Minimum viable marketing for startups

Subhas Desai

By Subhas Desai

Minimum viable marketing for startups

Without singling out or naming the startups, one of the lessons they taught us was if they had tested with a few critical features, they would have saved nine – which essentially means they would have avoided all the wastages in terms of time, effort, investment and resources.

So what can save your nines? Minimum Viable Marketing (MVM)!

Minimum Viable Marketing is an extension of Minimum Viable Product, which is used primarily in the software development parlance. MVP puts first things first and asks a simple question – what minimum effort is required to develop a product to yield maximum returns?

In other words, this MVM concept doesn’t encourage companies to build the full set of product features. For example, when Dropbox was launched, it didn’t have the complete set of features. Gradually Dropbox built the features after understanding the exact needs of users and tweaked its features at every stage based on the feedback that it got from the users from time to time.

Taking a cue from Dropbox and other companies that built from the scratch, companies today that understand the importance of the MVM concept don’t really build everything from the word go. They just build the basic features and put their learning back into the product design quickly.

But the bigger question is how companies should go about getting this feedback.

  • Do we really need the feedback from everyone?
  • What is the best feedback mechanism in less time?
  • What teasers need to make a buzz in the social media circles?
  • What categories and funnels need to be built to capture feedback?
  • What new and emerging segments need to be explored and measured?
  • What initial positioning needs to be crafted?

Here is some prescription for startups:
Once you build a plan, pick at least 5 must have features to test and learn from the feedback. Keep it in mind that when you promote the product, make sure you are promoting the benefits, not really the features. Very often companies fail to highlight benefits and get stuck in the features.
Ideally build your campaigns around these three segments:

  • Business users
  • Technical users
  • Influencers

For business users, you cannot highlight features – simply because this is not the community that wants to know the features. For technical people, the best way to explain is to bring up all your features upfront, for they understand features much better than anybody else. And finally for Influencers, like industry analysts, media and press, you need to weave a story around benefits and features.

Storytelling is what makes a maximum impact on them.

Let us know your experience of launching new products. Let’s share and promote ideas that build successful companies.