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Behavior Market Fit

Behavior Market Fit

Over the past 15 years, achieving Product Market Fit has been seen as the holy grail for every new product.

Marc Andreessen defines Product Market Fit as “being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market”.

Steve Blank, creator of Customer Development and the godfather of the Lean Startup movement, defines Product Market Fit as the “match of product features and customers”.

However, Product Market Fit is actually the result of something much more important and fundamental: Behavior Market Fit.

Behavior Market Fit is the match of the desired behavior (or behaviors) and customers.

If the desired behavior is ill-suited for a group of users or customers, any product built around that desired behavior will fail.

An example: Let’s say you’re at a major health insurance company and are tasked with building a wellness app for senior citizens. The goal of the application is to get seniors to lose weight and be more active.

There are hundreds of different behaviors that people can do to achieve the product’s stated goal: helping people lose weight and be more active.

For example:

  • Running

  • Biking

  • Hiking

  • Walking

  • Weight lifting

  • Yoga

  • Swimming

  • Tennis or racquetball

  • Golf

  • Basketball

  • Soccer

  • Dancing

  • Pilates or barre classes

  • Kayaking

  • Gardening

  • Dieting

  • Medication (Semaglutide, etc.)

  • Intermittent fasting

  • Etc.

The success of this product will mostly be determined by which behavior is chosen as the focus. If you choose something like running or hiking, you are choosing something that a huge portion of the target audience will not be able to do (or will have a very hard time doing).

If you choose something like gardening, you are similarly choosing something that a significant portion of the target audience won’t be able to do. Not everyone will have access to a large yard and the resources needed to partake.

To set this product up for success, you will likely need to build it around a few carefully chosen behaviors that are almost universally easy and simple for the target audience.

In this case, you might want to choose walking, intermittent fasting, and medication as the three main behaviors. Walking would be the behavior for people who are physically capable of being active and exercising. Intermittent fasting and medication would be chosen as options for the individuals who are not able to exercise given their physical condition. However, these are two different, easy-to-do approaches to the weight loss problem.

Market: Senior citizens.

Behavior(s): Walking, Intermittent Fasting, Medication (Semaglutide).

If we were doing this in the real world, we would do a variety of different customer research studies and spend a lot of time creating and analyzing our list of behaviors. We would want to make sure that our chosen behavior, or behaviors, would give us the best chance of really engaging our target group.

Only after we were clear on our behaviors would we start strategizing and moving forward with the product ideation and creation process.

A product built around walking, intermittent fasting, and medication is going to look a lot different than a product built around dieting or weight lifting. This is why it’s so important to spend the time and energy up front researching and choosing the right behaviors.

If this work is not done at the beginning of any new product or initiative, it often becomes impossible to make any substantive changes in the Behavioral Strategy later on.

This is why it is critically important that someone leads the Behavioral Strategy of any new product or initiative, and works with the rest of the leadership team to ensure that the proper behaviors are chosen.