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Leveraging StoryVesting to Find Product-Market Fit

Product-Market Fit — it’s the yearning of every founder and the mission of every product team. Why? Well, first in terms of securing funding, most investors and enterprise leaders demand that a team knows how to achieve it before they ever invest a dime into a new company or product idea.

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Leveraging StoryVesting to Find Product-Market Fit

  1. 1. Leveraging StoryVesting to Find Product- Market Fit
  2. 2. Product-Market Fit (or PM Fit) is the starting point at which your core value proposition — embodied in a product or service — aligns with the core needs/wants of your target audience and is organically growing exponentially via word-of-mouth marketing. In other words... “Product-Market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” – Marc Andreesen What is Product-Market Fit?
  3. 3. Best way to learn is by doing. And we learned what we know about Product-Market Fit through our own efforts to measure it for our product, Platstack. Platstack is an online, social, content curation platform — in this presentation we’ll share what we learned about PM Fit through its development. Platstack & Finding PM Fit.
  4. 4. Determining Product-Market Fit before & throughout a product journey is crucial. Diverting capital from engineering, or using perceived viral loops on a product before securing PM Fit could mean disaster in the social sphere. Pushing a glitchy product and sending your reputation into a tailspin. Determining Product- Market Fit. NPS AND THE POWER OF WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING
  5. 5. Net Promoter Score: NPS can be used to determine a customer’s devotion to a brand, product or service. Because it’s rooted in the word-of-mouth concept, it’s considered the gold standard of early traction and scale. However NPS isn’t an accurate predictor of future behavior, and it’s data is often skewed due to collection methods. Frameworks to Determine Product-Market Fit. LOW NPS DOESN’T EQUATE TO FAILED BUSINESS Despite low NPS benchmarks, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup revenues and annual EPS are expected to grown in 2020 Citigroup Annual Revenue JP Morgan Chase Annual Revenue JP Morgan Chase Annual EPS Citigroup Annual EPS
  6. 6. Brian Balfour’s 4-Stage Model: Product-Market Fit isn’t the sole indicator of success in this model, but one of 4 elements: ● Market/Product Fit ● Product/Channel Fit ● Channel/Model Fit ● Model/Market Fit There’s a lot happening within each of these 4 elements and it takes more than tweaking one or two of them to make real change. Product-Market Fit Framework Options. MODEL/PRODUCT FIT PRODUCT/MARKET FIT PRODUCT/CHANNEL FIT CHANNEL/MARKET FIT MARKET PRODUCT CHANNELMODEL
  7. 7. Hoshin Model: This model’s purpose is to help teams extract priorities, plan next steps and keep everyone on a course toward an actionable goal. Hoshin exercises are done in complete silence to allow all members the chance and obligation to take part in curating, sorting, and labeling ideas. Product-Market Fit Framework Options.
  8. 8. The “How Disappointed” Measurement: Means asking early users “How disappointed would you be if you could no longer use this product/service?”. If you don’t have at least 40% saying they’d be “very disappointed,” you haven’t achieved PM Fit yet. This question can be part of a larger survey to gauge Pre-Traction Product-Market Fit, a lead indicator of potential for Brand Ambassadors. Product-Market Fit Framework Options. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU COULD NO LONGER USE PLATSTACK? Very Disappointed Somewhat Disappointed Not Very Disappointed 52% 19% 29%
  9. 9. 1. Where did you hear about X? 2. How would you feel if you could no longer use X? a. Why? 3. What would you use if X was no longer available? 4. What is the foremost benefit you get from X? 5. Have you recommended X to anyone? 6. What type of person do you think would most benefit from X? 7. How could we improve X to suit your needs? 8. Would it be okay if we contact you via email for more feedback on your answers above? 8 Simple Questions to Ask Users.
  10. 10. On The Other Hand… This survey acts as a leading indicator to whether early customers consider your product a must-have, and if they’re likely to become brand ambassadors on your bowtie funnel. Where this model falls down is that it only showcases the quality (or lack thereof) of the product itself, rather than the entire experience. Relying on the “how disappointed” metric alone won’t always give you the full picture of your brand experience. BRAND AMBASSADORS ON THE BOWTIE FUNNEL
  11. 11. When done right, questioning users is one of the best ways to understand whether you’re on the right path. Always structure the survey and the resulting data with cohort in mind to identify the power cohort using your product. Determining PM Fit Starts With the Right Questions. Very Disappointed: 19% Not Very Disappointed : 29% COHORT: COHORT: Somewhat Disappointed : 52% COHORT: Not Very Disappointed : 29% COHORT: Junior High Students New Corporate Professionals Mid Level Professional Active Learner Part-Timer Influencer Stay at Home Mom Junior High Students High School Student New Corporate Professionals Corporate Manager Corporate Executive Pert-Timer Influencer Stay at Home Mom InvestorNew Corporate Professionals Mid Corporate Professionals Founder/Entrepreneur Independent Professionals Stay at Home Mom Inventor Retired Author/Speaker
  12. 12. A problem solving framework like StoryVesting allows a format to keep things simple when working through Product-Market Fit. Starting out with this framework involves looking internally first. In other words, begin measuring PM Fit within your own project team first. StoryVesting Guiding the PM Fit Discussion. No Man’s Land Excellent Brand Euphoria Identify & Remove Roadblocks, Take Actionable Steps to Achieve Alignment Limited Brand Equity Disconnected Experiences Company First Brand Experience Framework Customer Experience Framework High Brand Equity Connected Experiences Customer First Deep Cognitive Association Brand & Immersive Experiences Customer - Centric
  13. 13. The ultimate brand experience must sync with the user’s expectations at the cognitive and emotional levels. Early team members are crucial to the success of your ultimate brand experience, so whether you’re a startup or an enterprise, it’s important that you’re selective about your initial team members. Often this means collecting V-shaped team members. StoryVesting Guiding the P-M Fit Discussion.
