Peter and Robot

Minimum viable product checklist

Do you love Mad Men’s Don Draper in scenes such as when he says “Happiness is the smell of a new car…” or “The most important idea in advertising is new…it creates an itch, you simply put your product in there as a sort of calamine lotion….A deeper bond with the product is nostalgia. It’s delicate, but potent. In Greek, nostalgia means literally the pain from an old wound…far more powerful than memory alone…” He spoke these words as he famously wound through projected images on the Kodak carousel, see here and he described it as ” ..a time-machine…the carousel…”. We don’t all have the best adman on the planet to promote our products. In the case of Kodak, they did have some pretty innovative ideas 50 years ago. Good business, great marketing starts with what the well-known term a “minimum viable product” or MVP. The message in the blog is look at your project, service, or product idea and test it is viable before doing any promotion. Here is a minimum viable product checklist. The best agency or Don Draper in the world cannot save a flawed idea. And we’ll give a simple MVP checklist.

1. Market size

Whether you are selling locally, regionally or globally, what is the opportunity? One way to assess this is using the Google Keyword Planner  to see how many people search for the product or words associated with it.

2. Competitors

1. A simple Google search
2. SpyFu looks at your competitor’s most profitable keywords here
Google Trends helps you assess what your competitors are up to here
Why not set up an alert on competitors? Do it on Google alerts here
3. Gartner competitive reports here
4. Social network, monitor them online
5. Ask customers – simple!
6. Attend conferences, exhibitions and trade shows
7. Phone them up!
8. Hire your competition
9. Watch who they are hiring
10. Conduct a survey

3. Market potential

What is the gowth rate for your market? You will probably know from trade bodies, governement statistics, and sources such as Google Trends The UK Office of National Statistics is excellent here. Whilst locally we have a fantastic resource in Dorset with Economic Development Officers such as in East Dorset and Christchurch here.

4. Product availability

Who else supplies the product or something similar? When we have a pitch event, this is a question investors always ask, so you need to be well prepared for this. Not just in terms of competition but in terms of understanding potential demand for your product. You may be swamped with demand and not able to cope! Or there could be seasonal challenges dependent upon whereas it is available from.

5.Targets and Personas

Who will buy the product or service? This is always one of the most critical questions which we write about on our Personas article here . Buyer Personas the vital first step for inbound marketing. Some people call these profiles, they are fictional, representations of your ideal customers.

6. Pricing

As Nick Hixson of Hixsons Business Enablers says, “Customers care about prices. But they are certainly not the only thing they care about – and your business and marketing strategy should mirror that fact.” See our Storify board on pricing, with video, Slideshare and guides here.
The main pricing strategies are:
Pricing at a Premium. With premium pricing, businesses set costs higher than their competitors. …
Pricing for Market Penetration. …
Economy Pricing. …
Price Skimming. …
Psychology Pricing. …
Bundle Pricing.

7. What problem are you solving?

Be clear about the problem your product is solving. The more you describe, see, hear and feel your customer’s pain (!) the better the cavalry solution you offer…

8. Regulation

Is there any regulation to stop you selling the product or indeed to help you keep out competitors once you are marketing?

9. SKUs

Stock Keeping Units when selling in volume, Colour, Size and other variation is a key consideration.

10.Product lifespan

Depending on the type of product, there will be a lifespan either because it will degrade or, go out of fashion, or become out of date due to market progression.

11.Seasonality

What are the fluctuations across the year?

And Finally…

Her is a great post, 15 ways to test your MVP here which shares very practical ideas to save you money and time. Think you might have forgotten something on your minimum viable product checklist? Well if you are the nervous type, or very thorough, here is a marvellous Chartered Institute of Management Checklist (CIMA) that covers MVP and in fact the whole business plan see here.

For more on problem solving using analytical and creative tools contact us:
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Posted in Blog.