Launching your minimum viable product without a solid marketing plan is a recipe for disaster. But, marketing an MVP using traditional techniques can cause it to flop just as quickly as not marketing it at all.
If you aim to harness the full potential of a minimum viable product at your startup, then understanding what it is, what it isn’t, and how you should market it for maximum return should top your priority list.
A refresher on the minimum viable product (MVP) concept
At its core, a minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to serve its purpose and attract consumer attention.
As simple as this concept is to grasp, there are plenty of ways to do it wrong. Approaching the MVP development process without a clear idea of what you want to achieve is a great example of getting off to a bad start.
Are you trying to tailor your solution to teens, tweens, or twenty-somethings? When, where, and why will they use your product over the competition’s? Who are your competitors? These are the kinds of things that you really need to know before you go ahead with building out your MVP.
Here are a couple key details to keep in mind for your next (or current) minimum viable product:
- Your MVP is not an incomplete product. Your MVP should be a product with just enough features as opposed to one that’s missing features.
- MVPs are optimized for fast improvement. Although your MVP may start off with a streamlined feature set and bare-minimal functionality, you should be prepared to push it in the direction your customers demand with each new iteration.
With the above in mind, making sense of your MVP marketing plan can be as easy as describing its strengths to the right people at the right time and in the right way. More on this below …
Marketing a minimum viable product
Promoting your MVP involves managing many of the same moving parts of a traditional marketing process. However, unlike the traditional approach to marketing, you should incorporate the product itself into the creation of your marketing plan.
In a practical sense, this means you should allow the feedback and insights you glean from early adopters of your MVP to guide your marketing decisions instead of setting them in stone from the start.
Marketing plan essentials
Every marketing plan incorporates the four core elements of the so-called “marketing mix”, but your minimum viable product should do so differently. Here’s how:
Your MVP’s value proposition
This is the “product” portion of the marketing mix. The value proposition you put together describes your product’s core differentiators. However, your MVP’s value proposition should be open to alteration, allowing you to adapt it to users’ needs and interests as these are discovered.
Your MVP’s price
Traditionally, product prices have been based on development costs, allowing projected sales performance to cover these and provide a net profit as well. In the case of an MVP, minimum viable product pricing benefits most from a value-based approach, as this both maximizes potential revenue and clarifies consumer value perceptions at the same time.
Your MVP’s distribution channels
Distribution channels (or “placement” as this facet of the marketing mix is called) have long been tied to the type of product being pushed to market. This holds true for an MVP, but with the minor difference of being optimized primarily for exclusive distribution instead of intensive or selective approaches.
An MVP is designed to solve a very limited stock of problems, making it easy to tailor to a specific (read: small) subset of the market when it is first made available for purchase.
The “promotion” part of the marketing mix takes on special meaning for an MVP. Engaging potential buyers with demographic-tailored promotional messages is much simpler to do with an MVP than traditional products, but it’s also more crucial to an MVP’s success, as the existing customer base could be nonexistent (offering a solution to a problem your audience did not know they had, etc.).
Minimum viable marketing
Taking inspiration from minimum viable product design, the process of minimum viable marketing (MVM) offers up a particularly effective alternative to traditional marketing techniques.
MVM leverages the same spirit of experimentation as an MVP to produce steadily improving results. Campaigns are assessed and altered to then be tested anew until results are optimized and customer acquisition reaches target levels. Sidestep the marketing mistakes others make with their MVPs Your MVP should help you learn more about the market segment you intend to serve. The marketing approach you adopt for your MVP should complement this goal.
Book a call with VeryCreatives today to learn how we can help get your MVP ideas off the ground and out to market.