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Product ManagementProduct MarketingRiviRoadmapsStrategy

The Cost of A ‘Good Enough’ Product

By Rivi Aspler

good enough road sign

Every company (hopefully) has a clear strategy which is reflected in its market positioning.

Whether it’s your technological IP, your industry expertise, or simply a cost-effective solution, a prospect will close a deal with you because you have succeeded in proving that you are doing something better than your competitors.

So far, the theory is as simple as it can get. Practically, this is where things get interesting.

Assuming that your company’s resources are limited and you are neither Apple nor Google (brand wise), can you rely on a product strategy that offers just ‘good enough’ products and leverages other key differentiators such as better professional services or a more cost-effective solution?

Since you are probably not a monopoly, the answer to this question relies on your competitors product investments.  Are your competitors investing lots of resources in building strong products (IP-based features, Mobile First, Fully SaaS, Socially enabled, with Embedded Analytics etc.)? If the answer is YES, be careful as your ‘just good enough’ product will become the weakest product in the market.

Maybe it’s a cliché, but that’s very much like trying to sell a horse when all the others are already offering cars. Can you say “Blackberry”?

There are many examples of products that became obsolete.  It’s exciting as well as disturbing to see how fast products can change. Do you remember the last time that you took film based pictures, rented a movie at a video store, found your way around using a printed map, or used a pay-phone?

Cutting a long story short, next time that you are about to settle for just the critical features while neglecting your long-term roadmap, at least bring to the discussions-table the product status of your competitors.

At best, it will give you more ‘development-days’ budget. At worst, it will at least remind you that the gap between you and your competitors is increasing.

 

Rivi

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0 comments
  1. Eugene

    I think MVP has a viable place as a launch strategy depending on where you are in an industry landscape. There are plenty of examples where products were introduced as MVP intentionally to differentiate and simplify (e.g. 37 Signals Basecamp, Google Search, etc). Minimally viable is not necessarily non-differentiated. It could just mean identifying a minimal set of features and excelling at those for a core audience where competitors may have bloated.

    1. raspler

      Assuming that (1) you have a strong-enough brand name (2) you are introducing a MVP but not relying on MVP as a continuous!! product strategy, I’m in full agreement with you.

      1. Eugene

        I agree on #2. You should not rely on MVP for continuous develop. It’s a launch strategy and then a way to quickly release and validate market need for features. The point is that you need to do continuous MVP – keep releasing what people are interested in and don’t waste time on feature bloat. I’d recommend a book called 4 Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank (or any customer development methodology books)
        Regarding strong brand, I respectfully disagree. 37 signals, Square (the payment process) were no-names until they released an MVP. PayPal and Intuit quickly scrambled after Square to get to mobile swiping device that was quickly adopted by small business. I’d guess that Square still leads PayPal and Intuit in terms use of the mobile card reader and they’re on track to disrupt the incumbent, all with a MVP.

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