The minimum viable audience (MVA) represents the smallest possible audience that can sustain your business as you get it started from a microniche (the smallest subset of a market). The main aspect of the MVA is to zoom into existing markets to find those people which needs are unmet by existing players.
|Concept Overview||The concept of Minimum Viable Audience (MVA) is a strategic approach in marketing and business that focuses on identifying and targeting the smallest, most specific audience that can sustain a product or business. Inspired by the “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) concept in product development, MVA recognizes that not all customers are equal and that it’s often more effective and efficient to serve a niche audience exceptionally well rather than trying to appeal to a broad and diverse market. By concentrating efforts on a specific, passionate group of customers, businesses can achieve greater engagement, loyalty, and growth.|
|Identification|| Identifying the MVA involves researching and understanding customer segments deeply. Key considerations include: |
1. Demographics: Defining the specific characteristics of the target audience, such as age, gender, location, and income.
2. Psychographics: Understanding their interests, values, attitudes, and behaviors.
3. Pain Points: Identifying the specific problems or needs that the MVA faces.
4. Passion and Enthusiasm: Assessing the level of passion and enthusiasm the audience has for a particular niche or topic.
5. Size: Evaluating whether the audience is large enough to sustain the business.
|Benefits and Impact||Embracing the concept of Minimum Viable Audience offers several benefits and impacts: |
1. Focused Marketing: Allows businesses to create highly targeted marketing campaigns that resonate deeply with the audience.
2. Engagement: Results in higher levels of engagement, as the audience feels a strong connection to the brand or product.
3. Loyalty: Nurtures brand loyalty, as the MVA perceives the business as a solution tailored specifically to their needs.
4. Reduced Competition: Reduces competition by targeting a unique niche that may be less crowded.
5. Efficient Resource Allocation: Optimizes resource allocation by directing marketing, product development, and customer service efforts where they matter most.
6. Scalability: Provides a foundation for scaling up the business once the MVA is well-served.
|Applications||MVA has applications in various industries and business models: |
1. Content Creators: Bloggers, YouTubers, and podcasters often identify an MVA within a niche topic or interest.
2. E-commerce: Online stores focus on specific product categories or customer personas.
3. Software Development: Software companies may target a specific industry or use case with their products.
4. Service Providers: Service-based businesses may specialize in serving a particular client type or industry.
5. Startups: Many startups adopt MVA strategies to gain a foothold before expanding.
|Challenges||While MVA offers benefits, it comes with challenges: |
1. Market Size: Ensuring the MVA is large enough to support the business is a critical consideration.
2. Adaptability: The chosen audience’s needs and preferences may evolve, requiring the business to adapt.
3. Risk: Focusing solely on the MVA may involve risk if the niche market faces economic or other challenges.
4. Expansion: Deciding when and how to expand beyond the MVA can be complex.
5. Competitive Pressure: As the MVA strategy gains traction, competitors may attempt to enter the same niche.
Inside the Minimum Viable Audience
The entrepreneur looking into the concept of Minimum Viable Audience, will be more like an artist. As Seth Godin defined it:
The smallest group that could possibly sustain you in your work…
Seth Godin also further explains:
If you could pick them and needed to delight them because you had no one else available, would your product or service improve? If you had no choice but to ignore the naysayers (they’re not in the group) or the people who don’t think they need you or your work, would that force you to stop compromising and start excelling?
A simple case study to find your Minimum Viable Audience
Let’s apply this concept back to the entrepreneurial world, and let’s search for our MVA.
As a simple example, imagine the case you’re staring a bookstore online. None would find that interesting. At least not today. This idea was already proved commercially viable by Amazon, at the and of the 1990s.
Therefore, you will need to zoom into the publishing industry and curve out your own niche first.
For that, the major gatekeeper in the publishing industry can help you out. You can use Amazon search engine to identify your own category. This is only the first step.
To make the exercise of finding your micro-category viable you need to drill down at least three times to what you might think is a viable audience.
Drilling down at least three times
Thus, if you start from fiction, this is the process:
- Within the several possible categories, pick yours. What about starting from fiction?
- Within fiction you will look for a specific sub-category, perhaps historic fiction.
