PowerBar may be a successful brand today, but its very first energy bar product was tough and tasteless. Founder Brian Maxwell knew his creation was far from perfect, but the feedback he received from early customers allowed him to improve his product and marketing plan, and eventually build a multimillion empire.
Other companies have since learned from PowerBar’s example and embraced this tactic of intentionally releasing incomplete products. Instead of spending on costly research and development, they start with a minimum viable product or MVP. They then use this basic but sellable version to gather feedback from potential customers and eventually come up with the final product.
Well-known organizations that follow this approach include Apple and Starbucks. The latter tests each new product idea in a few stores before officially launching it, as it did with its Via instant coffee line.
Steve Jobs has stated, “It’s hard to design products by focus groups. People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”