Sunday, 17 January 2010

Duke Nukem & Loyalty – Where less is more

duke-nukem There was an interesting article in Wired a few weeks back about why the anticipated sequel to the immensely popular Duke Nukem computer game never quite made it to the stores.

In the article it pointed out that normally videogames take two to four years to build, however the team worked on the sequel to Duke Nukem, entitled Duke Nukem Forever for 12 years straight – before winding down the operation and closing the doors.

One of the main reasons for the game never getting delivered is that as with most industries, the longer you wait the more things move on. 

The original Duke Nukem game had helped to define a new genre in computer gaming – creating a 3D first person shoot-em-up game where the character could interact with other objects – going on to sell 3.5m copies. 

Aiming for the sequel to be as unique and cutting edge as the first game, they were constantly pushing forward, only to find another new title being released that they wanted to exceed or another new gaming engine which provided more features. 

In the end this constant desire to release the most innovative game meant it never actually got released.

What’s really interesting in this whole story is that they seemed to forget that whilst game-play was important, it was the character and the storyline which people loved.  What gamers wanted was not a cutting edge game (although that’s always good), but actually another chance to play their favourite character.

This issue isn’t limited to game development however - I’ve seen the same issue within loyalty programme development – with some never getting off the ground or being severely delayed simply because people can’t agree on the features.

Whilst you need to make sure that a loyalty programme is right for you – it’s actually doing something which is more important than doing something perfect first time.

Don’t get me wrong, you need to make sure that the programme is well designed and right for your business as once it’s launched it can be very difficult to pull.  However a test and learn strategy can allow you to change a programme over time – doing more of what works well and cutting back on anything that doesn’t.

In the book All You Need is a Good Idea!: How to Create Marketing Messages that Actually Get Results, author Jay Heyman says, “Perfect is the enemy of good – if you keep prodding, tweaking and tampering with something good, trying to turn it into something perfect, you will not just miss a lot of important deadlines – it is possible you might never get there at all, in effect turning a good idea into no idea.”

Seth Godin made the same point in a blog post using his usual succinct style saying:-

Having good ideas meant also having bad ideas.  If you keep waiting for a good idea to be a great idea then you’ll never risk it being a bad idea and so do nothing.

It’s increasingly difficult to have an idea which no one has tried or can’t easily be copied.  However most people won’t be expecting you to have the most innovative and unique loyalty programme – they simply want more from your brand – more from the relationship.

Your brand itself is unique and as long as what you do fits with and builds upon your unique brand proposition then this itself will make it stand apart from competitors.  Doing nothing however is simply a missed opportunity.

As Duke Nukem would say:-

It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I'm all out of gum.

5 comments:

Jay said...

Thanks so much for mentioning my book, All You Need Is A Good Idea! Your readers might also enjoy my blog: www.allyouneedisagoodidea.typepad.com
Glad I found your blog, am adding it to my RSS feed.
Thanks again for the mention.
Jay

Mark Sage said...

No problem Jay and thanks for feeding back. Enjoyed your book by the way - read it a few months back.

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