Formula for Finding Product-Market Fit

According to Marc Andreessen, a co-founder of Netscape and investor in dozens of high profile companies, “Product-market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market”. Nobody disputes the need to achieve product-market fit as a critical milestone on a journey from an idea to a profitable business, but how to get there is a hotly debated topic.

A recent article “The Fool-Proof Formula for Finding Product-Market Fit” attempts to provide an answer to this question. I would encourage you to read it all, but here are some quick take-aways.

Written from a strong sales and marketing perspective, the article makes an interesting and startling assertion: “Many founders lack the knowledge and experience to efficiently and effectively bring a product to market. Business accelerators perpetuate this problem when they help founders build their product and raise money, at the expense of helping founders market their product and make money.”

The actual formula has two parts comprised of six distinct phases:

Market Foundation

  • Resource Review (Preparation)
  • Market Discovery
  • Market Messaging

Market Execution

  • Instrumentation (Preparation)
  • Market Outreach
  • Market Results

Only the first two phases (Resource Review and Market Discovery) are described in detail in this article, with more articles promised by the author.

Phase One – Resources Review – has three steps:

  1. Resource Review Mapping and Planning
  2. Marketing & Sales Process Analysis
  3. Current Marketing & Sales Technology Stack Review

and Phase Two – Market Discovery – has 7 steps:

  1. Current Account Mapping and Pipeline Review
  2. Discover Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs)
  3. Prioritize Current Pipeline
  4. Review Current Customer Experience
  5. Business/Pricing Models
  6. Define Customer Acquisition Strategy
  7. Create a Data Acquisition Strategy

Quite frankly, at this stage the above process, while being undoubtedly useful, does not look like a truly fool-proof formula for finding the product-market fit, and it does not explore the related concept of problem-solution fit, but let’s wait until the next articles in this series by Sean Sheppard.