Minimum Viable Product vs Minimum Marketable Product: What’s The Difference?
Are you wondering about the difference between the Minimum Viable Product vs Minimum Marketable Product? Would you like to know what role each of them plays in the product management process and how to build them?
If so, you are in the right place! Ready to dive in?
- A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a version of the product with minimal features, built to validate product ideas.
- The Minimum Viable Product allows you to collect user feedback at the early stages of development and facilitates validated learning.
- MVP reduces the time to market and allows a quicker release of the product.
- MVP is a great risk reduction tool: it allows products or features to fail fast without investing in their development.
- A Minimum Marketable Product (MMP) is a more developed version of the MVP and it is ready to be sold to customers.
- A Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) delivers value to the customers just like the MMP and helps establish long-term relationships with the customers.
- The MMP is a fully-working product offering a solid user experience while the MVP has limited functionality.
- The MMP delivers value to paying customers whereas the MVP helps the product team test their ideas and targets mostly early adopters.
- Fake door testing helps teams validate the demand for a feature before building it to avoid feature bloat.
- You can avoid falling into the feature parity trap by giving users the chance to raise feature requests instead of trying to match what your competitors offer.
- You should focus on one Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF) at a time – and not the whole product.
- PMF surveys help you determine if your MVP meets the demands of the market.
- Applying emotional design can help you turn your MVP into your MMP.
- Track your engagement along the whole user journey to identify friction and improve the user experience of your MMP.
- Ongoing usability testing will allow you to fix issues that could hinder the success of your MMP.
What’s a minimum viable product (MVP)?
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an early version of a product that has enough features and functionality to attract early adopters.
An MVP is an essential part of the Agile product development process. It allows you to test and validate your ideas without committing precious time and resources.
Why should you build an MVP?
So what’s the purpose of building a Minimum Viable Product?
To start, it allows you to reduce time to market and helps you launch your product faster. Launching a product with a minimum subset of features is simply way quicker than delivering a fully-fledged product. However, that’s only part of the reason.
An MVP is a very reliable way to validate your product ideas. The sooner the product is out, the sooner you can start collecting feedback from potential customers. The sooner you have that data, the sooner you can start building what your customer really needs.
Furthermore, MVPs make product development cheaper. Initially, you aim to spend the absolute minimum to deliver the core functionality. This is particularly relevant in the start-up area where resources are scarce.
What’s more, thanks to the user data that you collect early on, you can focus on developing only these features that deliver value to your customers. In this way, you don’t waste time and effort on irrelevant functionality that nobody will use.
Finally, your MVP is a great way to get the attention of the investors. It goes without saying that getting the right people on board will have an immense impact on the future of your product.
What’s a minimum marketable product (MMP)?
The Minimum Marketable Product (MMP) comes after the MVP in the product development process.
The MMP functionality is based on the feedback to the MVP. The features may still be limited but the important part is that they work and can deliver value to the customer.
In addition, the features often give you the edge over your competitors. There may not be many of them, but they distinguish your product from others in the market.
What’s a minimum lovable product?
The Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) is similar to MMP in that it delivers value and user experience and not just the bare minimum of functionality.
Many product managers or product owners have taken the idea of MVP too far and focused too much on the ‘minimum’ and too little on the ‘viable.’ The result was half-baked products that have nothing to offer even to the early adopters.
The MLP is the solution to that. It still allows you to test your ideas but also helps you establish relationships with your target users. This means delivering not only the must-have functionality but also satisfiers and delighters in the early product increment.
Minimum viable product vs minimum marketable product: What’s the difference?
First, the minimum marketable product is ready to sell to the target users. The product has the necessary functionality and the user experience is refined enough to meet the needs of your customers.
The minimum viable product, on the other hand, is not a fully functional product, and it would be really cheeky to try to sell it to paying customers. Very often it is just a prototype or a mockup that offers a promise but not much more.
Value is the main difference between the MVP and the MMP. As we mentioned before, the purpose of the MVP is to test ideas and inform future development but it doesn’t deliver any actual value, while the MMP does deliver value to the customer.
Consequently, the target audience for each of the two differs as well. The MVP is for the early adopters. They are ready to accept glitches, imperfect user experience, and limited functionality for a chance to use a new unique product.
The MMP targets the actual customers. This also means a greater focus on customer experience. It is not just about the product itself but about all the customer interactions with your business. This includes things like the sales process or customer support.
The product development process of an MVP
How do you build your MVP? Let’s have a look at the main steps:
- Conduct market research
- Idea management
- Technical specifications
- Product creation
- Launch MVP
Conduct market research
Market research is necessary to assess the current situation in your industry. That’s how you identify the main competitors and the products that are already out there.
More importantly, it helps you find gaps in the current offerings which your product could fill.
You can’t separate market research from customer research. If you are to build a successful product, you need to solve customer problems better than other products do.
Having identified the pain points of your customers, it is time to work out the solutions.
Tools like Opportunity Solution Trees help you generate ideas in a structured way and ensure that they support your business objectives too.
As the needs of your user constantly evolve, product discovery is an iterative process where feedback is used to constantly modify the initial ideas.
