Is your great product idea not being accepted by your target customers?

Some of the lean startups face this type of can of worms. It is a commonplace to get stuck between a minimum viable product (MVP) and minimum marketable product (MMP).

MVP (or Minimum Viable Product) is one of the most common reference point used by lean startups before they decide to launch their product. Broadly, it is meant to serve only one aim: to validate your product idea. You just need a list of question that helps us to test whether our idea is unique or not.

On the other hand, MMP (or Minimum Marketable Product) trace the product with the smallest possible feature. Check if it addresses the user needs. Create the desired user experience, market it, and then sell it successfully. Broadly, it entails the idea whether the market is ready to accept your product or not.

But, there are few entrepreneurs who get skinny with this concept and suffer loss. The journey from one (MVP) to the other (MMP) is not a cake walk.

The Build-Measure-Learn Cycle

Image: Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

Moving from MVP to MMP has already been stated in The Lean Startup. Although, not so exclusively, the blueprint comes from the build-measure-learn concept.

1. Learn

Learn is the early stage cycle of the MVP feedback loop. It starts by declaring the hypothesis about how to build a sustainable business around a product.

Explorative research and consumer contact are the important part in forming theses hypothesis, just with design thinking.

In MVP learn cycle, hypotheses are to be made about who the customers will be, what they will find valuable, and how they will define quality. This feedback loop cycle helps the startup to reduce the market fit by providing the maximum amount of valid learning about the product.

2. Build

This part focuses on releasing a prototype of product on the basis of the hypothesis which you set for the product. This reduces the development effort by eliminating the most evident market uncertainties at a particular time.

However releasing a product with least function and feature helps the start up to avoid the risk and helps them to build a product which is loved by all.

3. Measure

The hypothesis which you set for the product needs to testify by the empirical data collected from the real world customer.

Statistics and deep insight on the underlying reason give clear evidence what to do next.

The test should answer whether you are on right track or not.

Examples of MVPs:

  • A landing page
  • Wireframes and mockups
  • An explainer video
  • A single feature product
  • Running a Google Adwords campaign

The Minimum Viable Product (MVP)


People explain MVP in several ways. But our best-loved explicit definition of MVP comes from Eric Ries.

“A minimum viable product is the version of the new product which allows team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about the customer with the least effort.”

Based on this explicit definition, minimum viable product creates long-term success for your product. Instead of serving a large market, MVP focuses on providing enough value to a small group of customers.

Focus on early adopters

MVPs target early adopters who feel the need for product the most.

Remember the goal here is to solve a problem that no-one else seems to be solving for the early adopter. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for a major disappointment.

One way to communicate your MVP to early adopters is to have a landing page or some visualization that allows quick review and feedback.

How Buffer made it possible with MVP

Buffer is the awesome little app which allows you to schedule up your social media post and tweets.

But before going & building it, Buffer’s founder, Joel Gascoigne, wanted to see if anyone would even want to use it.

Joel Gascoigne created a simple landing page that describes what buffer was and how buffer would work. It encourages user to click the plans and pricing button if they are interested.

Once they click the button they are taken to a page said that “Hello! You caught us before we’re ready” leave your email address & we’ll let you know when we’re ready.


Joel did not stop here, he used the email addresses of the people who used the sign-up form and start a conversation to get valuable feedback and what they want in this product.

Then he moved to next step, to test the hypothesis whether people will pay for this product.

So, he updated his landing page (left) to add a Plans & Pricing page with 3 plans: Free, $5/mo, $20/mo.


The zero risk help MVP help buffer to identify those customers who will pay for this product and it also helps buffer to shape the feature of the product according to customer need.

Minimum Marketable Product (MMP)


“Develop the product for the few, not the many.”

– Steve Blank

A minimum marketable product is the product or services which addresses the needs of the customers and can be sold to them.

MMP comes into picture when you have tested your product. It’s time to roll out your product with minimum features. And put the product on the shelves.

It’s all about creating a right product with minimum amount of feature for minimum people. Because too much feature can clutter up your product and increase the cost of bread and butter. Making an MMP simply means focusing on the core problem you are trying to solve and delivering a clear, concise solution.

