A part of life ‘on-line’ is that it requires a certain amount of administration. Stuff needs to be set up, logged in and authorised. It’s also a big part of getting people into a start up. So we most often ensure that the barriers to entry are reduced…. we let our new users do the admin later. Maybe, on their next visit. The only problem with this is that administration should always be undertaken when motivation is the highest, and that’s usually at the start of a process or project.
This video was a nice reminder of what motivates people in life. I dig the animation, but I did think that the examples were kind of naff. In the spirit of de-naffing – I thought I’d list out the 6 key motivators, and then give an example of how a startup can employ it in a cool way that makes sense.
According to the science these are the key drivers that persuade people to take action.
Reciprocity: Be the resource first. Give to an audience something valuable, without asking for anything in return. Advice, information, news, utility. When I think of this, I think about the freemium model. I think about Google serving data points and monetizing later. How can your startup help in the first instance?
Scarcity: One of my favourite marketing strategies is when brands who know they have something cool and limit the distribution of their thing. Invites to Google+ and Pinterest come to mind, as does the retail strategy of many premium goods. This also has an important impact on our ability to price more profitably.
Authority: People want to deal with experts. One thing smart startups can do these days is build credentials in related spheres to what they sell. Smart brands do thought pieces on their industry, share intimate knowledge they have learned, and even give away perceived trade secrets. This is a smart way to fast track reputation and gain authority. A company blog is a great start. Talking at relevant industry conferences, getting articles published and mini doco’s are also great ways of developing a brand as an authority. Another old school method is gaining borrowed interest via sponsorships.
Consistency: In a world of exponential change and category fragmentation, it would be easy to think we desire unique and changeable experiences. But the opposite is true. While our tastes are becoming more niche, every niche experience we have we want to be consistent with our expectations. In technology Apple does it extremely well with their interface. But the true master would have to be McDonalds. When it comes to homogeneity of experience, they are the true masters. A simple question we can ask ourselves is this: How will the system we are building facilitate a ritual? Humans are creatures of habit and certainty – brands that serve this, have a chance at generating loyalty.
Liking: While this doesn’t appear in many strategy documents, people do business with people they like. The science says we like people and companies that are similar to us, and co-operate with us. When it comes to startups, a fast track to doing this is to personify the brand. Have a set of values that people can relate to, to stand for something politically and environmentally. The days of corporate fence sitting and both party political donations are over. The best way to be likable is to take a stand and find the people who value what we do. The others are irrelevant.
Consensus: With humans being social animals, we look for decision validation within our reference group. This doesn’t mean that the wisdom of crowds is right. In fact, it might mean the wisdom of a closed group of people we trust. My best current example is that the popularity of Facebook and its ever growing user base assures me that it isn’t right for me.
While it is hard to do all of these, it’s a nice reminder of the type of activity we need to undertake to inspire people to take action.
What are some of the methods that you’ve used?
While it is clear that the birth of the omnipresent web has changed our business infrastructure, it’s not clear that most people understand the truth about digital as it pertains to business, brand or startup strategy. Here’s a simple phrase to help remind us:
There is no digital.
There is only ‘life’. We seamlessly move between a variety of technologies in our day. As we have done since the beginning of time with all forms of technology. We don’t have a digital life and an analogue life as much as we don’t have a sitting on a chair life or a sitting on the floor life. A chair is just a piece of technology like the latest shinny thing in our pockets is. And it’s about time we started recognizing that a digital strategy is a flawed one by definition. All that exists is a strategy that makes sense – one which is technology agnostic. One that achieves objectives by considering all of the methods and tools at our disposal.
The days of digital strategy are over. Anyone who doesn’t get digital, doesn’t get strategy. We need start to think again in terms of utility for the audience – it’s only when we focus on their needs that we can ever hope to be a solution in their day.
I came across 3 really good pieces in the past week that I really think are worth sharing.
- The first of the these was a blog post from Jason Calcanis on the topic of how moderate success is the enemy of breakout success. Something I spoke about earlier this year. But this post is totally insightful and potentially direction changing. While we all espouse staying the course – maybe the course isn’t to stick to a particular idea, but to stick to being in startup land. Instead we should pivot quickly and frequently until we find the right path. His contention being that when we are on the right track, we’ll know within a few short months. Read it here.
- The second is two important pieces from Seth Godin. This first is a video where he is very candid about his previous failures, which for me was important because he talks so often about the power of failure and for once we hear more about it – some of his past ventures where pretty out there. It was a great video interview – watch it here. Another post of his stood out to me as his best of the year. It was about confusing being good with being lucky. The post explains itself very clearly – the lesson to take is not to be alarmed if you haven’t been lucky ‘yet’. While others, even revered Silicon Valley wiz kids may well have just been lucky. In fact, some get so lucky we may never find out if they are actually any good. Read it here.
- The last is a story about startups by Sriram Krishnan that were told they couldn’t succeed and were ‘Not Fundable‘. What I love about this post is how convincing the negative arguments are. They are indisputable – but you’ll know what happened to these ideas… More proof that anything can happen during a technology revolution. Read it here.
I’d be keen to hear about any links you’ve happened upon which provide some poignant end of year lessons for us to consider over the holidays.
I was discussing with a colleague the inevitability of supermarket retailers being disrupted the same way department stores have been . I contended that in a few short years the technology will arrive that allows a supermarket shopping experience on line that is cheaper and better in every way than entering a store – not even considering the time saved. Their retort I found to be an interesting one….
