What is ‘The Minimum Marketable Product’?

The minimum viable product (MVP) is a powerful concept that allows you to test your ideas. It is not to be confused with the minimal marketable product (MMP), the product with the smallest feature set that still addresses the user needs and creates the right user experience. The MVP helps you acquire the relevant knowledge and address key risks; the MMP reduces time-to-market and enables you to launch your product faster. This post discusses both concepts, and it shows how you can use the minimum viable product to create a minimal marketable one. 

You have heard of the minimum viable product(MVP) no doubt, well product managers have what is called the minimum marketable product (MMP). MMP is a product or service that meets the selected customer’s needs.

The minimum viable product (MVP) is a powerful concept that allows you to test your ideas. It is not to be confused with the minimal marketable product (MMP), the product with the smallest feature set that still addresses the user needs and creates the right user experience. The MVP helps you acquire the relevant knowledge and address key risks; the MMP reduces time-to-market and enables you to launch your product faster. This post discusses both concepts, and it shows how you can use the minimum viable product to create a minimal marketable one. (Source: Roman Pitchler)

Take the Apple Watch for example, it’s marketable customer needs are indeed narrow, and rather than being a device for the masses, it satisfies a particular niche market. As opposed to regular watches, Apple’s smart watch provides the ability to receive notifications from your iPhone, an extension that notifies the user through a vibration, when a text message, or phone call is coming in, or an in-app push notification is happening.

Whilst limited, the users can also use their smart-watch to send pre-baked text messages back, as well, and whilst it has an app ecosystem, the apps are meant to be a mere extension rather than replacement to one’s phone.

The obvious benefits of an MPP is that it speeds up development-time-to-market, with lower development effort and larger return on investment. An even greater benefit, is the quick time-to-market means product owners can listen to their users quickly. Even if in the case of Apple they are mostly early-adopters, that vital early and rapid feedback especially in a new category of products means the company is able to respond, adjust and pivot more rapidly.

The least rigid the future roadmap of the product, the better it is, because your roadmap should pivot and adjust dynamically, based on user feedback and reactions, and a minimal product as far as functionality means precise and targeted feedback is more readily available, more focused with the allowance for each individual features and components to be individually validated.

MMP is more focused on less is more, smallest feature-set. That addresses the users needs, with the right level of simplistic UI t hat can be sold and marketed successfully.

The key to creating a successful MMP is to “develop the product for the few, not the many,” as Steve Blank puts it, and to focus on those features that make a real difference to the users. To discover the right features, the MVP is a fantastic tool. (Cited in Roman Pitchler)

Increase User Acquisition Prospects with Buy-In

It seems like an obvious notion, right? Like in life, your relationships with businesses or friends revoles around reciprocity, the equality-framework of giving and taking. User Acquisition follows the same principles, you need to demonstrate app value to the customer, in order to receive ‘buy-in’ from them.

The term Reprocity Principle is one of the basic laws of psychology, whereby one would pay back what she or he receives, or another way of putting it, returning the favor for doing something for someone.

Users are most usually hesitant when it comes to providing a lot of detailed personal information, whether it be a registration information, email address, phone numbers, or even keeping the app, upfront, if they don’t recognize a perceived imminent and obvious value in the app, to them. In fact, when apps ask users for system-permissions to access user locations, to receive push notifiations or access your address book, is a barrier if the user doesn’t trust the app.

This is where the concept of app-rewarding comes in, whereby in order to solicitate buy-in from potential users, and we have some ideas on how you can generate the so-called buy-in.

Defer User Registration & Credit Card Information to increase Buy-In

Open up your app to users without requiring them to register. If you are a navigation app maker, allow the users to use basic navigation features, rewarding them with the ability to use the app from the get-go. If you need users to buy-something, such as to book a parking spot from your app, defer credit card information requests until they are about to make the booking.

Once the users see the value of the app, they will feel more comfortable, in which case after they have achieved their first purchase, you can ask them for their registration information. Of course, if you are a social media app, you probably would need to identify your users immediately, but either way, if you do need their registration information up-front, or you are going to defer asking them, you will need to on-board them into it.

