Have you developed an MVP but not sure what to do next? Have you put it in the hands of innovators or early adopters to improve or even market your product? The problem is that you’re not sure what’s next or what comes after a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
There are multiple variations of an MVP that stand to confuse entrepreneurs and startups, all with varying differences and advantages. However, the core concept of a Minimum Viable Product and its variations remain the same. To enter a period of validated learning to understand the next step. Also, to collect the maximum amount of information to improve your product’s development to better serve your customers.
In his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Ries outlines the MVP concept. His idea is to test a product with the least effort possible. However, while an MVP has clear advantages, other variations can help test ideas further to build a version of a new product that customers love soon after launch.
The MMP is the first ‘real’ version of your product that can actually solve users’ problems with a limited number of features.
What Are The Criteria of an MVP?
As we’ve learned here, an MVP is an essential component of technology startups to test their idea. It allows a team to collect vital early information about a product’s features and user behavior. Yet, while building an MVP is important, many entrepreneurs struggle to keep things lean and are tempted to build fully-featured products, which end up proving costly mistakes.
To first understand an MVP and its variations, we must first acknowledge the MVP minimum criteria.
1. Identify and Understand The Business Needs
Successfully identifying your customers’ needs and why you are building an MVP will help steer your development in the right direction. Trying to please a broad audience is one of the biggest mistakes a startup can make. Find out what your customers want, identify the key performing indicators of your product, and build an MVP to test your assumptions. Your goal is to provide value to the users, something you can’t do if the version of the product you are building is something nobody will love.
2. Find The Opportunities
It’s a big world out there. Competitors come in many shapes and sizes, with a lot of markets saturated with companies providing products and services in your industry. The key is to figure out how your product can differentiate itself from others. Do you plan to disrupt an existing industry through innovation? Or do you want to carve out an entirely new market altogether?
Start by identifying your target customer’s pain points. What problems will force them to seek out your product? Is there room in the industry to compete on price? Or are the competitors missing out on offering excellent service which can provide value to your customers? Learn about your market and start finding the opportunities that could make enough of a difference in your product development’s early stages.
3. Decide What Features to Build
This is where working with an MVP development service can provide real value. A startup MVP development service will wireframe your MVP to determine which features to start building to gather the most amount of feedback from your early adopters. The core idea is to create a lean product that collects data to make future decisions. Creating the wrong features can be almost as harmful to your MVP success as creating too many.
What Are The Variations of an MVP?
Now that we know the importance and qualities of a minimum viable product let’s consider the development process of what comes after an MVP.
Minimal Marketable Product or Minimal Sellable Product (MMP/ MSP)
If an MVP is the lean version of your product with limited features, the MMP is the first ‘real’ version of your product that can actually solve users’ problems with a limited number of features. While the MVP focuses on getting your product into the hands of innovators and early adopters for feedback, an MMP or MSP’s function is to document feedback from users who are happy to pay for your product.
Like the MVP, the MMP is still geared towards early adopters, those that are eager to test and try your product while willing to overlook the bugs and kinks that still need to be ironed out. To make sure of this, your MMP should perform how the customers want it to. Including only features, you know they want from soliciting direct feedback and advice.
Since an MMP allows for real user interactions and monetization of your product, large investment rounds are often made at this stage in the product’s development. Even though, at this point, your MMP is still not flush with features, nor is your customer service robust enough to handle thousands of customer inquiries, a minimal marketable product (MMP) will still contain technologies competitive enough to sustain an advantage.
Getting an idea about your best minimum marketable product is ideally done by testing several MVPs to gather enough data about which basic features should be required to satisfy customers. This will help to give you a clear understanding of which features are successful and which are not. The bottom line is, your MMP minimum marketable product must be beneficial in addressing your targeted users’ immediate needs.
Minimum Lovable Product or Minimal Delightful Product (MLP/MDP)
The clue is in the name. A minimum lovable product refers to the concept that if users have their first pleasurable product experience, they will continue to use it and tell others. With that being said, creating a product that wows customers is no easy feat. To create a minimum loveable product, it’s important to work on and build features that are not only easy to love and fantastic but will please the user. Here the goal is not only to create a product that contains the necessary features for users but is also fun to use.
While we’re still targeting those initial users who are more patient with new technology, MLPs need to communicate that not only is the product functional, but it’s cool as well. To do this, begin with a catchy design, build the minimum loveable product with the customer experience in mind, not just the functionality, and always try to add a wow factor.
