Let’s take an example of a minimum viable market. I was talking with a startup, a European startup a couple of months back and their startup is called City Trip Planner and basically what they do is they allow you to go on a website and eventually a mobile app, so there’s a vision somewhere and the point was to allow you to create a personalized trip experience, right?
So you go on the website and you tell them okay, I want to go to Amsterdam and they’ll set up an itinerary for going to Amsterdam. It will tell you, “Okay, you’re going to go day 1 from 10AM to 12PM you’re going to do this, then from 12 to 1 you’re going to go lunch, etc., etc. So using your own preferences, it would set up an itinerary for you. So this is a pretty cool technology, right? But how do you go about actually focusing what this company does then have a company be aware of where it should be spending its energy most and obviously, crafting a message that speaks to the right audience early on so that those people can go out and be the early adapters and the people that will help us spread the word?
So the main problem with City Trip Planner was that their value proposition was very confused. Was it a website that allowed you to setup itineraries, was it about city trip planners as in just having a map on your mobile, was it about charging users to create itineraries? There’s a bunch of different ways that they could go about this and obviously a bunch of different ways they could go about explaining what they would be doing but their value proposition was unfocused and they couldn’t figure it out.
So their minimum viable segment really where we go back about that core either functionality or that core audience or that core mission that they’re talking about that eventually spills out over the years into a vision that they’ve been able succeed and deliver, City Trip Planner was eventually focused on the idea that they were trying to solve cultural tours and problems, right?
Identifying your minimum viable segment, that’s the first audience that you should focus on because it’s really important because first of all, we can’t do everything, right? So the reason that they decided to go for cultural tourists instead of all tourists was because if they decided to do all tourists, they would be doing everything and at that point, they’re not actually focused on doing anything which makes it really difficult to leverage and to figure out what they should be doing, right?
So we need to start somewhere and do one thing really simply, really consistently and then get known for that. Well, if we don’t identify that segment, potential users who have divergent needs compared to that segment that we want to start with would be pulling our early product or our minimum viable product if you will in many different directions because of customer feedbacks. So if I’m not focused on one thing and we decided that one thing was cultural tourism for different reasons, right? They had done their research and figured out that there was an opportunity there but have they not specify that they were after cultural tourists and instead decided that they were going for mobile tourists, people who are tourists and have mobile phones, that is such a huge and vague audience that it makes it very difficult to actually fine-tuned your product to speak properly to cultural tourists, right? Because then you would have feedback coming in from different kinds of people and they will tell you different kinds of things and how your product should be doing different kinds of features and if you end up listening to them as you should because they are your customers and you should be listening to them, you would find that your product has become, you know, you stressed it thin in terms of what it actually proposes and the problem that it actually fixes.
So focusing the purpose of this company, of City Trip Planner actually helped in telling, in aiding them to figure out what to do next. So in addition, since securing strong reference customers is critical in the early days of our go to market activities, we want them to reference each other and they can’t do that if they don’t have similar needs. So if I’m going and I’m trying to create a viral product but I’m talking to different kinds of people and all of those people have different needs, they won’t be talking to each other, right? I want to go for people who are all similar and then offer them a solution to a problem that they all have and then allow them to speak to each other about this problem that they all share and then talk about how my product is fixing this problem in such a great way.
Now if you think about this and we really drill down to this minimum viable segment, I guess set of well defined needs for a City Trip Planner where City Trip Planner solves cultural tourism problems by enabling travel brands to perform lead generation by creating personalized trip experiences for cultural tourists in the traveling economy.
So all of these segments play in each other and you could say that cultural tourism is a segment that travel brands want to get into and lead generation is something that travel brands want to get into and you can do lead generation through technology such as personalized trip experiences which is what they do through their website, right? It’s just a matter of reframing it and they’re targeting cultural tourists with personalized trip experiences.
So here, they’ve suddenly have a value proposition that fixes problem, a problem for two parties, the business which are travel brands who want to access cultural tourists and cultural tourists who want to have access to personalized trip experiences so that they can go out and experience cultural tourism in a more efficient or a cheaper or faster way.