On-board Users to increase Buy-in

Never underestimate the power of onboarding, and the influence it has in acquiring and retaining users. You need to design onboarding processes that are contextually sensitive, and onboard the users with the right information for them. If it’s at the start of the app, you onboard what the app does, clearly and succinctly, and if you need their registration information, explain why you need it at that very moment.


A highly interactive onboarding process, with animation (source: Helpshift)

If you need credit card information from your users, at a specific time later on, on-board them to explain why you need it. Your onboarding process should not just target your new users but your regulars as well, as you should provide constant engagement, and re-engagement to maintain your relationship with your users. Speaking of engagement, push notifications is another important process that needs carefuly management.

Send Engaging and Timely Push Notifications to increase Buy-in

No user wants to receive dozens of unsolicitated push notifications, because they are just as annoying (in fact more annoying) as receiving unsolicitated emails. Push notifications work in conjunction with onboarding, to provide an immediate signal to users, as well as an action for users to react to the notification.

For instance, you can send a push notification with a call-to-action to onboard a user to change a setting in your app, to register their phone number for added protection, and engaging the push notification will result in the onboarding sequence that will provide further information to the user, before she or he decides one way or another.

The more you learn about your users, the more contextual the push notifications can be. If you know your users read a certain category of articles, you can start to push more curated push notifications. If a user has been absent for two weeks, you can send a push notification query to the user to remind them (reward them) for coming back, perhaps with a voucher or coupon.

Defer Asking for Permissions Upfront to increase Buy-in

Finally, don’t ask for user permissions, whether it be for addressbook contact access, push notification permission, location access, health information access, upfront. Once again, if you do need a permission up-front, you on-board users, and explain first-up why you need permission x, and if the user says no, you should still let the user use the app.

For example, if the user doesn’t accept location permission, provide less accurate geo-related information and then prompt the user later on, with reasons why it would benefit them. If you don’t need any of the permissions at the start, defer asking until you need it. Say, you need to access the user’s camera, you ask for camera permissions right when the user presses the camera button for the first-time, so the user knows she or he initiated a process that directly led to a permission request, and is not out of the blue.

In Summary

So, to increase user acquisition and buy-in, there are certain steps app developers need to take, in order to provide a more solicitated environment. You reward users, or give in order to take, thus enabling buy-in, and in this article I mentioned a few ways in which you can do that.

Privacy reserves a huge real-estate in savvy mobile users’ minds, and thus ensuring you maintain user trust, especially early on in the user-engagement cycle is pivotal. Therefore, taking the right steps will lead to a greater level of expectation between you and your users.

Understanding Lifetime Customer Value (or LTV)

Lifetime Customer Value or LTV is a crucial concept in analytics, a metric that simply express what the customer is worth (value), from the time she signs up, throughout her lifetime of interactions with your app, in the future. Through a general formula of value of same x number of repeated transactions x projected length of customer retention, you are able to reconcile how much money you spend on each user, the acquisition and retention costs, versus how much value the customer brings back over a period of time.

LTV also goes by the names of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) or Lifetime Customer Value (LCV).

Let’s say you spend $8 procuring a customer, based on marketing and other efforts, once at the start, you ideally need to get something back in return, in a sustainable model. In return, your user subscribes to your service for $9.99 a month, for 8 months, the total LTV of $79.92.

Bare in mind that there are variables in here, which makes this an estimate rather than anything more concrete. The projected length of a customer retention is an estimate, as is number of repeated transactions, as past history isn’t always an accurate indicator of future behavior, and if any of the variables are way off the mark, LTV becomes useless. Therefore, use this tool diligently and in conjunction with other metrics, rather than as a sole metric.

LTV is also a long-term game, not a short one, and even if the cost of acquiring a user (Customer Acquisition Cost or CAC) is higher than the initial value, you should aim to have a longer projected length of customer retention, as value increases intangibly for your users, so longevity is key here. Often times, a happy customer over a longer retentative period means their value can increase through upgrades and other cross-selling measures.

