Hi, Morgan here again.
Before reading today’s blog, please listen to one of my stories.
I’m new to the SaaS field, so I’m unfamiliar with some terminology in SaaS marketing, and I haven’t read many theoretical books about SaaS marketing. As a result, I stupidly answered someone’s question.
Last Christmas, I received a direct message from a founder on Twitter asking how to find product market fit. At the time, I already knew that the product needed to meet user needs and that there should be a certain market, but I underestimated what PMF really was and had not realized my product was far from the stage of PMF, so I responded confidently as follows:
” Conduct extensive research on your competitors and their market fit to identify market potential or unknown users.”
It sounds like I’m a layperson who has never worked in the marketing field. After reading some articles, posts, and books about Product Market Fit, I feel terrible for answering like that.
To help others avoid the mistakes I’ve made, I decided to write this blog to share my limited knowledge of PMF and list some of the mistakes I made while trying to find PMF for Gemoo over the last three months.
After Gemoo was released, we worked hard to figure out how to achieve rapid growth in a short period of time. It’s a tough journey, sometimes it feels like getting lost in the jungle, messing around with directions without knowing where we’re heading to.
Also, we skipped the MVP (minimum viable product) stage to some extent because we created the product before identifying potential users and their true needs, which is risky and challenging, and I would not recommend it if I could start over.
In this situation, we tried a variety of platforms to submit our products, and they managed to bring a steady stream of new users to us. If you are interested, feel free to check whether they worked well for us.
However, we are still in the process of investigating our PMF.
From a professional standpoint, “Product-market fit,” writes startup coach and investor Marc Andreessen, “means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” When an entrepreneur identifies a need in the market and builds a solution that customers want to buy, that’s product-market fit.
In my words, PMF is a continuous process of asking yourself:
If you fail to achieve rapid growth in sales and users, the most possible reason may be your not finding PMF, like us. You can then try to ask yourself the above questions I listed above to figure out why and take measures.
To be honest, this is not my first time starting a business, but it is my first SaaS business. So I ignore the distinction between SaaS and other markets and stick to the old rules, which is when I start making mistakes.
My team and I conducted some research on remote work (WFH, WFA, and even make some thorough assumptions about people’s daily routines, such as developers, designers, markers, and so on, in order to determine who our potential users might be.
But the more we did, the more ambiguous our potential users became. We tried to attract developers’ attention by posting on dev communities; we tried to attract teachers’ attention by emailing them and asking for a chance; we tried to connect products with marketers’ daily lives by reaching out to marketing influencers, etc..
Too many attempts and efforts on different groups of users at the same time exhausted us, and now we’re still a long way from reaching our goal.
We initially believed Gemoo could do anything and solve almost any problem in remote communication. But we’re still wrong.
It does have a lot of features, such as built-in screen recording, screenshots, docs, and even a cloud space (not self-promotional👀). As a result, we believe it perfectly fits almost every need and can replace current tools.
However, it turns out that the value of Gemoo is not in replacing all tools. We’re not good enough to replace existing screenshot takers, screen recorders, and docs, so we need to figure out what makes us different from other similar tools, which we’ve discovered is the power of visualizing things by various views.
But, as I previously stated, we are still in the process of locating PMF, so we may discover other values in the future.
Long before we discovered potential users and their true needs, we began to build products based on our market research.
When I started looking into SaaS, I realized that I hadn’t created an MVP, which could be a simple draft or a slide to validate potential users and their needs, causing some issues with our marketing.
Fortunately, Gemoo is fantastic in some way, so we are finally getting gradual growth in users through these platforms. Meanwhile, our product is rapidly iterating in order to improve and hear users’ voices more frequently.
As is customary before beginning to find potential users, we conducted extensive research on who our competitors’ current users are and how they find users. We focused too much on competitors rather than figuring out our own path.
We certainly gained some insights from their experience, but knowing our own potential users is far more important.
So make as many connections as possible with potential users and ask them what they require. Consider more users, rather than competitors. Losers focus on winners, while winners focus on winning.
When I realized we needed to pay more attention to our users, I began to make efforts to interview them with my partner, Wenqing. Here’s an article about what we discovered after speaking with users.
This not only provided us with a better understanding of users’ motivations for their choices but also enabled us to analyze their product usage, which assisted us in identifying and resolving issues.
We will need to conduct more user surveys and interviews in the future to improve products and effectively test and analyze our target market.
Since I now have a better understanding of the process of achieving PMF, I will set a more specific goal for my team and work towards it step by step.
PMF is the first prerequisite for any company to achieve growth, as it directly determines whether the product business is established and whether it is suitable for market demand; it is also the solution to the problem of the product’s seed stage from 0 to 1.
Only after the product has been verified by PMF, that is, after the market has validated our business model and product, can we proceed to build a user growth system and rapidly acquire new users on a large scale.
I am a newcomer to this field, as are my product and team, so I will always be available to talk, connect, and share all things related to SaaS marketing, startup stories, and so on.
I hope this inspires others, and please feel free to DM me on Twitter: @MorganKung7. I’d love to hear about and learn from your experience!