Whether you’re a Pendo fan or a certified Pragmatic Institute Product Manager, the way to discover new opportunities starts in the market and then that knowledge manifests with the creation of a product. But different companies have different approaches. Some start with the product and build from there, while others start with the market and build from there. What you may not know is that either way, they’re still in a sense market-driven. Read on, friend, to see what we mean.
What Is Product Driven?
So what does it mean to be product driven? Fairly, it means different things to different people. In the extreme being product driven is a high-risk endeavor. First you build the product, then you hopefully find the right buyers and users before you run out of financial runway. At the other end is the more pragmatic definition from the folks at Product Plan
Product-led organizations focus on infusing the well-being of the product into every aspect of the business. The business is the product, and the product is the business.
In this case, the product is synonymous with the business. Once the product is launched, the business focuses on convincing people they need the product in the lives. When you think about the product and the whole customer experience throughout your organization – putting your customers interactions with your people and your product central to your business processes and decisions.
What is Market Driven?
A market driven approach is about creating a culture which places empathy, context and market knowledge central to product decisions. It is way more than just doing research. Understanding your users, buyers and problems to build the right product and better manage investment risks as priorities collide, decisions needs to made and new market opportunities are discovered. If we were to rephrase the folks at Product Plan:
Market Driven Organizations focus on infusing the well-being of product users into every aspect of the business from the problems they have, requirements for success and the preferred interactions with your products and business.
Product-Driven Organizations Are Still Market-Driven Organizations
If you strive to create a product that delights your users, drives success for your buyers and achieves the financial metrics needed for your business you’ll need both experts on the market and great technologists to build the right solutions and measures. Whichever approach your organization employs, sooner or later the market will self-select for you (with their wallets) and you’ll end up being market-driven anyway. Essentially, whether or not you consider the needs of the market before you build, sooner or later you will need to consider the needs of the market. It’s just easier to do it in the first place than it is to retro-fit what you’ve built to what people actually want to buy.