Friday 13 November 2009

Creating a Loyalty Flash Forward

ff-promo-1 New TV series Flash Forward presents an interesting plot whereby the whole of mankind loses consciousness for 2 minutes 17 seconds and in that time sees events 6 months ahead of time.

Apart from the initial chaos and destruction that ensues – i.e. planes dropping out of the sky and cars running off the road – it’s how people react to knowing their future which is interesting.

People seeing themselves as married or pregnant for example, or worse, seeing nothing at all and what exactly that may signify.

Within the plot there seems to be two main types of reaction to this event:-

  • Wait and See– these individuals saw nothing worth getting anxious about or felt powerless to affect what they did see and so just accept it.
  • Positive Intervention - These people saw something in the future they didn’t like and so try to change it.

Whilst each reaction depends on the individual personalities of the characters, it is largely driven by what they saw in terms of whether this was positive, negative or just every day.

Interestingly, while this is obviously science fiction, as loyalty marketers we can make it science fact and actually have the ability to provide a Flash Forward on consumers - seeing what they may be doing in 6, 12 or 18 months time - through predictive analytics.

Looking at a consumers behaviours and those of other consumers who have previously demonstrated these behaviours can provide a real indication of future behaviours.

For example:-

  • A credit card customer’s balance at 90 days is indicative of their balance at 14 months
  • A new frequent flyer member going long haul in the first 30 days is 6 times more likely to become a premium customer.

Knowing this information provides you with a choice.

Do you take the “wait and see” approach – monitoring their ongoing behaviour but essentially doing nothing more or take the “positive intervention” approach and use marketing tools to try and change or maintain the behaviour.

Whilst the approach you choose will depend on the actions you’re looking to develop, the key is actually having this choice.noh

Unlike the character Special Agent Demetri Noh who says “There is nothing you, I or anyone can do to escape what's coming”, a shrewd loyalty marketer actually can.

Putting in place an early life communications programme for example can create a significant lift in transactional activity – now if after 90 days that’s indicative of activity at 14 months that’s a insight worth having.

Without the “Flash Forward” that predicative analytics brings you're essentially walking in the dark - taking one day at a time – and in marketing terms spending money today in the hope it might result in a later return.

In contrast, being able to glimpse the future of every individual customer allows you plan ahead, surprise and delight your (potentially) best customers and maximise your marketing spend – focusing precious funds on those customers with the best propensity to return value.

Creating your own Flash Forward is definitely worth the investment - Flak jacket, FBI badge and large gun are purely optional.