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The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback by Dan Olsen

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Chapter 3 Determine Your Target Customer (Step 1)

You begin the Lean Product Process by identifying your target customer, which is the bottom layer of the Product-Market Fit Pyramid. The problem space benefits you're going to identify pertain to a specific customer segment. Different customers will have different needs—and even those who have the same needs can have distinct views on their relative importance.

FISHING FOR CUSTOMERS

Many companies have launched products without any explicit discussion of the target customer. Sometimes, a company will introduce a product with one target customer in mind but end up attracting a somewhat different customer segment. Matching a product with its target customer is like fishing. Your product is the bait that you put out there and the fish that you catch is your target customer. Sometimes you catch the type of fish you were going after and sometimes you catch a different type of fish. You can develop hypotheses about your target market, but you won't truly know who your customers actually are until you throw your hook into the water and see what kind of fish bite. Once you have a product or a prototype to show customers, then you can gain clarity about the target market you're attracting.

Of course, your bait can attract more than one type of customer. For example, Quicken was designed so that individual consumers could easily manage their household finances. But it was so easy to use that small business owners started using it to manage ...

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