Speaking of intangibles, last but not least, you cannot measure the viral value of customers as easily. Word of mouth, social media spreading and customer advocacy of your product through being a satisfied customer yields increase brand awareness and more users, thereby reducing customer acquisition costs for other customers. So, in conclusion, LTV is a strong tool, great in venture pitches, and works better with other metrics, for correlative purposes, rather than alone.

3 Trends Marketers Need to Know About Location-based Advertising |

An excellent article by Steven Jacobs of StreetFight on the 3 Trends Marketers Need to Know About Location-based Advertising.

Location-based advertising has exploded in recent years as brick-and-mortar brands shift digital and traditional budgets to mobile.  The result has fueled the growth of one of the quickest moving sectors in an already chaotic ad tech industry where tactics, strategies and capabilities are changing as fast as the companies offering them.

These changes have implications for a host of stakeholders in the local marketing industry. Tectonic shifts in the way the advertising industry operates — namely, the growth of programmatic advertising — will alter the way advertising spending flows. Meanwhile, the development of more refined technology will alter the tactics used by companies to across the industry run campaigns.

At the Local Search Association’s Conference in Los Angeles Wednesday, executives from a handful of mobile marketing firms discussed some of the key shifts in location-based advertising and outlined the implications for publishers, brand marketers and small businesses.

The machines are taking over the advertising industry. Within a few years, a majority of desktop inventory will be bought through software, according to eMarketer, and programmatic already dominates mobile — the fastest growing category of the ad industry.

But the shift to programmatic isn’t just about creating efficiencies for large brands — it could materially change the way small businesses buy media, says Victor Wong, chief executive at PaperG, which sells dynamic creative software. Wong says that the ability to buy inventory through software effectively reduces the cost floors typically required by premium publishers, allowing a small business to potentially advertise on ESPN.

“The fact that transaction costs are so much lower, [the advertiser] can get just what he or she wants instead of buying wholesale,” said Wong during a panel Wednesday. “It has allowed small businesses to have the same technology as the big guys, but to pay only what they can afford.”

That shift — the ability to buy an ad without a formal relationship between advertiser and publisher — is starting to “democratize” the media business, says Wong.

Points to polygons
There’s an often-overlooked difference between location and place. A location is a point on a map — a latitude-and-longitude that often comes down to a nine digit number. But to understand what is at that location — say a mall or stadium — technology companies need to understand where one place ends and another begins. That’s a much more difficult, and time-consuming process.

Over the past few years, location technology companies have identified millions of places, creating zillions of polygons that represent everything from Best Buys to book stores. The ability to attribute a person to a place — not just location — has opened doors for technology companies to begin to flesh out a clear picture of the people behind the data.

“You create a gradual image of broad behaviors rather than making a massive assumption from a single data point,” said Tyler Bell, director of product at Factual, one of the largest location data startups. “All of these observed activities, where people are moving from one point to polygon, give you a holistic broad-based view of the user.”

Better creative
“When you can blur that line when consumers no longer realize that they are seeing a templated ad — that’s when things start to take off,” said Greg Crockart, CEO of North America at WPP-owned creative agency Candyspace. He was talking about the need for marketers to continue to push the creative used by firms on mobile.

Crockart says his agency has started to invest increasingly in mobile campaigns that tie into other forms of media as a way to buttress both experiences. For instance, the company ran a campaign for the the film Hot Tub Time Machine last year where it allowed users to digitally throw a beach ball from a mobile phone to a digital-out-of-home ad placed in Times Square.

We’re getting that double impact of hitting on both screens,” said Crockart. That’s another form of retargeting for us, and the data proves that if you hit people across multiple screens you will increase engagement.”

Be sure to subscript to StreetFight, to get your fix (pun intended) of location-based marketing journals. 

The Right Way to Ask Users for iOS Permissions | Medium

There is always a right way and a wrong way to ask someone for something, and as a kid you probably learned that if you ask your parents nicely you have a better chance of getting something than when you are more abrupt. The same goes for iOS Permissions and asking users for permissions, whether it is to use their location, address book, photos and so forth. 

I came across a great article by Medium on The Right Way to Ask Users for iOS Permissions,  which I think is an aspect of apps that are a lot of the times overlooked, but are imperative for good app UX. In the article, Brendan Mulligan begins his case by discussing the importance of getting permission-asking right first time.

