Activation Delivers Consumer Value

Activation seems like a simple enough word but one that apparently has numerous connotations. The Free Dictionary offers one meaning as “turning on.” Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali’s response to activation into the U.S. armed forces was, “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.”

Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, known for naming the concept of flow or “being in a zone” and connecting it to productivity, once said: “Purpose provides activation energy for living.” Despite these variations, all but Ali’s seem to point in the direction of this definition by Sixteen Ventures’ Lincoln Murphy that “Activation is the moment your customer derives value from your product.”

Ideally, getting the brand’s customers into a zone and feeling they got value from the product are the best of both worlds. This is crucial because it will bring customers back time and time again if they continue to feel that way. It also increases the potential to up-sell and/or cross-sell consumers and get them to advocate on behalf of the brand.

Getting Started

It’s important to first learn how the brand’s industry tracks users’ frequency to get started. Is it by the daily active users (DAU), weekly average users (WAU), or monthly active users (MAU) rates or a combination of two? Popular social media sites report high percentages in all categories because of the frequency of visits. Airlines and mortuaries, on the other hand, usually see low MAUs when compared to DAUs.

If that data is already being captured, how does the brand measure up to the industry average(s)? DAU and MAU are often compared. DAU numbers 20% or higher than MAU are generally considered good in many industries. 50% or higher is stellar!

How to Track

It’s important to invest in the right tool to enable the brand to recognize the customers regardless of where they check-in from, what browser, and what device. Determining that that’s the same person and not a new one each time is important. Assigning an ID to each customer helps ensure that accuracy, even if it’s just their email address or username.

Framing a Strategy

Based on industry information gathered on DAUs and MAUs, how would the brand define active? With that number as a benchmark, the main task is to set a goal and layout a strategy to achieve it. Included in it should be considerations to reduce friction and anxiety with customers, better nurture customer relationships, and empower and re-engage customers. Critical to this strategy is establishing a benchmark and regularly checking on the strategy’s results and tweaking it.

Another Option

Not every brand is conducive to employing and increasing DAU and MAU. If it’s low with the brand and industry, inspect its loyal customer base and run their numbers. They should be stronger than the rest of the customer base. Analyze them closely both from the demographics as well as the brand perspectives. Are there differences between them and the rest of the customer base? If so, consider focusing on a narrower audience that mirrors the demographic and/or brand findings. Rather than blanketing a broad audience, it may be more viable to focus more narrowly on one or both. At the very least, consider giving it a try and compare the results.