9 Types of Pivot

Summary: Pivots are not incremental changes made to the product resulting from marketing analytics. Rather, they are high level changes in strategy or execution that impact the whole business model. Nine Types of Pivots.

Pivots can be thought of in a couple of ways. In the most literal sense, a pivot is a restatement of your business model. They are not incremental changes made to the product resulting from marketing analytics. Rather, they are high level changes in strategy or execution that impact the whole business model.

For example, if you're tweaking or replacing a couple of features in a suite of many, that does not constitute a pivot, but if you had to scrap all your features to buckle down and reorientate your business around one core feature, that would constitute a pivot.

The other way to think of pivots is as course correction mechanisms. In an environment of high uncertainty, we need to mitigate risk by moving as quickly as possible toward product-market fit. If we can predict how much time it will take us on average to move through a pivot along with opportunity cost associated with that pivot, then we can determine how many pivots can be achieved with the remainder of our runway.

Finally, another important way of describing pivots is that they're vision driven, not test driven.

Nine Types of Pivot

1. Zoom-in Pivot

In this case, what previously was considered a single feature in a product becomes the whole product. This highlights the value of "focus" and "minimum viable product" (MVP), delivered quickly and efficiently.

2. Zoom-out Pivot

In the reverse situation. Sometimes a single feature is insufficient to support a customer set. In this type of pivot, what was considered the whole product becomes a single feature of a much larger product.

3. Customer Segment Pivot

Your product may attract real customers, but not the ones in the original vision. In other words, it solves a real problem that needs to be positioned for a more appreciative segment and optimised for that segment.

4 .Customer Need Pivot

Early customer feedback indicates that the problem solved is not very important or money isn't available to buy. This requires repositioning or a completely new product to find a problem worth solving.

5. Platform Pivot

This refers to a change from an application to a platform or vice versa. Many founders envision their solution as a platform for future products, but don't have a single killer application just yet. Most customers buy solutions, not platforms.

6. Business architecture Pivot

Geoffrey Moore many years ago observed that there are two major business architectures: high margin, low volume (complex systems model) or low margin, high volume (volume operations model). You can't do both at the same time.

7. Value capture pivot

This refers to the monetization or revenue model. Changes to the way a startup captures value can have far reaching consequences for business product and marketing strategies. The free model doesn't capture much value.

8. Engine of Growth Pivot

Most startups these days use one of three primary growth engines; viral, sticky and paid growth models. Picking the right model can dramatically affect the speed and profitability of growth.

9. Channel Pivot

In sales terminology, the mechanism by which a company delivers its product to customers is called the sales channel or  distribution channel. Channel pivots usually require unique pricing, feature, and competitive positioning adjustments.


There’s nothing worse than building on wrong assumptions, so before product development, we can help you quickly validate your concept. By preparing user interviews to verify your personas and usability testing to improve the UX of your products our team will increase your chance of success on the market. If you want to learn more about how we can help you, you can reach out to us for a conversation and assessment of your unique digital context.

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