The Build Measure Learn Model Explained

Wondering what the Build Measure Learn Model is?

It’s a business model, that is an integral part of the Lean Startup methodology.

In this article, I am going to:

  • Explain what the Business Measure Model is,
  • Teach you how to leverage your product development efforts, AND
  • Help you create a feedback loop, based on the customer feedback that you collect.

So, if you want to build and grow a sustainable business by using the Build Measure Learn Model, read on.

Contents

Chapter 1: What is the Build Measure Learn Model?

Chapter 2: How to Build a Feedback Loop for your Business

Chapter 3: Use Customer Feedback to Improve the Customer Experience

Chapter 4: Last Thoughts

Chapter 1: What is the Build Measure Learn Model?

Let’s start things off by giving a proper explanation as to what the Build Measure Learn framework is.

The Build Measure Learn Model:

  • Is one of the main principles in The Lean Startup book by Eric Ries,
  • It helps businesses learn fast, and make decisions fast,
  • It helps you to determine whether you should pivot or persevere,
  • You can implement it regardless of your business model.

The Lean Startup methodology essentially helps businesses avoid the hassle of building products that nobody wants.

And, how is it helps startup businesses?

By getting a new product to the hands of the customers faster, and without any delay in product development.

This a nice graph by KISSmetrics describing the process:

The Build Measure Learn Model
Image Source: KISSmetrics

According to the author of the Lean Startup book, Eric Ries:

“The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration.”

Simply put, a build measure learn feedback loop helps you deliver minimum viable products (MVPs) fast, and use customer feedback to measure their success.

When you know if your minimum viable product has the potential of satisfying your customer needs, you can add more product features and optimize the existing ones.

The Build Measure Learn model is a scientific method of gathering feedback (customer feedback) and using that feedback to build great products.

This mechanism of gathering feedback is known as the “feedback loop.”

A feedback loop is an agile approach when it comes to gathering customer feedback and translating into customer needs and product features.

For now, let’s focus on the Build Measure Learn model and its three pillars.

1) Build

  • You build an MVP or prototype, that doesn’t take too much time to build
  • It should have a certain quality and functionality characteristics
  • You have to move fast and shouldn’t spend time on heavy development tasks
  • You DON’T need advanced features and functionalities

A point that I want to highlight here is that the quality of your MVP is correlated to the reach of your business, and your stage you are in.

This means that an early-stage startup that hasn’t found a product-market fit yet can build something that is not so great.

However, a company with thousands of paying customers, can’t afford to launch an MVP that is not stellar, or that doesn’t cover an existing need of its paying customers.

For example, back in 2015, MOZ launched the Spam Score, a new feature that was supposed to give a score on websites, based on certain attributes.

These attributes could potentially indicate a website that you don’t want to get a link from, or if you got, you might want to disavow.

This is the original post by Rand Fishkin:

Spam Score by MOZ
Image Source: MOZ

If you know the story behind the launch of this new feature, you’d know that this particular launch was not so successful.

And, this is why this new product feature was not embraced by the SEO community, and especially from SEO influencers such as Marie Haynes:

Marie Haynes Comment on Spam Score
Image Source: MOZ

What I am trying to say is that when your company has a wide reach, you can’t afford to make mistakes with your MVPs.

2) Measure

  • You measure the success of the MVP you’ve built
  • You identify whether or not there is interest in what you’ve built
  • You identify friction points, things that could be improved
  • You can tell whether or not your customers get value out of your MVP

Collect Feedback & Turn Into Insights

This is a critical step in the Build Measure Learn model.

Measuring the impact of your MVP on your customers’ lives is significant.

However, there is one caveat here.

You want to measure ONLY feedback from paying customers, from people who put their hands in their pockets and trust you with their money.

Measuring the reactions in your audience would be meaningless.

Because, as Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko puts it in a podcast a while back:

“… there is a big difference between your audience and your customers.”

And, here is the feedback MOZ gathered when it launched a remarkable product feature, the Keyword Explorer:

Keyword Explorer by MOZ on Product Hunt
Image Source: Product Hunt

This is a comment on the product launch MOZ did on Product Hunt.

The best part? That the comment comes from a paying customer.

Well done, MOZ!

Let’s move on to the third pillar.

3) Learn

  • This is the step where you should put your validated learnings into action
  • Don’t expect to have 100% of data to make decisions
  • This is the phase where you should either Pivot or Persevere
  • Learn fast and fail fast

I can’t stress that enough.