They claimed it was too difficult logistically. That the shift would even need to involve some kind of one way cupboard and or refrigerator being installed at the door of every house to take delivery of the goods. They even made reference to the fact that the goods would need to be segmented into different delivery boxes based on their temperature storage requirements. Besides the fact that this person had terrific ‘solutions’ within their proposed issues scope – it made me think about how the places we live in have already changed significantly based on technology, social and commercial innovations. Innovations which have been pushed into homes based on an entrepreneurial imperative.
The simplest example is the driveway. Something that no home in the history of man had before the nineteenth century. A simple yet expensive convenience all new homes were built with after WW2. Based the desire of home owners to have the convenience of a private transport device, adjacent industries responded with solutions. In fact, a large part of the Henry Ford strategy was to convince government to pave the roads of America and accommodate his burgeoning industry. So it isn’t silly to believe that the impending upheaval in the supermarket industry will involve a great deal coalescing from the ‘new supply chain’ and home designers and builders. Through history this has happened in both large and small ways. But to jog your memory, here’s a few more examples of technology placed into homes to assist homeowners and new industries:
- the letter box
- the kitchen
- the inside bathroom
- the inside toilet
- telephone cables
- internal plumbing & gas fitting
- internal electricity
- heating & cooling systems
- wifi systems
In fact we could probably add everything under the roof that doesn’t involve the primary idea of housing – providing shelter.
The insight for startups is two fold: Firstly, we can inspire and believe that the infrastructure will arrive to support an innovation which makes life better for people. And secondly, we can be the provider of that infrastructure to make the next growth industry possible.
New startup idea for free – One way in home front door fridges!
I think demographic segmentation should be added to the bundle of tools from yesteryear. The redundant list. Note just because it is a cold and dehumanizing concept, but because we no longer have to use economic and social indicators to guess who cares about something. In a connected world, where we opt in to tracking our own behaviour guessing is no longer required. Instead we can know precisely who cares, and what matters to them.
Age, Location, Income, Education levels, Employment, Race and Gender are all proxies. Estimating by proxy is very quickly being circumvented by knowing through tracking and connecting. In the old world we’d imagine a potential target audience or we’d research a target audience if we could afford it. The good news today is that none of us have to guess anymore, and all of us can afford the price (very often zero) to find out who they are. And most importantly we should remember our people are not some statistical cohort we attack, but a group of individuals that we should be bending over backwards to help out.
My post yesterday was about the simple yet great fundraising effort by Wikipedia.
Well today I got a lovely follow up letter, which although I’m sure much of it is ‘form, it didn’t feel like it. It was also from ‘Sue’ with her actual email address and phone number (not included) not a ‘thankful robot’. Actually it said some smart stuff which reinforced my decision – which is something few brands bother to do.
Thank you for donating to the Wikimedia Foundation. You are wonderful!
It’s easy to ignore our fundraising banners, and I’m really glad you didn’t. This is how Wikipedia pays its bills — people like you giving us money, so we can keep the site freely available for everyone around the world.
People tell me they donate to Wikipedia because they find it useful, and they trust it because even though it’s not perfect, they know it’s written for them. Wikipedia isn’t meant to advance somebody’s PR agenda or push a particular ideology, or to persuade you to believe something that’s not true. We aim to tell the truth, and we can do that because of you. The fact that you fund the site keeps us independent and able to deliver what you need and want from Wikipedia. Exactly as it should be.
You should know: your donation isn’t just covering your own costs. The average donor is paying for his or her own use of Wikipedia, plus the costs of hundreds of other people. Your donation keeps Wikipedia available for an ambitious kid in Bangalore who’s teaching herself computer programming. A middle-aged homemaker in Vienna who’s just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A novelist researching 1850s Britain. A 10-year-old in San Salvador who’s just discovered Carl Sagan.
On behalf of those people, and the half-billion other readers of Wikipedia and its sister sites and projects, I thank you for joining us in our effort to make the sum of all human knowledge available for everyone. Your donation makes the world a better place. Thank you.
Most people don’t know Wikipedia’s run by a non-profit. Please consider sharing this e-mail with a few of your friends to encourage them to donate too. And if you’re interested, you should try adding some new information to Wikipedia. If you see a typo or other small mistake, please fix it, and if you find something missing, please add it. There are resources here that can help you get started. Don’t worry about making a mistake: that’s normal when people first start editing and if it happens, other Wikipedians will be happy to fix it for you.
I appreciate your trust in us, and I promise you we’ll use your money well.
I wonder how many startups are this thankful to their first customers?
For a long time I’ve hated the word ‘consumer’. It has very little to do with marketing, let alone delighting people who give you their custom. After a recent tweet about it – I was asked by Marketing Magazine to write an article about it.
Click here to read the article I wrote about it. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this dirty word.
This is a really interesting piece from the late George Carlin – who, despite all his success took the best part of 35 years before he thought he found his place. While all of this 4 minutes is interesting, and it isn’t so much for entertainers, but really appeals to the spirit of any entrepreneur or employee with the entrepreneur wanting to break out. The bit I find most compelling is when he discusses the choice he made at the age of 30. That he was living in the middle of a generation gap and had to choose a new audience – a new young crew who got it, or an older crew who bought into it. We too need to choose our audience carefully. Should our audience be a bunch of senior managers in company XYZ who believe in the status quo, or should it be a new breed of entrepreneur / intrapreneur whose enthusiasm might be the missing ingredient to change stuff?
- thanks to Ender for inspiring this post.