  14. 14. T-Shaped employees are hyper-specialized in their area which makes it difficult to share knowledge from one department to the other creating a insights gaps between departments. V-Shaped employees are highly skilled in one area with knowledge about other roles related to theirs. T-shaped Teams vs. V-Shaped Teams. Client support ● Pains ● Motivations ● Solutions First-time buyer ● Pains ● Motivations ● Solutions V-Shaped TeamsT-Shaped Teams
  15. 15. StoryVesting is rooted in user emotion, so when applying it to PM Fit, start with understanding how a user feels about the product. Logical considerations around the experience come secondary to strong emotional triggers that are impactful enough to encourage users to share the product with others. Keep that in mind when choosing what to ask. StoryVesting And Product - Market Fit Research. 1. The Why (Main Emotional Driver) 2. Logical Reasoning 3. Emotional / Logical Reinforcement 4. Comparative Logic 5. What, Where, When, Why How 6. Experience PAST PRESENTFUTURE
  16. 16. More Poignant Questions = More Insightful Data. The core of the problem they try to solve with your product ● Can you tell me about the problem you were trying to solve? ● What’s the hardest part about [the process you’re improving]? ● What solutions have you tried? ● What didn’t you love about them? ● What reservations did you have about the product before trying it? What are the key features of your product (and how your users talk about them) ● Tell me about your first impression with the product ● What motivates you to continue using our product? ● What’s most appealing about our product? ● What convinced you that this product is for you? ● Who would you recommend our product to? ● What can you do now that wasn’t possible before you started using our product? ● How did it influence your life/work?
  17. 17. More Poignant Questions = More Insightful Data. Main priorities for new features or functionality ● What would make you recommend our product to other [persona type/job title]? ● What features do you wish our product had? ● What would improve your experience with our product? Main problems and pain points connected to your product (and how your users talk about them) ● What’s the hardest part about using the product? ● What would make using the product significantly easier/more pleasant?
  18. 18. Understanding the users’ emotions is critical as you set up every design, data loop or concept, to the point that I always include qualitative data in my data collection process. As the person answers my questions about how they’d feel if they could no longer a product, I note their physical reaction. Are they visually disturbed? Are their brows furrowed? Are they relieved? Emotion + Qualitative Data.
  19. 19. My questioning progressed from trying to understand the emotions behind the product to understanding the perceived benefits. When I asked our users the main benefit they received from Platstack, there was a clear response — organization and being able to recall their saved info with the help of meaningful context. Gathering Usage and Experience Data. WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS?
  20. 20. Next step is defining cohort, or who is using the product, and who would benefit most from the product? Oftentimes, businesses only focus on who is currently using the product. It’s important to also account for groups who could potentially benefit from using the product, but haven’t discovered it yet. Honing In On Your Target Market. WHAT TYPE OF PERSON WOULD BENEFIT?
  21. 21. WHAT FEATURES IMPACT EXPERIENCE? You’ve got the data on the main benefits and main cohort. Now what? It’s time to plan upcoming features to maintain Product-Market Fit. It’s important not to chase down just any feature idea, though. Sporadic ideas that enter the agile cycle can drive the product further from PM Fit. Instead, I focus on improving the ultimate experience. Improving Your Platform to Achieve Product-Market Fit.
  22. 22. The magic happens when the data you collect can be leveraged to achieve Product-Market Fit, effectively getting products out into the wild. In order not to fall into the dangerous traps of letting data go stale or using it in the wrong way, our team leans on a variety of methods to stay on track. Leveraging the PM-Fit Data You Collect Into UI. It should be clear what to do 10 Feet Test Cross out everything until it becomes confusing Cross Out Test UX Score Comparison vs. Competition Comparative Test
  23. 23. The Ten-Foot Test is helpful when gauging the UI of a digital product (with the potential to be adapted for other products / services). To do this test, view your product UI at a distance of at least ten feet. Viewed from a distance, it should still be immediately clear what your user should do when engaging with the product. The Ten-Foot Test.
