We’ve all read about “Product/market fit”. And it’s true, there is such “magic” moment, when that fit is achieved. You’ll know it when you get the nodding heads and the corporate wheels being put in motion to start evaluating and purchasing.
But, I argue, you don’t have to have a product in order to get a product/market fit. You need a clear “value proposition” that you test with the market. The product comes after that.
The questions is — how do you know if there’s value-prop/market fit if you don’t have a product to show? Well, you can do demos with clever mocks and tell a story “behind” the demo — things that can be done, but are not available with the dummy demo data, for example. A similar approach to the McDonald’s strategy of showing a new product on the menu to test the demand.
If the market responds well to the value proposition of your imagined product, then go ahead and build it fully. Otherwise iterate with MVPs.
Sounds simpler than it actually is, of course — this journey, even if you try to make it as structured as possible (“by the book”), is always messy. You have to get a lot of things right in terms of channel, messaging, buyer persona, etc.
But what you aim for is to find a value proposition that fits the market. A product is just an implementation of that value proposition.