How To Build A Product That Market Really Wants

June 29, 2018

Roughly speaking, a new tech product needs to fall into three key areas of fit: problem-solution fit, product-market fit, and distribution-conversion fit. There is a great example of an app I’d like to give a shout out to called Kakao. Based in Korea, this mobile app is analogous to the widely-used WeChat in China and impressively, most of the Korean population it on a daily basis for more than just chatting. Kakao is used for tasks such as, shopping, booking a ride, ordering food and even gaming but last year the team has decided to enter into a whole new industry, the mobile-banking market. How could a convenience-chat app stand out from many other existing mobile payment platforms?

Launched in 2017, Kakao fintech solution aimed to alleviate the painstaking experience of banking in Korea where frequently people had to wait in long-queues and go through the tedious-sign up process that requires them to sign multiple contracts. As you can also guess, the User Experience (UX) on the online and mobile banking solutions offered by the market incumbents was far from optimal…

Thus, Kakao aimed to disrupt the industry by offering a 7-minute sign-up process with a user-friendly interface, successfully addressing the problem-solution fit. Next, regarding the product-market fit — which refers to the effort of determining if there is a market for a product, how to get users on board and turn them into paying customers — Kakao counted already with a very significant user-base across the basic functions of the app. A privileged start indeed, but in order to convince the existing users to embrace the new product, Kakao decided to focus its core-features around the savings aspect of the financial use cases. As an example, core-features such as savings calculator, safe-box, and time-ticker use real-time stats to show progress towards a long-term goal that feeds on immediate gratification.

Lastly, on the distribution-conversion fit — in other words, mass market adoption efforts and scalability of a product — Kakao aimed to convey the instant values its product can offer to all potential customers. The Korean company achieved this successfully through its ubiquitous branding and an ambitious (and very creative) omni-channel marketing mix.

The iconic bear character is used as stickers on chats and offline through merchandise that ranges from undies to suitcases.

Similarly to Kakao, at nexlabs, we also take a very systematic approach to product development and go-to-market strategy, converging Integrated Marketing,User centered Design and Technology development. An holistic approach that aims to efficiently cover most of the end-users needs that fall under the 3 areas of fit.

Our methodology for preparing the work is broadly divided into two key components: strategy and execution. We start any project in our office with a well rounded research component that helps us understand the specific business goals, market landscape, and users’ needs (technically called: user stories). On the execution component, our developers explore themes for interface directions following the prioritized set of user-stories. We then aim to release an MVP with the core functionalities as quickly as possible, starting the feedback loop with end-users, iterating and optimizing the core functionalities, refining the product to scale.

Using our own product as an example, Better HR . In Myanmar, manual HR management processes are very common, requiring time-consuming tasks, inefficient allocation of resources and being overall very prone to human error. A recipe for disaster that does not allow for a reliable analysis of data. Both employers and employees lose.

Problem-solution fit

Better HR comes in to improve the overall experience with a well rounded mobile-first, cloud-based HR management system that allows HR managers, business owners and employees to access the platform anywhere they go, on any iOS and Android device.

Product-market fit

The lack of transparency in manual HR management is removed with the PAYG transparent pricing model, while most HR management systems charge one-time payment with additional hidden costs (ex. installation fees, annual fees, and maintenance costs). With the end-users in mind, Better HR data analysis is designed to look and feel like an excel spreadsheet which most HR managers are already very familiar with. It is user-friendly and straightforward, requiring minimal training to use.

Distribution-conversion fit

Different from Kakao, we don’t have a pool of potential users we could leverage on since the get-go, but we did have a strong network among Myanmar’s leading businesses and key decision makers. This fact has, without doubt, helped us get our foot on the door among many potential clients (B2B business model). Our expertise in technology consultation did also came in handy. We understand business needs and we know how to present and deliver to companies of any size, on a timely and stress free manner. All good things to have, don’t you agree?

Key takeaways? In order to build a product the market really wants, we recommend any company and entrepreneur, regardless of their size and resources, to look holistically at their product development and go-to-market strategies. Make time to hear your users, strategize around their feedback and needs, and leverage on the unique assets you already have.

On a last note: would you like to give our App a try? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

Topics: innovation, product market fit, digital product, customer-centric design, digital transformation

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