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Minimum viable product (MVP) is a marketing strategy that is sometimes used to determine the minimum amount of features that a product must possess in order to begin offering that good or service to consumers. The idea behind identifying these essential features is to get the product in front of the public and build a reputation along with a client base, allowing the product to begin generating revenue sooner rather than later. As the market for the product grows, the opportunity to enhance the good or service so that it gradually increases in value to consumers is present, based on feedback received from those early consumers.
There are a number of benefits associated with the concept of launching a minimum viable product. One has to do with saving time and money on the development of the product itself. By focusing on the essential features necessary to capture the attention of consumers, the developer avoids the inclusion of other features that may or may not add value to the product in the minds of consumers, and focuses attention on those core benefits. In the long run, this approach means less money is spent in development, and the need to remove something from the product is minimized. At the same time, the minimum viable product provides a solid foundation for making enhancements later, based on the product’s reception by consumers and the comments and suggestions received from those customers.
Identifying the characteristics that a minimum viable product must have in order to compete in the marketplace will often involve conducting research on the wants and needs of a niche group of consumers. The research may be managed using a variety of methods, such as inviting selected consumers to participate in panels or surveys, conducting mass mailing campaigns, or using online surveys to get some idea of what consumers want in a given type of product. Once the data is collected and organized, the development team can use this information to identify a core group of features anticipated to appeal to a market of consumers who are capable of sustaining the product and allowing it to generate a reasonable amount of profit.
When successful, a minimum viable product generates sales and also elicits comments from consumers that can then be used to refine the product. This approach can work for everything from dishwashing detergent to the design of an online store. By providing enough value to attract customers without a lot of extra bells and whistles, a company can build a client base, establish a presence in the market, and gradually enhance the product so that the appeal continues to broaden while still retaining a majority of that core consumer group.