When building your MMP, it’s important to constantly ask yourself:

“What is the smallest or least complicated problem that the customer will pay us to solve?”

Factors influencing the shift from MVP to MMP

No matter if you are building an MVP or ready to release an MMP to your target market, the key to all of this is building a product that solves a problem.

If it doesn’t solve some type of problem, people or businesses won’t use it.

While there are several more things to consider before releasing your product to the entire market, but these three are the vital one.

1. Reliability

The MVP phase helps your beta tester to identify major bugs in product and helps you to release a product which is 100% free from any show stopping bugs.

When you release an MMP product to the world, people are going to rely on your product whether its business or pleasure.

So, don’t release a product which is going to frustrate user with reliability issues.

2. Scalability

Scalability is something which is needed to be worked out during the MVP. This is because most startups are overwhelmed with the new user acquisition when MMP product cycle is released.

And they get baffled with a flood of new user.

There is always a chance your product catches on quickly and the signups start rolling in. So, it’s important to keep in mind that whatever platform you have chosen to host your product is fully scalable for a flood of new users.

Make sure the traffic can be handled before releasing your MMP.

3. Performance

250 milliseconds is what takes a user to shift from your website to a competitor’s. If your product is web based, you naturally know what it means. And even if it’s something else, the rule is valid.

No one likes a slow product in 2016. No one will use it. And definitely won’t pay for it.

Delay in response, even of a few seconds, can lead to potential customer loss. Test the performance of your product every which way before releasing an MMP.


How Drop Box made it possible with MMP


Dropbox co-founder and CEO, Drew Houston, wanted to know whether the customer would want and pay for the file sync solution and to justify the investor.

Houston and his team made an explainer video and started sharing it with their network to see how people would react. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video demonstrating your products user experience is worth a million.

The 3-minute video demonstrated Dropbox’s intended functionality and resulted in signups increasing from 5,000 people to 75,000 overnight — all of this in absence of a real product.

This concierge MMP Dropbox explainer video help Houston to valid the market and it also prove that people will buy this product.

Bridging the GAP between MVP and MMP


Once you’re in MMP mode doesn’t mean that you can now ignore MVP part.

Both  MVP and MMP goes hand in hand. When you build MMP, you break the features of the product into different experience and build MVP to know how the customer react to each of the feature.

Think of this like following equation:

MVP1 + MVP2 + MVP3 +……. MVP n = MMP


The vantage of this equation is:

  • After each MVP we get to refine our approach.  As opposed to going directly to MMP without having had the opportunity for feedback and refinement
  • When MMP is reached the big announcement can still be made so no need to alter communication schedules
  • Each MVP is an opportunity to:
    •  get customer feedback along the way
    • engender a sense of ownership and participation from anyone asked to evaluate an MVP on the way to the MMP
    • each MVP is a potential reason to reach out to a client
    • helps with customer retention when users can see steady improvement in the products that they are already using

By blending MVP and MMP, we can get feedback sooner and plump for the investment by focusing on specific features and distribution channels.

How moving from MVP to MMP benefits you

Saves your time

MVP and MMP save your time by creating a minimum set of features product which solve the problem for your customer.

You can implement an idea, study its use by consumers, make additions or corrections, and repeat as necessary – all in a very fast fashion.

You don’t need to create the perfect product. You only want the basics and this is a lot easier to do quickly.

Helps you to test your key business Concept early on

It helps you to get a version of your product early to market and test your business concept.

BY offering a minimum set of a feature instead of full blown feature you can test your key business concept and gather relevant user information, get your product to market quickly, and keep costs down.


These concepts suggest creating prototype with least feature instead of building a full featured product and then testing because designing a product with extra functionality can cost more.

This saves your money in designing a product because you don’t need to develop extra functionality for your product.

Remember that this process may require that you continue to add functionality until you find that ideal solution for your customers.


This concept helps you to develop a product with least amount of feature with least amount of dollar which solves the problem of the consumer.

This generally means to discover those feature which fulfills the need of the consumer and helps you to develop product more effectively.

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