A Pan-Brand Currency
Attention Messaging needs a currency to reward attention. This needs to work across push messaging channels and brands. No single brand can make it work because they cannot offer enough rewards on their own to make it worthwhile, even if they have a loyalty program. Let’s consider some of the numbers.
A typical brand sends 10-15 marketing messages a month. If 5 of them offer 1 Mu for opening emails and 3 for clicking, then the recipient earns 20 Mu for actions performed. Let’s say each Mu is worth 10 paise – this comes to Rs 2 for a brand in a single month. This will be too much hassle for a single brand to offer, but across 25-50 brands, a recipient could get Rs 50-100 worth of Mu a month, which is not insignificant. (After all, Google Pay has managed to attract huge usage for much less!) In addition, there is the fun element. There can be surprises and sweepstakes – after all, when 90% messages are being ignored, there is much greater upside than upside. Even if 5% more customers start opening brand messages and acting, it can lead to a 50% increase in traffic to the website or app.
Attention Messaging thus needs a micro-currency which will work across brands – with the focus on the inboxes which receive the messages. The idea is to get customers used to looking at the messages with interest – a delight rather than delete mindset. The Mu works as a signal – that the brand is willing to offer something in return for attention, that retention is as important as new customer acquisition. With Mu, the brand is directly rewarding the customer as opposed to paying the likes of Google and Facebook. It encourages brands to have better and deeper relationships with their existing customers. Customers in turn signal back to the brand with their opens and clicks, thus creating the equivalent of digital pheromone which brands can in turn track to make their messaging sharper.
What surprises me is that this idea hasn’t been done before. Maybe I will find out after some effort that Attention Messaging is just not important and brands are perfectly happy with the current state of affairs in their customer relationships. Or maybe I will find out that customers either don’t care about the rewards and don’t change their attention behaviour or just game the system by collecting the rewards and not changing their buying behaviour. In each of these cases, the idea will fail and we will be back to square one. But if the Mu rewards mechanism works, I think it will be a huge step-up in the brand-customer relationship and create a win-win future for both sides. Only time will tell which future scenario comes to fruition!