Most start-up founders (myself included) look to finding product/market fit as their top priority.
We obsess with designing and building product features to align with the needs of the prospects we are pursuing. Technical founders love this. When someone brings up addressing language, it’s usually kicked down the road to marketing as a later priority.
It’s all about product/market fit! The thing is, this pursuit is expensive:
- The money you pour into AdWord campaigns doesn’t deliver.
- Marketing struggles with traction.
- Sales are off-target and slow.
What I have come to realise is that fine-tuning language matters more.
As founders, we need to prioritise understanding how our prospective customers’ think. They are not walking around with a list of product features or marketing buzzwords in their heads. They have specific goals, doubts and worries that need addressing.
So how do we find the right words ahead of the right product?
There’s a popular theory called “Jobs To Be Done.” (JTBD) that explains customers do not actually “buy” products or services; they hire them to do a specific job.
Using jobs-to-be-done interview techniques, our laser focus is on understanding the context of our prospective customers, the specific language they use to describe their struggles and desired outcomes and the emotions associated with this.
Start by targeting new customers with this interview technique to uncover why they bought your product. Armed with this, create headlines and copy. Clarify your understanding with an external review — Run A/B tests on different copy versions.
Chasing product/market fit is time-consuming and expensive.
Focusing on language/market fit results typically in better conversion rates and more robust unit economics.
When we lead with clear functional messaging, the product team know what to build, sales and marketing have clarity and the people you are targeting understand what job you can help them achieve.