get a clear understanding of what the customer wants. You must incorporate your idea into the product while paying close attention to the features that are of primary concern to your target audience.
You might have a dozen different ideas that you wish to incorporate into your mobile app. But not all of them will fit the market needs. This is why you must understand what the market needs are before you deploy your MVP to the targeted users.
Specify the main features of the MVP
Once you are done listing out all the features, put them in a tier list of: low, medium, or high. This will help you to draft a basic version of your product. And afterward, you can move on to building the MVP.
The MVP does not require all the features that will go into the final product. Instead, it should display the most prominent features of the app that you want the users to evaluate and provide feedback on.
Building the MVP
The building process may vary depending on the features of the app, the time, and as well as the budget allocated for the MVP. There are 4 phases to MVP building:
- Conduct research on the market as well as all the competitors with similar apps.
- Validate business models and monetization process.
- Decide the combination of technologies (tech stack) to be in use for the app.
- Work on a scalability plan which will come useful when workload increases.
For the app MVP, the following comes into consideration:
Platform-specific native apps: These apps are normally coded for iOS or Android
Cross-platform apps: These apps run on Shared Development Kits, but it’s also possible to run them natively. This is considered to be the best option.
Hybrid apps: These apps are compatible with both iOS as well and Android. This is more convenient as you don’t have to write different codebases for each of the platforms
2. UX & UI Design of the MVP
- Map and create user journeys.
- Wireframe and prototype.
- Make Graphic elements.
- Set up the tests for usability.
3. MVP Development
- Meet with the development team.
- Build the framework.
- Get a powerful as well as flexible backend.
- Set up the database.
- Ensure security.
4. Release & Support
Once the product is complete, it needs to go through the testing process which is done by Quality Assurance (QA) engineers who also work to make further improvements to the product.
The end-users are the ones who will be able to detect what the product lacks. And identify the useless features. Their feedback will help to improve the product which will then go through many tests until it has been polished.
Why use MVP for prototyping an app?
There are many ways to validate a new idea before working on its final form. But the most successful and reliable way is by using an MVP. This is because:
2. Small investments
4. Safe management
5. Less probability of losses
6. Easy to acquire
Standard tactics when conducting a product-market fit for the mobile app
Keyword Search Volume
This lets the companies decide the needs of their customers even better. It’s important to have a look at this data so you can answer them before you go ahead and launch the product.