What Is a Minimum Viable Product?
A minimum viable product (MVP) isn’t a new concept; however, many business owners often struggle with it. At a base level, a minimum viable product is a version of a product that allows the recipient to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with minimal effort. This validated learning is often in the form of conversions, product sales, or increased service revenue.
If the technical definition of this term seems confusing - that is ok! In this article, we will do our best to break it down into simpler terms that are a little easier to digest. Although, before we can explore the benefits of minimum viable products from a marketing standpoint, let’s clear up some misconceptions about what it is.
What is Required for a Minimum Viable Product?
A minimum viable product is the first form of a product that can be released to users. In the scope of a website, this will be a mock-up, for example, that provides core functionality without any additional features. Many entrepreneurs will utilize MVPs to determine how their customers feel about a new idea. If it has potential based on initial findings, customer feedback can then be used to create the next version of a product.
With an MVP, businesses can invest minimal effort and resources into a starting strategy to determine if it is viable before focusing on it more. This helps avoid building a finished product that doesn’t provide any appeal to customers and removes the risk of incorporating undesirable features that won’t make a positive impact on ROI. Traditionally, these features would need to be integrated at the start and then adapted or removed later.
What Are the Benefits of a Minimum Viable Product?
MVPs were first developed in conjunction with a Lean Startup methodology. Under these circumstances, projects need to be completed quickly to get to market; however, it’s easy to dismiss planning as a waste of time quickly. There are immense benefits to creating a marketing plan explicitly based on MVPs. Even if your business is beyond the startup stage, this methodology can be used for any expansion efforts or new projects to ensure they are worthwhile.
Focusing on a Minimum Viable Product within your marketing plan creates a constant reminder that creates focus and accelerates the time required to decide. Often, these goals can be segmented into “sprints” or stretch goals that make reasonable timelines for project goals. The good news is that MVPs can help simplify the marketing planning process and create a clear timeline of what marketing should be done and when it will be most impactful based on the project timelines.
Common Types of Minimum Viable Products
Minimum Viable Products can take on many different forms. So, it is helpful to understand what is possible when approaching this methodology. In general, there are six unique ways that this concept is used in marketing. This includes:
To help simplify MVPs further, looking at some well-known examples is helpful. Amazon began as a simple online bookstore. To expand, Jeff Bezos was actively buying books directly from distributors and then shipping them to customers any time an order was received. With continued high book sales, it made sense for the MVP to expand to include more products and dedicated warehouses. Today, Amazon is one of the largest distributors and retailers in the world.
Facebook is also a great example of an MVP in action. Upon the release of version one, Facebook was a simple social media tool for college students to keep in touch with their friends. In the beginning, profiles were extremely basic and limited to just Harvard students. Once this caught on and expanded, the platform continued to grow and add the complex features they are known for today.
Ready To Try Something New?
If you are struggling to define your own Minimum Viable Product, Maennche Virtual CMO has the knowledge and experience needed to help. Once an MVP is defined, we can continue to help you scale it long-term. Take the first step today to learn if our approach is the right fit for your business! Schedule a meeting with us to see how your business could benefit from our expertise.
With over two decades of in-the-trenches marketing experience, Matthew Maennche’s views on developing and supporting a successful business are fundamentally different from the norm. As a developer and strategist, Maennche has helped thousands of businesses of all sizes, both domestic and international, take their organizations to the next level.
Matthew also spends time giving back to the local business community as a volunteer, mentor, and leader for the local chapter of SCORE.