Getting it Right First Time

If you have a chat app and you ask users for permission to use your contacts and they say NO, or if you have a navigational-app and ask a user for location permission and they say NO, you have pretty much rendered the core functionality of your app useless. Sure, you can then prompt the user to re-grant access to get the app working, by that would then involve going through 5 steps to grant access at a later stage. That involves getting out of the app, going to Settings, Privacy and so on. That’s not a great UX. 

Turning permissions back on (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)Turning permissions back on (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

Turning permissions back on (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

The key is to then prevent the user from saying NO and then trying to work out how to change his or her mind. The article proposes three approaches to address this. 

Blitzkrieg approach

This approach involves prompting the user the first time the app is launched for all the permissions needed, one by one, inundating the user, and as the article says, it’s like asking someone off the street for a date without even introducing yourself

Benefit Explanation

The second approach was to explain the benefit through a walkthrough, before asking the user for permission. 

Providing benefits before asking (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)Providing benefits before asking (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

Providing benefits before asking (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

This is a better approach and according to the author, the acceptance rate increased from under 40% to 66%, but still not within the acceptable range if you want your app to be functional to all. 

Pre-permission Dialogs

The final approach is the preferred approach, by the author and myself. The premise of it is to only ask the user when needed, at which point the user would probably gain some familiarity with your app, and then when a particular requirement to access part of your device (location, contacts) is needed, you would get prompted.

But before you even get the Permissions prompt, ou would get a pre-permission dialog explaining why we need permission. If the user says NO, we don’t provide the actual permission dialog but ask at a later stage.  

You only get one chance for the user to deny granting permission, before the user has to get out of the app and find your app within Settings. It’s better to pre-ask them and defer that dialog until they are ready. 

For photos alone, 46% of people who denied access in a pre-permissions dialog ended up granting access when asked at a better time later.

— Medium

Within this approach, Cluster tried two sub-approaches, the Double System-Style Dialog approach and the Education Overlays

iOS Dialog used for permissions (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)iOS Dialog used for permissions (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

iOS Dialog used for permissions (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

The first approach was to utilize the iOS system dialogs and ask twice, and their findings showed that only 3% of users who clicked Give Access, went on to deny (Don’t Allow) permission, which is a great success rate. The second approach is Educational Pre-permission overlays, which I will explain.

Educational pre-overlay (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)Educational pre-overlay (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

Educational pre-overlay (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

This approach provides a more custom UI, with an explanation of what is needed, and what the subsequent popup will ask for. It also interestingly enough provided an alternative method if the user did not want to take that approach (which is important, you shouldn’t force users to give up some of their privacy if there is another way). This dialog can of course be asked at a later stage, which is also great.

Triggered Dialogs

So, there’s another third sub-approach, which I will discuss. The authors of the article discovered that users didn’t make it to the final permissions dialog because they didn’t want to provide access at all to the app.

What the pre-permission dialogs had done was mitigate the times where the user wasn’t expecting it, not necessarily making more users accept it. We knew we could do better.

— Medium

Intentionally triggering the prompts was the way they discovered got permission allowance close to 100%. With contacts, Cluster discovered through analyzing the biggest benefits of granting contact access was by letting them see why it would be more beneficial to allow access. 

Asking for permissions after realizing how empty the results are without (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)Asking for permissions after realizing how empty the results are without (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

Asking for permissions after realizing how empty the results are without (source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

Seeing how empty their results are (carrot and stick approach) they would eventually be prompted to grant permissions. This is a bit more cheeky in my opinion, but Cluster found that they got 100% acceptance rate as a result. The same applies to push notifications, letting them know the benefits of allowing push notifications.

(source: Cluster as cited in Medium)(source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

(source: Cluster as cited in Medium)

The bottom line in the article, context is criticalwhen it comes to permission granting, just like life. When asking for something, the context and time is key to getting the results you want. A really compelling article, and I urge you to read the original article, published at: https://medium.com/launch-kit/the-right-way-to-ask-users-for-ios-permissions-96fa4eb54f2c


The author of the article at medium have open-sourced the code, which you can get to by clicking here.