In recent weeks we’ve discussed the value of the VCP to help align teams, add focus, and build great products.
The response to my recent post around creating alignment around product value creation has had a really positive response. I have had VCs, Chief Product Officers and Chief Executive Officers sharing with me how important yet difficult creating product alignment is.
A lot of people have asked for more detail on the Product Value Creation Plan - and today I’d like to touch on how it provides value when finding product positioning and marketing to the right audiences.
Evaluating the product market
Finding the right positioning can be challenging. You need to both provide value for your customers, but also make sure you’re differentiating yourself enough with a unique value proposition against your competitors.
On odd occasions, I’ve seen companies have a great product, with a great solution, yet not targeting the correct market. This can give the perception that you don’t have the right product, when in reality you might have a great product - you’re just selling to the wrong market.
This is where it becomes important to understand the difference between problem-solution fit and product-market fit. Having a great solution is the first step, but ensuring you’re focusing on the right market is the growth differentiator.
Don’t be afraid to explore and break into new industries and sectors. Run research, don’t be afraid to get out there and start having conversations. It may be that you’re just sitting parallel to where your unique growth market is.
Once you have moved past product-solution fit and into product-market fit, don’t be afraid to move further out and explore other markets. Having product-market fit in one industry or sector doesn’t mean you can’t also find it in another. As we’ve discussed before, there is such a thing as continuous product-market fit, and this applies to both your existing market(s) but also potential ones you might have in the future.
Your product should focus on solving problems and addressing use cases, not necessarily just for a set of personas.
I won’t go into the rabbit hole of the persona should-we, shouldn’t-we (that’s a discussion for another day!) But whether we like it or not, personas are useful. They help us understand how to speak to different audiences about the use cases that solve a variety of problems for them.
Make sure that you have an understanding of the problem you solve (the what and why), who you solve it for (your personas), and where your unique value proposition is (using the VCP.) This will help you break into new markets and continue to solidify your market share.
Why does this matter for product?
If you’re wondering at this point: but why does this matter? Is this not product marketing’s problem? Is this not up to my marketing team?
Let’s clear one thing up - product marketing is product. Your product marketing team is there to be your strategic partner and the communication side to everything you do. Lean on them to help define your VCP and socialize it across the organisation.
With this in mind, it’s also important to remember that “product” encompasses not just product managers and product marketers, but also your research and design teams.
You are never working alone.
Product is also the best positioned function to recognize the problem in different markets. Whereas your marketing team can learn about how to message and communicate with verticals, finding common language in their particular industry - it is up to product to recognize where the problem exists.