Richer Experiences Reduce the Role of Luck

Loyalty Bribery Definitions
In the last couple of years I experimented with several brands loyalty programs to varying degrees of enjoyment. Beauty product programs being the more playful. At the other end of the spectrum sit airline mileage programs — a supreme example of bribery. If that is how you implement your program, your customers are slipping through leaky experiences.

The problem with most loyalty programs is that they are constructed to reward the company — you do what we ask, we give you goodies — and the customer has to jump through hoops to get what he wants — e.g., redeem miles. They are so bad because they are focused on the product or service and not the larger context.

If a documentary crewContext to marketers by and large means where audiences will see their message, or for more advanced companies how they will experience the service.

Instead, context means how is this making my life better as in “how is the use of this product or service going to help me gain new skills that I can use meaningfully?” to them/us.

The key is in the results:

Competing on out-caring the competition is fragile unless caring means caring about user results.

Says Kathy Sierra in her new book Badass: Making Users Awesome published by O'Reilly media. The book includes simple techniques you can use to start experimenting with providing ways to help your customers become better at their context, what they want to do.

Making users awesomeIf you want to design better experiences, start with how you conceive the product or service and this book will help you do that, step by step.

I am quite familiar with Kathy's work and presentations — see for example what turns your brain on, my write up of her SxSWi session a few years ago. Having a handy guide on my desk helps me make my intellectual understanding of the principles real, to act on them.

In her SxSWi talk, Sierra mentioned the work of UC Santa Barbara Richard Mayer who studies how people learn with the use of words and pictures in presentations. She says:

To solve the problem we need to change the shape on our assumption on how people learn and move towards:

  1. sensory and long term, unlimited to capacity

  2. working memory – we can hold three to four chunks of information at any one time

This book walks the talk on that advice, and I have been using it as a refresher, guide, and a working tool. For this reason I recommend a paper copy — there is plenty of space for you to make notes.

If you are unfamiliar with Kathy Sierra's work, our two-part conversation on creating passionate users (part I, and here is part II) is a good primer.


[image courtesy Kathy Sierra]