- Within historic fiction, you will look for another specific sub-category, what about historic fiction, focused on Renaissance?
Now you found your microniche. What about building up the best website/blog about Renaissance Historic Fiction?
How do you know there is a viable audience for that?
One simple way, perhaps, is to look at the volume of search in that category, especially for the most known authors (you might be surprised to find out there are micro-stars also within that microniche).
For instance, Johanna Lindsey is a great example of an author that has an incredible engaged following in a microniche. This is an example of how you kick things off and find your Minimum Viable Audience.
|Company||Application of Minimum Viable Audience (MVA)||Case Study||Analysis|
|Airbnb||Targeting specific traveler segments||Airbnb’s “Business Travel Ready” listings||Airbnb identified business travelers as a Minimum Viable Audience (MVA) and tailored listings to their needs. Focusing on MVAs helps improve customer experience and drive revenue.|
|Spotify||Personalized music recommendations||Spotify’s algorithm-driven playlists||Spotify uses MVA by understanding individual user preferences to curate playlists, enhancing user engagement and retention.|
|Netflix||Content recommendation and personalization||Netflix’s recommendation engine||By analyzing viewing habits, Netflix delivers personalized content suggestions, improving user satisfaction and retention.|
|HubSpot||Inbound marketing software||HubSpot’s targeted content marketing||HubSpot’s MVA approach focuses on specific industries and provides tailored content, attracting niche audiences and converting them into customers.|
|Peloton||Home fitness equipment and content||Peloton’s interactive fitness classes||Peloton identified fitness enthusiasts as its MVA, offering interactive classes that cater to this audience’s specific needs, resulting in brand loyalty and growth.|
|Slack||Team communication and collaboration||Slack’s team-specific communication channels||Slack targets teams and organizations as its MVA, providing tailored solutions for efficient communication, which has fueled its growth.|
|Coursera||Online education and specialization||Coursera’s specialization programs||Coursera offers specialized courses to learners who are looking for expertise in a particular field, demonstrating the effectiveness of MVA in the online education industry.|
|Dollar Shave Club||Subscription-based grooming products||Dollar Shave Club’s affordable razors||Dollar Shave Club targeted individuals seeking cost-effective grooming solutions, quickly gaining a dedicated MVA and disrupting the industry.|
|Udemy||Online course marketplace||Udemy’s niche course offerings||Udemy allows instructors to create and sell niche courses, attracting learners with specific interests, a prime example of MVA-driven success.|
- In today’s gatekeeping era, there are many approaches to enter the business world. One way is through the Minimum Viable Audience.
- With the Minimum Viable Audience, rather than try to do something for everyone, we’ll try to build something exceptional for a small group of people, which needs are unmet by the current market.
- Contrary to what happens in other markets, finding your Minimum Viable Audience means having a group of people that are willing to sustain and preserve your business as this adds so much value to them.
- Definition: The Minimum Viable Audience represents the smallest group of people that can sustain a business, especially when starting from a niche market (microniche). It involves zooming into existing markets to find individuals whose needs are not adequately met by existing players.
- Entrepreneur as an Artist: Embracing the concept of MVA, an entrepreneur takes on a role similar to that of an artist. They focus on serving the smallest group that could potentially sustain their work.
- Delighting the Audience: The idea is to create a product or service that would delight this small audience if they were the only ones available. Ignoring naysayers or people who don’t see the value in the offering can lead to excelling without compromises.
- Case Study: Starting a Bookstore Online: If an entrepreneur wants to start an online bookstore, it is essential to find a niche within the vast publishing industry. They may drill down into specific sub-categories, such as historical fiction focused on the Renaissance, to find their microniche.
- Identifying Viability: To ensure there is a viable audience for the microniche, entrepreneurs can analyze search volume and engagement for well-known authors within that specific category.
- Building Something Exceptional: Instead of trying to cater to everyone, MVA focuses on building something exceptional for a small group of people with unmet needs. This can lead to loyal and engaged customers who sustain and support the business.
- Value Creation: Finding the Minimum Viable Audience means creating significant value for a small group of individuals, which is essential for the success and sustainability of the business in today’s gatekeeping era.
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