Marketing Executive, Henley Business School, Africa.
The benefit of working at a good school is that you’re encouraged to practice what you teach. The Henley marketing team has been in Beta mode since March. The interplaying complexities of COVID, media being in flux and evolving modes of learning all conspired to render us inexpert. So what do you do? You look for smart, resilient people. You share strengths and vulnerabilities honestly. Sketch your plans quickly – in pencil. Build systems for robust, high-velocity testing of ideas. Then you start running.
“User enthusiasm decay” has emerged as a diagnostic tool for the effect of fail points in the user experience. It’s super-useful in tracking how a user went from mildly disappointed to very unhappy and worst of all, silent and indifferent. This is critical when a user will be in your ecosystem for a significant timeframe.
We all enter a new ecosystem with some form of raised energy – excitement, anxiety, trepidation, anticipation. This energy (let’s call it enthusiasm) is important, because it gets you over the threshold and into the experience. You’ll scarcely register any glitches initially; you’ll wave off problems and excuse them away as you’re the newcomer. “Maybe it’s just me.” I’m sure you’ve felt that. You’re surrounded by many people behaving the same way.
As time elapses, this energy will decay. As marketers, it’s not just the big pain points we need to solve for. We have to assist our ecosystem by constantly detecting and solving the small “let-downs” that compound. Let-down one will feel minor, let-down four might feel catastrophic – and yet it’s a relatively similar size issue, and probably by another department. We tend to diagnose the source of let-down four as the problem.
You’ll notice in the process that the energy we raise against let-downs lessens as we go. An unhappy user is useful in a long timeframe, their energy can be of some use – passion is passion, after all. It’s when we’ve conditioned the user to expect failure and simply accept it that we’re in real danger – we won’t know what to fix, we’ll simply see numbers drop.
Try the model – map out some known complaints in your user experience in the sequence they occur. You’ll get a good snapshot of what your user is really facing and may be able to solve some pain points and develop metrics to monitor each of them going forward.
In terms of metrics – level of user-enthusiasm is not tangible – but we believe a batch of metrics can be overlayed to give a pretty good idea. Think about what you can measure, and how they might correlate. Sales, engagement, registration for events, attendance, weather, economy, comments section, social media sentiment. We love data, and we also love ratios – divide everything by everything – you’ll be amazed.
We also know that data alone doesn’t make a world. Life is messy – heuristics, worldviews, biases, agendas – they make us all uniquely bashed, bruised and shiny asteroids flying in roughly the same direction – so adopt “and also” as opposed to “either or” and leave some wriggle room to be human too. Remember, we’ve been rendered inexpert.