The Benefits Of Testing A Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, is a hot buzzword thanks to startups in Silicon Valley. An MVP is essentially a stripped down version of what the product will ultimately be, used to test audiences and gather support from key stakeholders. A Minimum Viable Product should ultimately be functional, but without the bells and whistles of a fully-fledged launch. But what are the benefits of using a Minimum Viable Product exactly, especially in a marketing context?

1) Confirming the demand for the product before launch. This is fairly self-explanatory, but through running a test launch with a set advertising and marketing budget,  you can be prepared to scale up to larger markets and greater spending. In the worst case scenario, using an MVP can be a measure that prevents losses on larger campaigns, and helps set expectations for the wide release. In the best-case scenario, you can be prepared for high demand and adjust accordingly to prevent scarcity and subsequent consumer frustration.

2) Agility in making product changes. With a small launch to a specific set of consumers, it can be easier to change the direction or branding of the item in question with minimal fallout. Since the Minimum Viable Product is a functional prototype version, it’s easier to add features to the bare-bones structure later based on consumer feedback, potentially saving time and energy down the road.

3) Ability to test different markets and find the right one. Through marketing research and strategy, you can test the hypothesized audience and figure out if the vision for the product is truly connecting with users. This could confirm already held beliefs about your launch, or might lead to new and unexpected avenues, which can be adjusted for accordingly.

4) Gauging customer satisfaction. Essentially, are consumers enjoying using the product, or were there unfulfilled brand promises that need to be remedied? With a limited group of early consumers, it’s fairly easy to follow up with surveys asking specific — yet easy to answer — questions about whether or not the product was as expected, and if they felt like the branding and mission came together in a satisfying way.

As marketers, the MVP can be a crucial step in finalizing product development, enabling us to determine what an audience is responding to, what the demand is, and even what potential new audiences might coalesce around the product. Being able to analyze the launch of an MVP — and make changes accordingly — is a skill set that will set up your product for success.

Daniel Meek