Donal Trump has identified the key problems his voters are suffering from and he communicates that in a way that shows that he gets them, his voters; he can empathize through clearly understanding the problems that are being faced. In this way, he is partially market driven in our understanding of the term; he addresses, or at least acknowledges, the problems of his market.
But what is a market?
We would define a market as a group of people or enterprises that share common problems. It is the problem that defines them not the enterprise, industry or demographic of person. Although there may be correlations between problem and subject the focus is on the problem, that is the defining characteristic of the market.
Not any old problems will do!
The same goes for Donal Trump / Hilary Clinton as for a tech startup that wants to get traction. You need to identify problems with specific characteristics, not any old problem will do. What characteristics should these problems have if you want to have success?
- The problems that you want to address should be urgent. That is to say that the market that is suffering from the problem wants to solve those problems NOW. Not in 6 months’ time or at some stage further down the line when there is more mind space, resources etc.
- The market that is suffering from the identified problems must be growing. You do not want to create a product or a set up a start up on a market that is decreasing over time
- Willing to pay
- You market must also be willing to pay for the product that will resolve the problem. This is the difference between a nice to have a must have. If your market is not willing to pay it doesn’t matter how good your tech is, how much marketing budget you have got and great your sales team are; it’s not going to happen
- Unique (this is a bonus characteristic)
- If you can identify problems with the characteristics above and can uniquely solve those problems, you are in poll position
Before you actually develop a tech product, we work with tech so let’s use tech as the example but the logic is applicable to all products, you must first identify and validate the problems that have those three characteristics. Once you do that you are not ready to start coding or pumping all your investment into the idea but you are ready to start taking things a lot more seriously as you identify a real opportunity.
In addition to this, you need to understand your competitors, understand your route to market, run tech assessments, decide if you should buy, build or partner etc. But without the afore mentioned problems you are working on gut feeling, opinions or could be quite simply creating products that you can because you have the capability (tech-driven products)… you are now applying this logic to the elections, right?:)
Where Trump may fall down: When is value created?
If you have gone through the lengthy process of identifying the market problems and validating that they have they are urgent, pervasive and the market is willing to pay and you have done all the other necessaries you then develop your product. What your product will do is solve the problems; that is when value is created, in the moment the problem is solved. Here is possibly where the Trump campaign comes up short. There does not seem to be a clear product to resolve the problem, the problems are recognized but there is a lot of ambiguity in regards to the pragmatics of the product that will solve the problem, hence, the value, for now, remains questionable.
Not only do you need to create you need to position
So, creating the product is a must but it is not everything, the task doesn’t end there. It’s not sufficient to create value you must also communicate that value out to your defined market. Products and services, on the contrary to a lot of board director’s opinions:-), do not sell themselves. You must communicate what are the problems you solve (the why you created the tech) and to a lesser extent how that is done, where the product connects and resolves the problem.
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”
However, a lot of tech startups focus on what they do and how brilliantly they do it. You may be the world’s first Xtech, Ytech or Ztech that has the cutting edge A, B and C but unless you can tell me, the market, WHY I should care I will not be interested, that is to say you need to be able to show me that you know my problems and can clearly communicate how you will resolve them with your product.
Only time will tell if politicians are truly market driven or not
To summarize, you need to be able to identify and validate problems that are urgent, pervasive and the market is will to pay to resolve the same to have a good case for creating a product. Mr Trump, seems to have this piece down, although the willing to pay is more directly related to actual products and services. You then must create the product and communicate it out to the market, in doing so you create value as you solve the problems you had identified.
Market Driven Products is about solving problems and creating value, we could easily apply the same logic to politics. Will they actually be market driven? Only time will tell if true value is created and real problems are solved.