You have to learn fast and adapt fast.

You shouldn’t waste time in large product development projects that stall your growth.

This is the phase where you decide whether or not to pivot or persevere.

Pivot or Persevere

Be sure about it:

Building a Build Measure Learn Feedback Loop will help you avoid the guesswork, make decisions faster and adapt as you test different hypotheses.

Let’s see how you can do it.

Chapter 2: How to Build a Feedback Loop for your Business

Are you wondering how to build a Build Measure Learn feedback loop?

You have to focus on the actual needs of your customers, and not on what you think that your customers’ needs are.

This means that instead of spending a lot of time in massive development projects, you should focus on:

  • Identifying customer needs, AND
  • Choosing the shortest product development paths.

Don’t get me wrong: that doesn’t mean you need to build a minimum viable product for every need your customers have.

After all, that’s not the point of building MVPs.

According to Eric Ries:

“The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

Some things I need you to keep in mind regarding the feedback loop of your business:

  • You need to gather feedback regularly, and not once per year or every quarter
  • The workflow has to be as automated as possible
  • You need to use that feedback to improve the experience for the users

The question is: how can you build such a system?

First of all, you have to enhance your customer relationships.

You have to get one step closer to your customers.

And, “no,” a simple Net Promoter Score survey through Email is not enough.

Especially when you want to build a new product or new product feature, you should ask your customers opinion first.

Is this something your customers need? Is it a problem they have? How do they deal with this problem? How does their day look like when they deal with the issue?

Most businesses build products without asking these questions.

And, that is a huge mistake.

However, even if you ship a new product, you should do it to a few of your customers first (early adopters), and based on the feedback, ship it to all your customers.

You can use a tool like appear.in to do that, and even record your user testing sessions for further analysis.

Moving on, you might want to set up alarms to monitor brand mentions across the web.

Let me illustrate this with a simple example.

And, for the sake of the example, let’s say that you run an SEO software for backlinking analysis and link building:

Imaginary Startup Linkconnect.io

So, you might want to set up custom alerts for mentions of your company online.

One of the most common methods to do that is with Google Alerts:

Set Up Google Alerts

Another one is to set up alerts using Ahrefs:

Set Up Ahrefs Alerts
Image Source: Ahrefs UI

Some other tools you can use are:

  • FB Radar
  • Typeform
  • On-site pop-ups

And, Zapier to automate everything.

Regardless of the tools you are going to use, you should keep one thing in mind:

Get close to your customers, ask them about your product, ask for feedback, and do that before you launch anything.

Chapter 3: Use Customer Feedback to Improve the Customer Experience

I’ll keep this one short.

Why building a learning loop matters?

Because it helps you make smaller commitments that don’t require much time or heavy development for your product team.

Minimal viable products shouldn’t be “minimally viable,” as Rand Fishkin correctly puts it in his book.

A feedback loop can help you test new ideas, in an agile way.

It’s an integral part of the Lean Startup methodology, and one of the most critical ones.

Customer feedback should be your guide in everything that you do.

It is the most valuable asset you have, and it can be useful in:

  • Product development,
  • Marketing endeavors,
  • Business development.

The customer feedback you collect is invaluable, and you have to set up a mechanism that constantly help you gather feedback, that you can later transform into insights.

This will help you understand how to make your customers happier, and how to approach potential customers more effectively.

Chapter 4: Last Thoughts

As you can understand, developing a feedback loop for your business is crucial.

In fact, customer feedback is the most valuable asset that a business can have.

Most founders and marketers don’t pay attention to that.

Customers talk, but they don’t listen.

But, not satisfying your customer needs is a surefire way to failure.

So, as I hope it is evident by now, the Build Measure Learn model is everything you need.

Why?

Because only by listening, you will be able to run and grow a sustainable business.

Now, I turn it over to you.

Have you ever used this model for your business? If yes, what were the results?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

  1. Jobs To Be Done Framework: The Essential Guide
  2. How to Conduct a Product Competitive Analysis (A Step-by-Step Guide)
  3. Problem-Solution Fit: When it’s the Right Time to Pivot?

About the Author: Aggelos M

Aggelos M
I have over 8 years experience in Digital and Growth marketing. Currently, running Growth Sandwich, a London based Product Growth Lab. Before turning in Growth Marketing and Product Growth, I had the chance to pass by head marketing and head digital positions in Athens and London, work with numerous tech startups but also build and run companies. In my spare time, I am consulting ambitious startups about their Growth and Business strategy.