Minimum Loveable Products Trump Minimum Viable Products for Customer Affections
How happy should we expect end-users to be to settle for an insurance product that’s just viable? Instead aim for a Minimum Loveable Product!
By Adam Hargreaves : 13th of April 2023
For insurers who want to introduce product ideas early in the product development cycle, traditionally the fast way to do so is by releasing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). MVPs are essentially early-version products equipped with just enough functionality and features for the early-adopter market.
But the name has a somewhat defeatist ring to it. How happy should we expect end-users to be to settle for an insurance product that’s just viable? Especially with so many great existing products on the market.
That’s why I prefer the guiding principles inherent in the term Minimum Loveable Product (MLP).
MLP is less well-known than MVP in insurance product development but I think it matters more. By opting for an MLP at early release, you can also look at introducing products that meet standards of reliability, useability, and design.
Launching your product with more than minimum viability
There’s merit to considering more than the minimum functionality to launch the initial version of your product. Consider this: Previous research shows that up to 95% of products launched fail.
In my view, it’s always a good idea to think beyond the IT requirements and intended business benefits of your insurance product. Specifically, it’s important to articulate what the customers in your target market would be trying to accomplish with a product like yours.
Often, products fail to succeed because assumptions are made about the end users. In the ideal scenario, companies can eliminate assumptions by generating relevant customer insights in a timely manner.
How to uncover what customers will value
You can find a great deal of valuable information regarding what your customers think of your insurance products on social media and through Google Reviews, to begin with.
If your business has the resources, it’s always a good idea to gather information by directly asking customers what their problems are. Clarify what they want insurance technology to do to solve those problems. Enlisting a market research agency is one avenue, and today’s companies can also gather plenty of information internally through online customer polls.
It’s interesting to note that insurance companies will often discover that their customers’ views on a product aren’t always what was expected.
Maybe you believe that customers place a priority on having their policy issued quickly. However, perhaps they attribute a higher value to the user experience they have on your website or app. The best way to know the strengths and weaknesses of your product is to gather the information you need to understand the values of your customer. In doing this, you’re better informed to develop your MLP.
Use your customer’s pain points to help inform product development
When we partner with insurers, we want to know all the problems their technology is designed to solve. We want to know what their audience’s needs are. We also want to know what they like and don’t like about the existing solutions available in the market.
Although developing MLPs sets a higher bar than MVPs, it’s not the time to over-invest or over-commit to perfecting every detail. It’s the time to showcase your product’s core features so you can learn whether its strong points are adequate to win over your increasingly choice-spoiled early-adopters.
What’s the aim of your MLP?
To successfully develop an MLP, it’s beneficial to have a product team that’s united by the same aim. There are a range of factors that underpin the success of product teams. The best ones have executive support, strong product team alignment with strategy, and core product team members who are enlisted to contribute the skills the team needs.
One study found that product teams who perform well in all the areas common to high-performing product teams are 67% likely to perform at a high-level. Those who aren’t, are just 2% likely.
To succeed with your MLP, remember you need your customers and your internal team to share feedback, ideas, and concerns regularly. It can be challenging to create a well-oiled feedback mechanism. The best product teams do so by cultivating an environment where suggestions are welcome.
It doesn’t mean you need to change direction at every sniff of a new idea, but it does mean that the insurance technology you develop incorporates the feedback of a wider set of experts. This is key to staying on course.
I also want to remind you that your MLP needn’t be all things to all people. If you shoot for too much functionality at the outset, there’s a real chance you’ll slow down your output to a virtual halt. The priority should be to make certain your team stays united in its vision of your MLP. That way it can effectively collaborate on expediting the launch of the best MLP to solve your audience’s problems.
In the longer term, you can introduce the iterations and innovations necessary to ensure your product thrives in its maturity.