Marketing and MVPs: The Kanye Philosophy
How do develop a new product and take it to market, Yeezy-style.
Ok ok, I’ll get to Kanye in a second, but first, some background.
We’ve been reading an interesting book in the Reevoo office recently.
Basically, it lays out the tasks required to build a product in five days:
Day one: set the stage + unpack
Day two: sketch
Day three: decide
Day four: prototype
Day five: test
They call it the ‘design sprint’.
Like all digital companies who build stuff, our developers work in sprints, so nothing revolutionary there. But the cool thing about this book is that you can use its design sprint process to fix all kinds of business problems.
One company used the method to give its hotel delivery robot a personality.
Another perfected the new user experience for its personalised fitness app.
Your company might use it to whip up a new landing page or source new beans for the coffee machine.
We do a super-sped-up version of this sprint in our Hackathons (they go for a day) and end up with four or five really cool prototypes. The winning project goes into the roadmap and gets the full Reevoo development treatment.
The process was similar (though it took a little longer than five days) for our latest product, Experiences. It’s been about a yearlong process so far involving people from all areas of the company and thousands of user testers.
We started with a problem. We want to help our clients use more types of UGC in more places.
We did a knowledge dump;
Sketched it out;
Wireframed and got feedback from real users;
Created some working prototypes;
Got a bunch more people to use it;
Then, we released it.
Find our first deployment here – it’s not perfect, but it’s out there breathing oxygen and we’re really excited about the roadmap.
We reckon getting an MVP (minimum viable product) out there and iterating the hell out of it is the best way to get an end result that’s great for the user.
It’s a philosophy shared by product management thought leader, Kanye West.
Kanye’s done something quite clever.
By hosting his album in one place (first Tidal, now other streaming services as well) he controls the master copy. Which means he’s free to iterate on his product (The Life of Pablo) after giving it some time in the public eye. He tinkered with ‘Famous’, changing a lyric and cleaning up a few parts – then updated Wolves and moved an outro onto a new track.
Could this be the future of music?
Artists are always talking about how the ‘album is dead’ and people don’t have the patience to wait a few years between musical outputs. Well, what about the MVP/iterative approach to releasing albums? Why can’t an album be updated with topical lyrics as things happen in the real world?
It might even stop people downloading it from torrent sites – if they know their version would soon be obsolete, they might shell out for a subscription to Tidal or Spotify to make sure they always have the latest version.
When you think about it (I have, lots) it’s not just the developers that can learn from Kanye. Send this over to your marketing department. Yeezy’s got something to teach them, too.
The Kanye content marketing model
Let’s say you have major product releases every few years.
You can’t rely on the labels and their big marketing budgets anymore – modern artists promote their work in their own creative, authentic ways.
You’re gonna need some associated content, to explain what you’ve created and show the possibilities of how it could be used.
Next, you’ll need some content that’s more helpful to your customers – stuff that makes their lives better or easier, and will keep you top of mind when it’s time to buy an album.
This should become part of your ‘business as usual’ – and should evolve just like every other aspect of what you do. The content you create isn’t just helpful for people who might buy what you sell – it becomes part of your culture, what you stand for and how people perceive you.
Then, you should probably find an influencer to work with – some kind of digital visionary who is willing to team up and create content (and headlines) together.
That way, the stuff you work so hard on gets more exposure, more results and more smiling faces.
Good, you’ve got a solid stream of content and it’s getting some attention – now keep the constant engagement up on social media. Keeping current means your brand isn’t stuck in a time warp circa the last time you redid your website.
Remember to remain ‘on brand’.
That’s the way! Now you’re creating earned media. Free publicity – it’s what every marketer dreams of. Put your ideas out there and you might just get it.
I’m hoping the Kanye Method catches on. My preorder is in…