Minimal Marketable Feature (MMF)
A minimal marketable feature is a small set of product functionality that brings value to the customer. MMFs improve customer loyalty, saves costs, and generates revenue for the business. For MMFs, users expect your product to have a feature that will solve their problems and alleviate pain points faster, in a more efficient way that acts as an alternative to the main product’s features. This function must be new. We’re not talking about a bug fix or upgrade, but a completely new feature that allows customers to solve their problems but at a lower cost.
While MMFs assist in creating strong customer loyalty, they can also provide users with a new product which allows investors to see the value in an early-stage technology venture. Each positive MMF pushes investors to consider that the market size available can increase and therefore allows entrepreneurs to attract more funding.
A minimum lovable product is a revolutionary way of providing users with a memorable experience
Minimum Viable Product or Minimum Lovable Product (MLP vs. MVP )?
Now that you understand the core differences between MVP & MLP, which one do you choose to begin with? On the one hand, an MVP provides users with your product’s core functionalities, with all the bells and whistles stripped away. It is a cost-effective approach to understanding your product’s potential and what to or what not to include in future iterations. On the other, an MLP provides users with a memorable experience. It may be a more cost-intensive approach, but you can be certain of gaining traction among users who will want to continue using your product and even recommend it.
A minimum lovable product is a revolutionary way of providing users with a memorable experience. While the MLP vs. MVP debate is likely to rage on, it comes down to your initial goals and time to market. While the development process of an MLP is likely to be longer as you seek to develop a memorable experience and lush UX design, the core idea may take longer to hit the market. Whereas, while the time it takes to launch an MVP is much quicker, the product’s functionality may suffer. Customers are less likely to love your product. However, your initial development cost will be lower.
Understanding Customer Segments To Align With Your MVP Strategy
We’ve spoken a lot about early adopters, innovators, and the different types of customers MVPs should focus on targeting. But what does that all mean?
Innovators are the first customers that adopt a new product or service. They are less risk-averse, are often young with disposable income. Startups rely on innovators to buy and use their product or service early in order to gather essential information from them. Their motivation to buy often comes from wanting to be first, to provide reviews, or increase social status.
Once innovators have passed, early adopters come in and adopt an innovation. Similar to innovators, they are young, less risk-averse, and have disposable income which can soften the blow should technologies fail.
The early majority take advantage of new and emerging technology only once there has been an acceptable level of adoption in the product already. They are slower in the adoption process but still willing to accept a small risk on emerging technologies. They’re often members of the general public who use the product for personal use rather than opinion pieces.
Only once an acceptable number of the general public have used the product or service, will the late majority jump on board the bandwagon. With a high degree of skepticism, the late majority are often more careful with their spending and in contact with the early adopters to understand more about the product’s benefits and potential problems before buying.
The last group to take up a new product or service. Laggards often follow “traditions”, are not risk-takers, and tend to be the oldest of the 5 customer segments. Laggards often only adopt a new product or service if it’s absolutely necessary. For example, older people only adopted mobile phones once they had become essential components of society.
Where Can You Pitch Your MVP & MLP?
Find Angel Investors That Match Your MVP, MMP or MLP
All MVP variations are ideal platforms for raising funds for further product development. MMPs provide the best version of your product that is likely to attract Angel investors’ attention, given the product’s time to market release. However, don’t just try and pitch your idea to any angel investor. Try and find one that is within your niche. An investor is more likely to invest in your product if they have expertise in that subject area. Like appealing to a particular market of customers, finding an investor who shares an interest in your field could be the difference in raising funds or not.
Develop a Go To Market Strategy
We talk about the importance of developing a Go-To-Market strategy here. Creating a Go-To-Market strategy is going to help launch your minimal marketable product. This release is critical in the preliminary stages of your product development. Create landing pages, devise google ads and build an email list. Whatever marketing strategy you end up going for, make sure your message focuses on the problem that your MMP or MLP solves.
MLP Vs. MVP Vs. MMP Summary
There are a platitude of variations to choose from when deciding what to do with your MVP, MLP or MMP. Each has its respective advantages and disadvantages, depending on your product development goals. Whether you’re looking to raise money, create customer loyalty, or test assumptions with basic functionality, there is a minimum version of your product that you can use. Whichever you chose, keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to benefit the user and learn as much as you can about your product for the best chance of sustained success.