Understanding MLP vs MVP: A Deep Dive and Strategic Steps for SaaS Owners

Updated on: Oct 17, 2023

Understanding MLP vs MVP: A Deep Dive and Strategic Steps for SaaS Owners

In today’s fast-paced SaaS environment, bringing a product to market quickly is often the primary goal. For years, the concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has been the cornerstone for this approach. But viability is just the tip of the iceberg; to truly resonate with users and sustain long-term growth, companies are embracing a new paradigm: the Minimum Lovable Product (MLP). So, what exactly is the difference between MLP and MVP? And how can SaaS owners strategically transition from one to the other? This article aims to elucidate these concepts and provide actionable steps.

Detailed Comparison of MLP vs. MVP

Conceptual Foundation

  • MVP: The core idea behind an MVP is to build a product with the minimum set of features that addresses the target users' pain points. It is a proof of concept that validates whether a market exists for your product.
  • MLP: An MLP extends beyond the utilitarian perspective of an MVP by adding features that not only solve a problem but also engage and delight the user. It aims for a 'wow' factor that turns users into advocates for the brand.

User Engagement

  • MVP: MVPs focus on getting users to adopt the product by fulfilling a particular need. The engagement strategy is largely transactional: the user has a problem, and the MVP offers a solution.
  • MLP: MLPs aim for emotional engagement, creating a product that users don’t just need but actually love. This often includes enhanced UI/UX, better onboarding processes, or value-added services like exceptional customer support.

Market Response

  • MVP: A Minimum Viable Product is like a trial balloon—it's put out into the market primarily to gather data. Success metrics are often focused on user acquisition and basic engagement.
  • MLP: With an MLP, you're not just looking for data; you're looking for enthusiasm. Success metrics often include higher-level engagement indicators like Net Promoter Score (NPS), user-generated content, or referral rates.

Iteration and Development

  • MVP: Post-launch, the focus is often on quickly iterating based on user feedback related to functionality.
  • MLP: Post-launch, the company actively iterates not just for function but also for form, style, and additional features that could further engage and delight the user.

Strategic Steps to Transition from MVP to MLP

Step 1: Conduct User Surveys and Interviews

Before adding features to make your product more lovable, understand what your users truly value. This can be done through surveys, interviews, and data analytics.

Step 2: Identify 'Wow' Factors

Determine what features or elements can elevate your product from being merely functional to genuinely delightful. This could be anything from better UI/UX to faster customer service response times.

Step 3: Prioritize Features

Not all 'wow' features are created equal. Use metrics like feasibility, impact, and relevance to prioritize which features to implement first.

Step 4: Develop and Test

Once you've identified and prioritized the additional features, it's time to develop and rigorously test them. This could be done through A/B testing, focus groups, or staged rollouts.

Step 5: Launch and Monitor

After testing, roll out the new features to your entire user base and closely monitor how they affect user engagement, satisfaction, and other key performance indicators (KPIs).

Step 6: Iterate and Improve

Based on the data collected, continue to iterate your product, adding new features, or optimizing existing ones to keep delighting your users.


The transition from MVP to MLP is not just a matter of adding a few extra features. It's a strategic shift that involves rethinking your product's role in the user's life. By understanding the nuances between MLP and MVP, and by following a methodical approach to feature development and user engagement, SaaS companies can significantly improve their chances for long-term success.

Turn Your MVP into an MLP with Fikri Studio

Is your SaaS product meeting its potential? Don't settle for mere viability when you could be aiming for lovability. Fikri Studio specializes in SaaS design and can help you transition from an MVP to an MLP. Contact us today to explore how we can transform your product into one that users will love.

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