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  • Minimum Viable Marketing - A New Approach to Marketing
    Trends

    Doing business is undeniably becoming more challenging; markets are evolving at ever-greater speed, new products are launched all over the world and global competition is becoming ever fiercer. All parts of the business must adapt, improve and change for the organisation to thrive and marketing is no different. Gone are the days of large teams, unquestioned big budgets and agency away days. Like every other discipline marketing must deliver, at speed and generate the expected ROI. Welcome to Minimum Viable Marketing.

    Minimum Viable Marketing (MVM) builds on some of the business practices from Lean and Agile project management and applies these techniques to the marketing function. MVM moves away from the strictly linear approach to marketing planning with its cycle of define, design and develop a plan and marketing mix, budget and then finally execute and report. Instead it emphasises testing and learning through measuring iterative cycles of activity. The idea is to deliver the best marketing outcome through a plan based on optimised marketing communication and delivery. It is a common sense approach to marketing – based on testing a proposition, idea or campaign and then building on its successful elements.

    The MVM approach follows four key steps:

    . Validate - test and optimise your tactics and propositions

    . Measure - the emphasis here is on gathering and analysing data to evaluate the impact of your campaign

    . Learn - learn from your work to refine your approach

    . Improve – look at the areas that didn't work so well and improve them

    This is a change from a traditional waterfall approach where each stage is completed before the next one can begin, to a more agile philosophy where activities take place simultaneously and potential issues and problems are identified and resolved earlier in the project cycle.

    There is a huge amount of wastage in traditional marketing – with such investment in planning and preparation up front, marketers are often only just validating the proposition and messaging with their audience as part of a large campaign.

    Consider the following typical cycle of activity for a campaign:

    . The business develops a new proposition or idea. A market strategy and marketing campaign needs developing at speed

    . Campaign planning begins including defining a full marketing mix

    . Campaign elements are created including data building, writing content, designing collaterals all of which is time consuming and costly

    . Market launch – all elements brought to market within the defined timeline

    . Finally the campaign gets measured and results analysed

    So how could we improve this approach?

    The obvious weakness is that in all this rush to get our great new marketing approach out to the customer, we didn’t test or measure the effectiveness of our activity until the very end, when potentially large amounts of money and time have already been committed. How do we know what we are saying or offering is resonating with the target audience? Are we sure they are the right target audience in the first place?

    While marketing professionals have always sought to research, test and refine their thinking and the function has long emphasised the need for data and rigorous analysis, can this front loaded approach really allow for understanding how the campaign is being received with prospects?

    A typical MVM approach first validates the suggested approach with a small group; honing it, discarding poorly performing elements such as messages or calls to action that fail to resonate. Then more is added to the marketing mix, extending the audience etc. to expand the successful elements. It constantly measures results and evaluates against the business, marketing and campaign objectives. The result is a reduction in wastage, quicker results and lower costs among other benefits.

    Enabling innovation

    MVM is particularly useful for enabling innovation. It allows organisations to test a radical new approach without the costs of a traditional campaign or the risk of alienating key target segments.

    MVM can help by experimenting with new channels, audiences or tactics on a small scale to evaluate effectiveness. It can also help reinvigorate existing propositions or campaigns where marketing impact is in decline.

    Budget control

    MVM allows for greater budget control, as with continual measuring and learning, the return on investment becomes easier to foresee and quantify.

    Digital tools lend themselves particularly well to MVM such as paid search or online advertising strategies – where a small budget can be allocated to validate the approach before a more sustained investment is made when the tactic is proven.

    Core campaign components such as content can be expensive but by validating which elements of the messaging, topic or theme resonate most, any further investment is focused on additional content that will drive results.

    Speed

    Getting to market first can be a key advantage for firms in fast moving environments such as technology. MVM enables a rapid time to market by starting with a minimal marketing mix and building on it. This means you can start to grow market share and build your brand while investing in the marketing elements that work best.

    Focused on results

    As MVM focuses on exploiting the marketing elements that perform best, results are continually improved as the campaign progresses. By starting with a minimal level of activity which helps you go to market quickly, adjustments can be made later based on the elements that meet your business objectives.

    Rather than focusing on full definition and detailed planning of a marketing campaign at the outset, MVM takes a proposition out to a market with the minimum viable messaging and mix of activities, which can be tested and improved. The focus on measurability gives you tangible evidence for the ROI and the knowledge that your campaign is supporting the wider business goals.

    Source: digitalmarketingmagazine

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