The outputs of the market research and product discovery are next converted into technical requirements.
In Agile, these are often in the form of user stories. They describe what the feature does and its rationale and are kept in a backlog.
Who develops technical specs? It depends really on your organizational structure. It could be the product manager, in Scrum it is the product owner and Scrum master, and traditionally it used to be the job of project managers.
Roadmapping helps you outline the overall product vision and business strategy.
The mistake that teams often make is including too many details in the roadmap. While working on your MVP, you should make your roadmap general and focus on the key direction you would like to pursue.
This is because a very detailed roadmap can be a constraint and leave you little scope to experiment with new ideas.
Once you have developed your tech specs and outlined the overall product vision, it’s time to prioritize the backlog items. The objective is to choose the features that will take you most directly to the objectives.
To enhance the process, reach out to the key stakeholders. Listening to their input will help you prioritize the features that address the needs of customers and are aligned with business strategy.
There is a range of tools and frameworks that you can use here. Agile techniques, like Opportunity Scoring or Priority Poker, have the benefit of transparency and can help reconcile conflicting stakeholder positions.
At this stage, the developers use all the input from the previous stages and write the code to create the working product.
In Agile, the development and testing happen in parallel, which reduces the release time.
That’s how your MVP is born.
When the MVP is ready, it is time to show it to the world.
Platforms like Product Hunt are a great place to start. They allow you to get the word out and engage early adopters who will provide you with invaluable feedback.
Make sure you prepare the launch carefully. Engage your copywriters to craft the release communications, like emails, and make sure the release notes are ready.
Overall, you only have one chance to release a new product and it’s easy to blow it, so take your time.
How to avoid over-engineered products with a minimal marketable product
There are a few tricks that you can use to avoid building over-engineered products.
Avoid feature bloat with fake door testing
Feature bloat describes the way products become overloaded with unnecessary features or functions.
We’ve all seen this, haven’t we? You add that one cool feature, then another one… Each doesn’t seem to be a big deal on its own but they cost time and money and increase the maintenance cost in the long run.
Worse yet, they don’t make your product any more successful because nobody uses them.
How can you avoid feature bloat? How about using fake door testing to determine feature relevance and demand?
The process is very simple. First, you announce a feature that you are considering. You can use a modal or a native tooltip to let your users know about it, like in the hypothetical example below.
When the users try to engage with the feature, another modal informs them that the feature isn’t ready yet and invites them to sign up for beta tests.
In the meantime, you track the engagement and use the data to determine if the feature is worth building.
Ask users what they need instead of adding just another cool feature
Feature bloat is often the result of falling into the feature parity trap.
How does it happen?
Basically, you add features just because your competitors have one or want to offer the same features across all your platforms without checking if the users need them at all.
What’s the antidote? Feature requests could be one.
You can leverage in-app microsurveys, like the one built in the Userpilot, to do just that.
Public product roadmaps are another way of soliciting feature requests. The one below, created by Buffer in Trello, lets users add feature requests and vote for their favorite ones.
Focus on the minimum marketable feature
Instead of focusing on the whole product, focus on one thing at a time and adopt the feature-driven development framework.
Minimum Marketable Features (MMFs) are small and self-contained. This means you can develop them quickly to deliver significant value to the user without having to worry about managing complex interdependencies with other parts of your product.
How to test if you’ve reached product-market fit with your MVP
Product-Market Fit is the measure of how well your product satisfies market demand. In other words, if there are enough users who are ready to pay for your product, it means you have a good product-market fit.
How can you check if you’ve reached this stage?
You can use code-free tools like Userpilot to design a PMF survey, like the one below.
If at least 40% of users would be ‘very disappointed, you’ve nailed it.
Triggering the PMF surveys in-app increases engagement because the experience is still fresh in their mind.
To increase the effectiveness and relevance, make sure you customize your surveys and target only the relevant user segments.
How to advance from minimum viable product to minimum marketable product
Why don’t we look at a few things you can do to develop your MVP into MMP?
Apply emotional design to your minimum viable product
Emotional design is about creating emotional connections between the customers and the product. By designing products to evoke an emotional response such as happiness or thrill, you drive users to take action.
If you would like to see a good example of emotional design, check out the funny Asana error code “5 evil cobras jog sadly.”
Enhance user experience across the customer journey
Tools like Userpilot allow you to set goals and track their completion at different stages of the customer journey. By doing so, you can identify the friction points and use the information to optimize the user experience.
By removing friction at critical touchpoints you increase the chances of users experiencing value and having a satisfying user experience.
Conduct user research and improve product usability
The MMP is an improved version of MVP and that also means better usability.
Your product usability needs to be good enough to impress the users you are trying to attract and convert into clients.
Usability testing helps you identify and fix any issues which could make the lives of your users difficult and stop them from fully experiencing the value of your product.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) helps product teams validate their ideas so it is very basic in terms of functionality and UX. The Minimum Marketable Product (MMP) is ready to be sold, so it is better developed and offers a better overall user experience.
If you would like to find out how Userpilot can help you build your MVP and develop it into MMP with in-app communications and surveys, book the demo!