Successful MVPs Have a Key Component: Marketing Strategy
… and a successful marketing strategy consists of 6 steps.
The term “minimum viable product” is not new. The stories about “success stories” and “success secrets” are not new either. Why do I write another one then?
The thing is, I want to share our vision with you — the KeenEthics idea of how to make your MVP development successful.
I guess that, by this point, you need no explanation as to what is MVP. In case you do, please, read our story on the minimum viable product where we define and illustrate this concept using the example of a bicycle.
Learn more about what MVP is and how to create it
Check our recent article where we explain this concept using the example of a bicycle. This could not be any simpler!
Why Does Your MVP Need Marketing Strategy?
Once we know well “what is MVP”, let’s answer the question of “why to build MVP”.
The goal of MVP is validated learning. These are the words of Eric Ries — the person thanks to whom we are today familiar with the term “MVP”. Although the concept of a minimum viable product was coined by Frank Robinson back in 2001, it was popularized by Eric Ries along with Steve Blanc in 2009. So, this is what Eric Ries says:
The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
Yet, the idea of how exactly to collect validated learning was not as crystal clear as you would expect. Different MVP testing and development companies choose their own approaches towards popularizing and making use of their MVPs. At KeenEthics, through many years of long and wide experience in software development, we have discovered the following:
The best way to make the most out of a minimum viable product is to implement a full-fledged Marketing Strategy.
Marketing Strategy is how you bring your MVP to the right audience, let them get an actual feel of your solution, and inspire them to leave honest and profound feedback.
What Exactly Is Marketing Strategy?
The marketing strategy is a part of an MVP plan, which consists of six steps. Yet, every MVP plan starts with an idea. Before you start with developing a marketing strategy or conducting a market analysis, you need to understand the following:
- What problem are you going to solve?
- What solution are you going to offer?
- What is unique about your solution? What the customers will be willing to pay for?
1. Market Analysis
At first, you analyze the market of available solutions for the problem that you aim to solve. What kind of products or services are there? Which solutions succeed and which fail? Is the niche overcrowded or not? Do you have something new to offer that the customers will pay for?
The main objective of market analysis is to adjust your solution in a way that it is unique, useful, and potentially profitable.
2. Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis can be viewed as a part of market analysis. Yet, it is so important that it is worth to be viewed independently.
To conduct a competitor analysis, you need to identify competitors, and the easiest way to do so is through Google Search. Then, you create a table, where each column is assigned to a certain company, while each row is assigned to a particular comparison criterion. These criteria will depend on your particular industry, but they may include:
- Self-image (brand motto)
- Establishment date
- Company size
- Web presence
- Social media presence
- Target audience
- Pricing strategy
- Product/service unique features
Once you filled out the table, you should be looking for some tendencies (for instance, most winning companies are located in Europe) and for gaps (for instance, no company tries to take the environmentally-conscious approach).
The main objective of competitor analysis is to adjust your solution in a way that it is competitive.
Positioning is about identifying the mission of the company and the market segment that you will target. You have to answer 4 questions:
- What do we do?
- How do we do it?
- Who are we doing it for?
- What value do we bring to the table?
These four questions will create a framework for your brand positioning. You formulate your mission and your business values and choose what kind of people you plan to target. For instance, KeenEthics positions itself as an ethical company, our mission is “We strive for a tech world devoted to the social good!”, and we target those people who are socially responsible.
The main goal of positioning is to make your company stand out from the competition, pursue a unique mission, and target a particular market segment.
Once you have understood which market segment you plan to target, you develop user personas — the profiles of abstract people who you would like to work with. Is it a young boy from a rural area with average income or an adult woman from a city with a high income? Try to create profiles of these people in the smallest details. What do these people want, and what do they fear?
Look at this example:
The goal of targeting is to understand the people that you want to serve and to share your understanding with the team.
5. Content Management, SMM, and PR Strategy
Regardless of which channel you choose, social media, a website, or a blog, you have to communicate with your audience. You have to plan your content: what, when, where, and how often you are going to post? Which social media accounts you plan to develop and how? Which topics will you cover on your blog? Who is going to be responsible for all of these? Create a Google Sheets calendar, where you include the details of each post: topic, source, and people responsible. Set up a Trello board or a Planyway board to manage content management processes effectively.
Now, content management and social media management will help you communicate with people who are already familiar with your company. But how do you reach these people who have not heard about you yet? The answer is “through a PR strategy”.
Reach out to marketing platforms, such as Clutch and GoodFirms for software development companies. Launch an advertising campaign, for instance, with the help of Google Ads. Take steps to reach the widest possible audience.
The main idea of content management and SMM strategy is to make sure that your business communicates with clients effectively and regularly. The goal of the PR strategy is to attract a lot of eyes and ears to your business.
Disclaimer: You can omit this strategy phase if you develop an MVP for internal use project or for a certain corporate user with whom you will communicate directly.
6. Results Analysis
The most important part of any strategy is analysis. Did the strategy work? What insights did it bring? What should be improved?
Marketing is a continuous, gradual, and long-term process, and the efficiency of it should be tested continuously. A marketing strategy can and should be adjusted while on the go. If you feel like you focus on the wrong social media network — change it. If you do not feel that the user persona reflects your needs — adjust it. Formulate marketing KPIs and hold regular meetings for reporting and strategy review. Stick to the plan but do not be afraid to alter it.
The goal of results analysis is to make sure that your marketing strategy is relevant, up-to-date, and working.
When Should You Start Developing MVP?
MVP development and marketing strategy development can occur simultaneously. While you design Content Management and SMM strategy, the development team may be busy building the MVP software. However, MVP definitely has to wait until you have completed work on market analysis, competitor analysis, positioning, and targeting. These four marketing strategy phases may affect your vision of the software solution you plan to develop. If you do not want to change horses in midstream, you should wait until these four steps, namely, market analysis, competitor analysis, positioning, and targeting are completed. Then, you may adjust your minimum viable product development strategy accordingly and launch the work on it.
So, What Should You Do Next?
Of course, your next steps are totally up to you. Yet, we suggest that you start with thinking through the marketing strategy and looking for an MVP development company at the same time.
Design a marketing strategy
Together with the team of people who help you develop your business idea, start thinking about marketing strategy. Think about each of the six steps you will have to take, from market analysis to results analysis. Do you need anyone to help you with this task or you have enough professionals on your team to do so? If you have enough people — go for it and do not wait.
Hire an MVP development company
Regardless of how good your MVP business plan is, it will not work unless implemented properly. Entrust your idea to a company with some sound experience in MVP testing and development, with reviews from satisfied clients, and with a friendly and transparent approach to partners. Also, look for a company with relatively low rates since MVP development has to be resource-efficient. Do you think you could trust us with this important job?