Product Market Fit – Make something they want

 In Branding

What is product market fit (PMF) and why is it important for marketing? Traditionally a product was developed in a vacuum with what they believed a customer wanted. This is not the case anymore.

Traditionally when a product did not sell they increased marketing, today we have moved away from this and take the guessing out of developing a product.

Make something people want
– Paul Graham

From Check in App to Photo App - Instagram
From Check in App to Photo App - Instagram

Instagram Distilled from Burbn

We tend to believe Apps are developed and sold for millions even billions. They are a great example of product market fit as they have great feedback mechanisms and see what is working and what is not. Initially known as Burbn, a check in App, they noticed it was too similar to Foursquare. With the photography and filter section proofing popular, they developed the product to fit the market and Instagram was born, which was bought by Facebook for $1 billion.


When roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia could not afford rent they turned their apartment into a bed and breakfast by putting air mattresses in their living room. They developed this concept to a website offering short term living quarters and business networking on airbedandbreakfast.com. Today it is called Airbnb.com and has evolved from air mattress to anything from an igloo to a castle developing their product for the market.

Airbnb humble beginnings with air mattress in a living room
Airbnb with humble beginnings, air mattresses in a living room
Marketing responsibilities include product development

Lean Startup

According to Eric Lease, you should start with “minimum viable product“. Secondly, you must tune the engine towards the ideal. As a marketer your job outline as becoming blurred and part of you responsibilities are development. As you are the bridge between the consumer and product you should take the feedback analyse and advice with data as your basis. With a minimum viable product, it takes small momentum to snowball the marketing against developing something in isolation and selling it at something you need

Amazon, cart before the horses

How does one determine a minimum viable product? Amazon has a working backward approach. Ian McAllister suggests starting with an internal press release. This helps you define the customer and the problem and how it will solve the problem surpassing any existing solutions. If the benefits are boring and do not sell maybe the product won’t either

Other suggestion of what you can’t start with rather than developing a product

  • FAQ – Potential User questions and issues
  • User Manual – Outline Concepts, How to and reference will help you define and understand the customer
Writing press release
Start by writing a press release, this will define the customer, problem and solution

Products are not stagnant anymore

The internet has premature been credited of the demise of books but has it not evolved writing. Think about, from a product development angle, feedback is instant on articles. When posting on social networks or blog, you reader can give you their feedback as they have read your piece be is via a like button or disagree with you in a comment section. The evolution of the writing is a great case study of how product market fit is giving the consumer what they want and not spending marketing budget convincing them.

 “People thinking about things other than making the best product, never make the best product.”
Phil Libin from Evernote

The Consumer has a voice

Make sure you are listening. There are many tools for gathering data,


Start with the what they want and work back. Don’t be scared to go back to the drawing board and work on something people want.

Launching a Product?

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