  24. 24. WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO AS A TEAM TO GET PM FIT BASED ON DATA? The Crossout Test is an exercise to eliminate unnecessary elements and fluff from your UI. When viewing your current / potential UI structure, start crossing out anything that’s unnecessary until you’ve either cleared up the page or the UI has become more confusing. At this stage you can slowly add elements back based on the data you’ve collected. The Crossout Test. Make the UX/UI Intuitive & Self Explanatory Add Notifications, Link Notifications Nuanced Features to Ensure Stickiness, Polls, Notes, Reminders Add Social, Explore Topics, People Discovery, Collaboration Make Onboarding Effortless From Day One Drag and Drop Must be Exceptional, Stable, and Simple Add Amazing Search, Rank, Display, Recommendation Make Application Available on All Devices, Mobile & Tablet
  25. 25. The Comparative Test is when we compare how our product looks to others in the same competitive space. Asking users what they like about your competitors can lead to discovering their behavioral, emotional, and cognitive triggers for using a product like yours, and defining the competitive cognitive & emotional association of your brand. The Comparative Test. Brand Experience Framework Customer Experience Framework THE COMPETITION THE USER’S DRIVERS THE COMPARATIVE TEST AND PRODUCT MARKET FIT
  26. 26. Our Proprietary Experience Test uses a prototype to allow you be more specific with user questioning. This test takes into account the energy users deplete or gain when interacting with your product. The way we gather this score is similar to that of an NPS, except we score it on +/-5 point intervals between 0 to 100 and we take into account a different set of variables. How Likely Are You to Recommend Our App to a Friend or Co-Worker? Our Proprietary Experience Test.
  27. 27. The channels where you reach your audience are determined by your model. If your product yields low ARPU, you typically need to use low cost channels. Taking this a step further, it’s wise to strategically tailor your messaging based on the channel it’s presented on, and the user accessing it there. Using Data to Support Channel Model Fit. FACEBOOK YOUTUBE
  28. 28. It’s important to have your design well articulated before moving your project into development. Having a prototype shows your developers how users will navigate your product, and how you compare to the current competitive landscape. This knowledge can guide important decisions throughout the development process. Decisions in the Development Process. THE PLATSTACK PROTOTYPE USER FLOW User Sign Up User Creates Stack User Creates a Section User Adds 5+ Links User Shares Stacks
  29. 29. As you start building out your development process, it’s important to know what to expect in terms of user retention. A good way to predict user retention is to ask users “Would you continue to use X? 100xing Your First 10 Users With Product-Market Fit. DO YOU PLAN TO CONTINUE USING PLATSTACK? Yes Maybe No 14% 47% 37%
  30. 30. Even if users tell you that everything with your product is working, it’s important to know if that holds true in their actions as well. You need a system to track usage to be sure that users are just as engaged as they may say they are. Relevancy & The Cohort Analytics Smile. An Experiment Worked! What Could It Be? Serious Need for Improvement Where do we start?
  31. 31. You don’t always hear about points of friction from your users. When Platstack was showing poor retention rates, we discovered log-in issue that hadn’t been mentioned in any user survey responses. Relevancy & The Cohort Analytics Smile. Zero Product/Market Fit except for founders, employees and family members
  32. 32. When able to solve friction points and boost user retention, we were able to achieve the Retention Smile. This smile tells us that more and more users are coming back and using the product more frequently and that many are Monthly Active Users (MAU). Relevancy & The Cohort Analytics Smile. We Achieve the “Smile”
  33. 33. Relevancy & The Cohort Analytics Smile. Best Better Broken
  34. 34. When you use the data collection methods we’ve discussed it’s easier to prioritize features and structure them into a roadmap. By understanding user’s past, present and future emotional and logical drivers, and organizing them into sprint cycles, you’re able to achieve early traction Product-Market Fit faster than your competitors, and with far less capital deployed. Data Supporting the Development Process. Apply Demographic Segmentation The Impact of Additional Qualitative Segmentation Very Disappointed COHORT: COHORT: Very DisappointedJunior High Students High School Student Active Learner Influencer Govt Employee New Corporate Professional Mid Corporate Professional New Corporate Professional Mid Corporate Professional High School Student Influencer
  35. 35. Many people have asked why obtaining PM Fit is so difficult and time-consuming. The truth is, if you’re serious about successfully finding the early traction stages of Product-Market Fit quickly, it’s not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of dedication to see a product get to exponential retained growth, and the Product Leader has to lean hard into the process. Data Looping is a Time- Consuming Process. THE MAKEUP OF A GREAT PRODUCT LEADER Reasonable Analytical Articulate Balanced Discussion Empathetic Joie de Vivre Humble ExpertAdaptive Encouragin g Forward-Thinking Foundational Strategic Articulate Proactive Communication Speculative Focused OrganizedIntuitive Curious Nuanced Dedicated Passionate
  36. 36. Maintaining momentum starts with a mindset; not a mathematical formula. Growth is only good right up until it stops happening. Markets fluctuate. Competitors make adjustments to stay relevant. Groundbreaking products don’t impressive like they used to. Dedication and willpower is what’s needed most to navigate whatever the world throws your way. Building the Traction of Product-Market Fit to Scale. Strategic Inflection Point Inflection Points Vary If You’re Growing You’re Shifting Sustain Forward Momentum Scale Growth Start The S Curve of Business Growth
  37. 37. Insulate your business from disruption. Learn more at