Recently a friend from work decided to create a Book Club and I signed up. The first one we read was “The Clown and the Psychoanalyst” by Cláudio Thebas and Christian Dunker. The interesting thing is that at some point they mention a fact intrinsic to the human being, that he is a playful being, and comment on a book I read a long time ago. So I decided to reread it. And I had a eureka moment. It seems that in my head a lot of things came together overnight.
The book cited is “Homo Ludens: The play-element in culture“, written by Johan Huizinga in 1938. In it, the author proposes the concept of Homo Ludens, talks about the importance of games in the lives of human beings and demonstrates some of its characteristics which I believe is important to emphasize: games have defined rules, have delimited environments, represent a voluntary action and have a beginning, middle and end.
This is where our product journey begins. It is common for entrepreneurs to see a large company succeed and seek to understand what practices are behind it. In a way, it’s absolutely correct, it’s called benchmarking. The problem is when they decide who will be their benchmark and use biased information to build their strategies, whether due to lack of knowledge of their own business or the business of others.
Almost everyone has heard the story of Netflix reinventing movie rentals, so I’m not going to delve into it and just focus on one of the pillars that made it accomplish this feat.
First of all, Netflix seeks to know its target audience very well, which requires time, dedication and financial investment. This Attention Game, as we usually say within the world of product strategy, implies knowing what content to deliver and the right time to deliver it. Drawing a parallel between its strategy and how the games behave would look like this:
They have defined rules: We know from the outset that Netflix doesn’t open the entire catalog to everyone. That periodically movies and series enter and leave the platform. That many series will only have 1 or 2 seasons. All these commercial agreements are translated as rules of the game when it makes transparent the way it acts. Therefore, those who subscribe agree without having to read the terms of service.
They have delimited environments: Previously, the space for films and series was in the cinema, then in the living room, later in the bedroom and now, thanks to technology, it is almost anywhere. It was easy to delimit the environment. What about now? Well, now we can say that this delimited environment has transcended physical space, as each subscriber is free to create their own environment. Each person, based on their resources, is now able to recreate the experience wherever they are, creating their own delimited and inviolable environments.
They represent a voluntary action: Art has the ability to expand human senses, transform illusory consciousness into reality. Cinema is an art. So when we watch a movie, a series, a documentary, we are transported to an illusory moment of our own, where each one chooses to be a spectator or protagonist. This choice is voluntary. Although Netflix seeks to influence its subscribers, it respects this free will so much that you can subscribe for a month, watch whatever you want, unsubscribe and re-subscribe only when the next season comes out.
They have a beginning, middle and end: This means that Netflix does not require from its subscribers any commitment beyond what is agreed, which is to pay for the provision of the service. Again, we note the freedom to come and go given to customers. It does not hold 100% of subscribers’ attention, and it’s okay for them to leave. The important thing is that they will come back, as they are going of their own volition and not because of friction caused by the company.
After this analysis, it is clear that one of the pillars of Netflix’s strategy is to know its customer very well. If you, as an entrepreneur or product professional, are looking to be inspired by its model, start by studying your client and your business.
A fantastic technique is the Golden Circle proposed by Simon Sinek: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
This technique connects to customer desires as follows:
The limbic system is where we make our unconscious decisions, in this way it connects with the clients’ values and beliefs.
In the neocortex, there is a rationalization of the decision already taken by the limbic system.
That’s why we say that to conquer customers we need to generate impulses from the inside out.
After this first step, let’s go to the most arduous and perhaps painful – to know the customer. You need to know how he/she feels about your service. And that’s when you can discover that your customer only uses your service for lack of options. But finding this out is very important, think that you are getting a chance to reverse the cancellation frame before it happens.
There are several tools to perform this measurement, however, I like to recommend the use of the Net Promoted Score, NPS.
NPS is a methodology to measure customer satisfaction and assess the degree of loyalty to your company. The technique appeared in 2003 with Fred Reichheld in a Harvard Business Review publication and later evolved in the book “The ultimate question” by the same author.
The next step is to know how your customers use your product and you will have to listen and talk to them a lot. Two tools that can help at this time are the Empathy Map and the Consumer Journey.
The Empathy Map is a tool created by XPLANE as part of the Canvas Methodology to help teams deeply understand their customers and improve the user experience.
The last step is the mapping of the Consumer Journey. This tool consists of mapping your customer’s actions within a set of predefined steps that go from the moment he discovers he needs to solve a problem to the moment he ceases to be your customer.
Within the macro moments, there are 10 mapped moments that you can use: (1) Awareness, (2) Discovery, (3) Interest, (4) Negotiation, (5) Action, (6) Use & Continuous Use, (7) Sharing, (8) Remembrance, (9) Abandonment and (10) Retrieval.
At the end you will have a map similar to the image below:
Now with all these inputs, you are able to assess your customers’ motivations and build the best game to play with them.
My final tip is: in today’s world, customers are looking for authenticity, so copies are not welcome. Get inspiration from big companies, but be authentic when talking and building products for your customers.
Lastly, I share two articles that are worth reading: The Three Games of Customer Engagement Strategy and How To Choose A Customer Engagement Model.
By Paulo Silva, Product Owner at Invillia