There are times where technocrats, bitten by the entrepreneurial bug have a particular idea and they would like to develop it. But once they develop the product, they have difficulty in getting the product across to the masses. Only a few early customers trickle in. This is because they have not really validated their idea. Only when the market feels the need for a particular product, will the masses end up buying it. Else, the product will be languishing without any takers.
For a company practising Product Management with well defined roles of product planning and product marketing, these problems will not occur. This is because the product management function envisions the product strategy, new product strategy and new product development and also for the emerging markets for the company. They would always validate the idea before development and will also have a detailed product positioning strategy. As a part of product marketing, the marketing strategy will take care of the positioning and relevant directions to the marcom teams.
A product manager needs to be a friend of the end user and buyer. We need to keep in mind that the buyer is different from the user. The product marketer communicates to the buyer about the values he will be getting and the product is designed keeping the user in mind. If the product manager does not heed the market and designs a product keeping a closed view, there are high chances that the product will not be accepted by the masses.
As to the best ways to validate the market opportunity, it would be going to prominent customers (Existing and new) and talk to them regarding the pain points that they face. A lot of secondary research will also go into finding new opportunities. The question that the product managers should always have in mind is that if they build it, will the market buy? Answering that in each phase of the product will work wonders for the product. There should also be internal evangelising amongst the company to accept the product.
If the product is not taking off, then the strategy will have to be revisited and if this means going back to the market, then it has to be done. There are no two ways about it. The product manager will always build products for the market, more specifically, the end user.
Confianzys is a pioneer in Product Management space and has helped in evangelising it to Indian companies. Its mission is to help companies conceive market-driven breakthrough products and achieve global scale. You can see more on their website: www.confianzys.com
Validating Market Opportunities