What is a Minimum Lovable Product? Your Guide to building an MLP!
With rapid technological advancement, the product game has been completely transformed over the past few years. Less than two decades back, technological products used to be a novelty. Phones had keypads and even owning one used to be considered a luxury. How the times have changed!
With the advancement of technology, the expectations of customers have also significantly increased. They’re a lot harder to please than they used to be. These days it’s not enough that your product can perform the function it claims to perform. It will also be judged on its color, design, shape, size, how better is it than competitors, and a lot more!
In this article, we’ll talk about how you can woo your customers with a product that’s not only ‘viable’ but also ‘lovable’. You’ll find out all you need to know about Minimum Lovable Product. You’ll also learn about the process you can follow to build your own minimum lovable product!
What is a Minimum Lovable Product?
Minimum Lovable Product or MLP tried to take a different approach than a Minimum Viable Product. Instead of focusing only on fixing customer’s problems, an MLP requires you to also delight the customers along the way.
So, a Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) is an initial offering that users love from the beginning. It stands for the minimum that’s required for customers to adore a product, instead of merely tolerating it.
A minimum viable product is a bare-bones product that meets your needs and provides a solution. Whereas, the minimum lovable product is the simplest solution that not only meets the needs of users but also delights them. You can think of an MLP as a positive step toward achieving your goals. In every aspect and every deliverable, it is fundamental to a project’s success.
But when you get into the nitty-gritty of it, you’ll realize that each component is not fundamental to the overall product’s success. You’ll find that an MLP is the sufficient amount of features your product needs to be satisfactory for launch. The goal behind an MLP is to deliver a functional product that excites you as well the users!
What’s the importance of MLP?
Today, there’s no shortage of options for customers to choose from. If their experience with your brand and its products leaves them feeling unsatisfied, they’ll easily switch to something better.
So, to attract more customers and increase loyalty, you must distinguish yourself. You have to delight your customers at every step of the buyer’s journey, from beginning to end. An MLP is a great way to differentiate your product in a marketplace full of other options.
Before building an MLP, deeply consider what your customers care about, their problems, and how to improve their lives. Look at your customer experience as a part of the entire customer journey. You must aim to delight at every stage without a miss!
Why do this? Your customers will not only purchase your product but they’ll also want to see your company thrive. If you begin with an MLP mindset, it also explains how you’ll continue to build upon your initial product offering.
An MLP can also inspire a change in your attitude. Your focus will shift from doing the bare minimum with an MVP to delighting your customers with an MLP.
Things to keep in mind while creating an MLP
1. ‘The Why’ is important!
Delighting your customer doesn’t mean that you forget ‘the why’ behind your product. It still has to solve the problem that it’s designed to solve. You need to be building something with a defined purpose to fulfill. Just delighting your customer is not enough, the point of an MLP is that users will fall in love with your product!
Make sure to take the user’s ‘why’ into consideration because that’ll provide an effective problem-solving statement for your team. Precisely understand why your users would want to use your product and then work to provide exactly that. And while you’re doing that, focus on delighting your users, making them fall in love with your product.
2. Align all your team goals
It’ll take the efforts of your entire development team to make your product lovable. Moreover, you need to integrate that love into every aspect of your product. You must align your teams to one common goal. All your teams, like tech, UX, sales, marketing, design, must be driven to make something that your users will love.
3. Always be flexible and agile
It’s great that you’ve decided to focus on delighting your customers. But, you must remember that you still need to be agile. Deliberate and choose the minimum set of features needed to solve your user’s problems. Once you’ve done that, focus on making them as delightful as possible.
Building something lovable does not mean giving users everything they could possibly want. That’s not viable for you to do every time and it’ll also waste your precious time.
You must find the right balance between underinvesting and over-investing in an MLP. If you invest too little, you risk losing out on potential customers or not standing out from the crowd. If you over-invest and include many features, the time and resources invested will be lost if you fail to delight your users.
4. Maintain a balance between Minimum and Lovable
You’ll find that the most difficult part of creating a minimum lovable product is in the name itself. You’re meant to create the most lovable and delightful product while making the least effort. That’s why you must know all there is to know about the product beforehand.
When you start building, along with the primary function, only include one or two special features or characteristics that differentiate it from the competition. This will make you MVP truly lovable while being minimum.
If you neglect minimum and over-engineer on lovable, you’ll lose more time and resources than you should have. The moment you try to solve every problem with your product, chances are that you’ll do it all poorly. We’re sure that you could do a million things to improve your product. But focus on what is most important to the user and what you can deliver on time.
If you can’t decide what to include, start with one feature that will make your product indispensable. Once you have that one feature, you can further build from there and you’ll be on your way to developing an MLP.
5. Thoroughly conduct research and collect data
Once your product is out, do your research and collect as much qualitative data as you can. As your early adopters as many questions as you can. Your aim should be to find out more than just how the product performed. Find out how the product made them feel, whether they liked the look of it, what would they change if they could, and other such answers. Prepare user surveys and include open-ended questions that allow users to express themselves. Avoid including questions with simple yes/no answers or tick boxes.
You should thoroughly consider who you’re testing. Ensure that your MLP reaches your target audience only. They won’t get sold over the same features or designs as the average consumer.
You must always observe closely how a user interacts with your product. There might be certain instances where a user behaves against your expectations. Take a closer look! Chances are, they’re leading you towards what they find most lovable and delightful.
So, your business wants to build products that users cherish and that stand out from the competition. If that’s the case, then it’s even more important for them to raise the bar from viable to lovable. You must start building an MVP by deeply understanding the user’s most frustrating problem. Begin with a feature or two that would best address the problem. Subsequently, work on striking a balance between the elements of familiarity and intrigue to create the most lovable experience with limited resources.
Your MLP is not even close to the final form of your product. Like an MVP, it is a valuable learning tool that’ll help you discover what your users really want. After gathering all the qualitative and quantitative feedback, it’ll be easier to start planning the next step for your product.
Got any questions? Let us know in the comments below or write to us and we’ll get back to you at the earliest!