The Product/Market Fit Survey (PMF) specifically asks the customer, “How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?” with a multiple choice response. The survey is often used as a proxy metric for PMF. If 40 percent or more customers answer they would be “very disappointed” without the product, then it is assumed the product is ready for marketing to the entire segment that answers that way.
What are the demographics of our customer segment?
Will significantly increasing marketing spend (to a specific segment) result in a successful outcome?
Can the market I’m in sustain my business?
Can my product meet the needs of that market?
"Product-market fit" is a term originally coined by serial entrepreneur and VC Marc Andreessen in his epic post "The Only Thing that Matters." In short, it refers to being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market. If you really have it, typically you will be stretched to the limit with resources to deliver the product.
Having achieved product/market fit, you can safely say that you have fully proven the value hypothesis, where the value hypothesis is the key assumption that underlies why a customer is likely to use your product. Andy Rachleff of Wealthfront argues that you should achieve PMF before searching for venture money.
Product/market fit is also a proxy for customer excitement. Customers recommend you more frequently if you've achieved it.
This survey technique gives you a quantitative measure of whether you've achieved PMF.
Sean Ellis recommends sending the PMF survey question to people who have:
Experienced the core of your product offering
Used your product at least twice
Used your product in the last two weeks
Setup form on website: .5-1 day.
Prepare a longer survey containing the question below: 2-3 days (see closed-ended survey for more details).
Optionally pre-segment your users, so that you can track how different segments respond to this survey question.
Present your existing users or customers with the following survey question, either independently or as part of a larger survey:
How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?
Not disappointed (it isn’t really that useful)
N/A – I no longer use product
Send the survey using any of the below:
If over 40 percent of your users are saying that they would be “very disappointed” without your product, you are building a “must have” product for your initial customers. You can also include an open-ended follow-up question to understand why the user answered this way.
Look for differences in qualitative responses between very disappointed and somewhat disappointed for extra clues. Most likely, either product or market segment needs to be improved.
If part of a longer survey, take into account that answers may be skewed based on previous questions.
Don't ask too early. It only makes sense to use this technique to measure something that's actually possible.
Make sure you have a large enough sample population to make asking this question worthwhile (aim for at least 30 people).
“Survey.io is necessary but not sufficient for product/market fit. You better have 40 percent, but it’s not the only metric you need.” @TriKro
"If you aren't sure if you have product-market fit, you probably don't. Use this quantitative validation technique to track your progress." @LaunchTomorrow
"Achieving product/market fit isn't a goal in its own right. Know your product's role in your customers' lives and the market as a whole." @LaunchTomorrow
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