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#65: Minimum Loveable Product

How to launch a product customers love and recommend

There’s one thing that can make or break your product launch: is your product loveable or is it just functional?

In my opinion, the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has gone too far.

I am a big fan of releasing value as early as possible, but there still needs to be an element of marketability — it can’t just be functional. And too many product teams stop there.

At Kajabi, we used the term Minimum Loveable Product (MLP) to determine whether something was ready for launch.

It’s like MVP, but supercharged.

In today’s edition we’ll explore the differences between an MVP and MLP and how to approach your launch strategy for each.

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Minimum Loveable Product

The MVP approach, first made popular by Eric Ries in The Lean Startup, focuses on creating a basic version of a product with just enough features to attract early adopters and gather feedback. The primary goal is to validate the product idea quickly and then iteratively improve.

On the other hand, the concept of a Minimum Loveable Product goes beyond viability. An MLP is an initial version of a product that not only meets the essential needs of users but is also delightful to use.

It doesn’t just have viability; it has marketability too.

The concept of MLP was first introduced by Brian de Haaff, the founder of software company Aha! in 2013. But, it wasn’t until I joined Kajabi in 2022 that I first encountered the term.

Why Lovability Matters

An MLP is designed to resonate with users on an emotional level. By incorporating thoughtful design, delightful user experiences, and addressing the most important pain points, your product becomes more than just a solution.

Here’s are few benefits of going beyond an MVP:

Increased Loyalty & Advocacy

The emotional connection with the product fosters loyalty, turning customers into long-term advocates who are more likely to recommend and continue using your product. A product that users love naturally leads to positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Reduced Churn

A loveable product is less likely to be abandoned. Users who connect with a product on an emotional level are more forgiving of minor flaws and more likely to stick around and provide feedback to help make it better.

Accelerated Iteration

There is a misconception that an MLP requires extensive development time. But, focusing on creating a loveable product can actually help to accelerate adoption. Users are more likely to engage, provide meaningful feedback, and be invested in the product's success. This engagement streamlines the iteration process, allowing your product team to implement improvements that truly matter.

Launch Approaches

It would be rare to jump from idea to MLP, and that’s not what I’m advocating for. But, I think many product teams stop at MVP, expect their PMM to prepare a large launch, and then move on to the next feature.

This is where PM and PMM can join together to push past viability to develop and properly launch a product that’s lovable and marketable, learning from the MVP along the way.

Here’s how an MVP launch may differ from an MLP launch:

MVP Launch

MLP Launch

Closed beta (invite only)

Open beta or general availability

1:1 communication between product team and beta users

1:many communication between product teams and customers

Customer-facing materials focus on functionality and FAQ

Customer-facing materials focus on value, benefits and features

Focus on gathering feedback

Focus on generating word of mouth

Limited marketing

Comprehensive marketing campaign

Gather testimonials and quotes

Showcase case studies and marketable metrics

This is a great example of how you can layer value over time as part of a rolling thunder launch (but that’s a post for another time).

For now, the takeaway is this: each time you’re starting to develop a launch plan, ask yourself “is this product lovable or just functional”?


📚 Reading List: The book Lovability, from the man who coined the term MLP, uncovers how to build a company and product that is, you guessed it, loved.

📚 Reading List: Marty Cagan’s OG product book Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love offers a a simple but effective framework to balance viability with marketability.

Until next week,

Tamara Grominsky

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