Minimum Viable Product does not equal Minimum Product.
The key and often forgotten word in this phrase is ‘viable’. As a marketer, I spend a lot of time discussing MVP launches for digital products and marketing campaigns. However, I was reading a LinkedIn comment conversation about a train that the NZ Government has built for commuters from Hamilton to Auckland.
The context for non-NZers.
Auckland is NZ’s largest city, below Auckland there are two cities Hamilton and Tauranga that are both growing rapidly, they are connected by road. Auckland to Hamilton is approximately 80 minutes (depending on which suburbs you leave/visit), and Auckland to Tauranga is approximately 2.5 hours.
The government has released a train service from Auckland to Hamilton to encourage workers to commute via train. Some commentary is suggesting people should support this train to push the government for further investment.
The problem is, they went to market with a minimum product, instead of a minimum viable product.
The train takes 2.2 hours (nearly twice the time you would have to spend driving), the schedule is lacking in options. Therefore not many people are taking the train.
The MASSIVE problem with launching minimum products instead of minimum viable products is that they do not work as a research tool. When we launch products like this we are not getting true market signals for a viable product, we are getting market signals for a non-viable product.
I see this with marketing all the time. Say you have a lead generation campaign that has been running for 8 months, over this time you will have:
- Optimized copy,
- Optimized creative,
- Optimized your audience,
- Optimized your hook,
- Optimized your offer.
When you go to launch an MVP marketing campaign I see many marketers rushing things to market following the principle of launch fast to test the response.
When you compare an aged optimized campaign to a rushed campaign — you would have to strike metaphorical gold with your new campaign to be comparable. This leads to people being unable to iterate and launch new campaigns as each one ‘fails’ compared to the original.
Furthermore, if you don’t invest enough to make certain that your campaign is ‘viable’, you can easily damage your brand. Brand is the multiplier in marketing. You can have two companies with identical messaging in an ad — the one with the strong brand will outperform the weak brand over and over again.
How? First is the bad news — one aspect is brand recognition.
Second — the good news, brand trust. When someone first interacts with you they have a blank slate — they’re open to trusting you and they’re open to deciding you are a scam. This opportunity is very important, once people decide you are a scam it will be infinitely harder for them to trust you. In order for them to trust you they have to say to themselves “I made a mistake” this sort of thinking is difficult for people to acknowledge and therefore unlikely to happen.
However trust signals are relatively easy to create, these trust signals are what I refer to when I refer to branding. What will make you trust one company over another:
- Design. Design communicates you are professional, you’ve been around long enough to invest in design, you care enough about your company that you want it to look good. If you are hiring an internal contractor and you saw someone at a conference who had a stained t-shirt and no shoelaces would you trust them?
- Faces. Having humans visible switches you from a ‘business’ to ‘people doing business’. Would you prefer to deal with people doing business or a business doing business?
There are many more but I don’t want to detour too far down the branding road. I will finish with this. Please keep your services scope realistic. Which statement is more believable?
Hi, I’m Timmy I am your go-to guy for digital marketing, traditional marketing, direct response marketing, Facebook advertising, building communities, influencer marketing, brand management and marketing automation.
Hi, I’m Timmy I am your go-to guy for direct response marketing that will simultaneously build your brand.
Thanks for reading, enjoy your day, and please ensure your products and campaigns are viable.