What is Product Validation?
Product validation is about solving problems and creating products that people want or need. In order to do this successfully, you must know who your potential customers are and what their needs are. User personas give businesses the information they need in order to create a targeted solution for their customer base.
Begin with the end in mind, what problem does your product solve?
Product validation starts with research. Product managers and designers need to know who their customers are, what they value, and how the product will be of benefit to them. Creating personas that represent your customers is a great way to have this information front-and-center for everyone on your team so you can all work towards creating products people love.
Understanding the Market
Companies that are able to create successful products understand their market. Product validation begins with research into the needs, wants, and motivations of your customers or potential customers. The more you know about who will be using your product, the easier it is to focus on creating a solution for them.
Gathering the Right Data
Data is a crucial part of many industries, but are you sure you know what it means? Data can be quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative data involves numbers and figures, while qualitative data involves words and opinions. Data can be collected in different ways- some examples include surveys, interviews, observations, questionnaires etc.
Using a combination of both will allow you to understand the market and validate your idea.
Look For Opportunities, Gaps & Trends
Understanding your customers is about understanding their motivations. Product managers should look for opportunities, gaps in the market, and trends that exist to help them better understand what people are looking for. Product validation comes from finding problems that need solutions or unfulfilled needs within a given industry.
Finding opportunities, gaps or trends allows you to quickly differentiate against your competitors. Product managers should look for opportunities that allow them to provide solutions in ways competitors can’t or won’t. Product validation is about creating a product that will set you apart from the competition while solving an ongoing problem within your industry.
What is a persona?
A persona is an archetype person that represents your customer base in order for you to create products people want or need. Creating user personas help businesses to understand their customers and create products that enhance the customer experience.
When should you create personas?
Creating user personas is best done early on in a product’s development cycle so business can be sure they are creating solutions for problems their audience actually has. As you expand or modify your product be sure to adjust or develop new personas to keep your product relevant.
Elements of a user persona will differ from product to product but can include:
- Age & Sex
- Marital and Family Status
- Work Situation
- Physical Attributes
- Pain and motivators
- Gratification Mode
- Purchase Preference
Super Users and Early Adopters
To find traction fast, leveraging your user persona to identify your super users and early adopters is a great way to get valuable feedback on your product. Product validation is about creating solutions that solve problems and the quickest way to do this is by getting feedback from people who love your product and will actually be using or buying it.
Assess Desirability, Viability & Feasibility
Throughout the early development cycle you should be assessing desirability, viability and feasibility. Just because you think your idea will work, it may not necessarily align with business objectives, financial models or long term strategy.
Desirability is all about assessing the attractiveness of your product. Product managers should ask themselves if their target audience sees value in solving this problem, will it be easy to use and does it meet customers’ needs?
Product Viability & Feasibility
Viability encompasses business objectives, financial models and long term strategy while feasibility deals with the technology required to create the product. Product managers should ask themselves if they can actually build this solution now or in time for their customers’ needs?
Product Market Fit Hypothesis
Your product market fit hypothesis is about understanding if your product will work in the marketplace, before you invest time and resources. Product managers should have a good understanding of:
- The size of the market (TAM, SAM & SOM)
- Is there a gap for this product in the current market
- What financial model would work best
- What channels will be used to distribute or market the product
- Who are the key competitors in the market
Your hypothesis may change once you start testing and developing your product but it’s important to have a good understanding of these key areas first.
Product validation starts well before you build your first feature or service. It requires input from all members of the product management team in order to form the right product from the outset. Don’t forget to utilise your early adopters or super users, keeping your feedback loops short in order to get to product market fit as soon as possible against your product your business objectives.
I launched my business, Minimalism Fitness on only $1500 and a problem I was continuously asked by busy professionals trying to keep fit. Sometimes, our best product ideas can come from right in front of us.
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