This post is by Tomasz Tunguz from Tomasz Tunguz
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Last week's post on The Most Frequent Mishire in Startups generated the most comments on a post this year. In particular, it was this section. Though the startup may have achieved product market fit, the company may not understand the fit. Who is using the product and why? How does the buyer journey evolve with time? How do buyers describe the product amongst each other? Few early stage companies can answer those questions accurately. Why is this? Early in the life of a business, the product manager (often a founder) plays both the role of the PM and the PMM. Over time, the startup's growth demands a more specialized role. Many times, the PM builds the product as quickly as possible to establish product/market fit. In contrast, the PMM answers critical questions about the company, product and market to ensure the product sells. What are these critical questions? I found excellent list in Kotler on Marketing that I adapted for startups. How many of these questions can you answer about your business?
- What is our company's story? What is our pitch?
- Which market segment should we pursue?
- How do we differentiate our product from competition?
- What is the best way to assure a successful new product launch?
- How should we respond when customers ask for discounts?
- How much customization do we offer?
- How can we reduce or maintain cost of customer acquisition?
- How can we retain our customers for longer?
- Which of our customers are the most important?
- What are the best ways to improve salesforce productivity?
- What are our payback periods on each of our marketing efforts?
- How can the business develop multiple channels of customer acquisition and avoid channel conflict?
- How can we orient the entire business to be more customer oriented?