Dell is one of the world’s best known computer companies, with a laser focus on driving clear and measurable business outcomes through its loyalty initiatives.
In this short summary of my interview with Dell’s Mitch Kennedy, I’m summarising the insights he shared on the impact of transactional rewards and the power of gamification, as well as the importance of understanding human psychology in order to drive customer loyalty.
2) Mitch Kennedy, Global Loyalty Strategy Lead, Dell
Welcome to “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas for loyalty specialists around the world. Hello, and welcome to episode 1 54 of let’s talk loyalty where I’ve gone back through my interview with Mitch Kennedy, the loyalty strategy lead for Dell computers worldwide. Now, as you can imagine, computer sales have a long purchase cycle. So Dell rewards is a program that is designed to drive transactions, increase the speed of purchase as well as customer engagement between purchases.
And it operates in Dell’s major markets, including the U S Canada, Brazil and the UK. Now Mitch admitted that the format was very much a transactional start program at the time, but with the benefit of some incredible resources around the business, the firm had committed to adding in the element of gamification in order to drive even more successful outcomes with a really entrepreneurial background, Mitch admitted how surprised he was to discover the Dell truly is a company willing to listen to new ideas. And despite its size, it is allowing him the freedom and flexibility to test and try and innovate with the ideas he believes the loyalty program needs.
He combines this background in entrepreneurship and analytics with the deep love of human psychology, as well as a willingness to try new ideas to accomplish his goals. He shared the background story of how he discovered the power of gamification. When he was tasked with developing a solution for a client that needed a way to lower the cost of the rewards. They had issued both without upsetting the members of that loyalty program. He has since run hundreds of campaigns and tests across many programs, and he loves constantly testing and learning, particularly how games work with consumers.
Some of the highlights matured, where firstly, the games really need to have at least one big ticket grand prize to capture people’s imagination while we all believe we are rational and only play games with a high probability of winning in reality, this is not how consumers behave. He also emphasized that when people lose the game is not actually a bad thing. There is still a value exchange. As long as the members enjoy the experience. And he shared examples of using games to convince members, to engage with otherwise unappealing content like learning something new or understanding terms and conditions.
One important key is to ensure instant gratification as well as to ensure that gamification is only used as one powerful tool in a program in his view, gamification should not be the only strategy. It is particularly useful in industries with super tight margins when it’s difficult to reward transactions, for example, with anything, a real value. But of course it doesn’t appeal to all demographics. In fact, in his tests in particular, the gamers are the least responsive audience for gamification because they have much higher expectations on the graphics as well as on the prizes.
But given how broad the appeal is in general, he confirmed, it’s also an incredibly powerful tool to capture huge amounts of customer data. If you need us, but as a caution, he warned against asking for more data than you can act on as once you’ve asked for it, it does set an expectation with customers and if it’s not used, then it can disappoint them. Our final topic was the power of bringing in interns and graduate programs as an amazing source of innovation. The Dell certainly uses to foster talent internally, Mitch himself totally restructured his team based on an intern’s recommendation with his own team of just five direct resources, dedication to loyalty, Mitch shares how their work is capturing an increasing level of respect internally supported by their partners in Epsilon who have helped attribute loyalty investments to profitable outcomes with such a dynamic leadership team in this highly competitive sector.
The loyalty team and Dell have managed to educate the business on what’s possible, but also on the importance of taking a long-term customer view in closing Mitch shared a favorite book, he recommends cold drive by Daniel pink, as he believes that any innovation business that is based on foundational truths, such as human behavior have the best chance of being successful. He says that despite our best efforts, we are all irrational human beings. So the best marketing professionals understand the driving forces in our psychology to understand how we will behave rather than how we say we will behave.
This interview really was a fascinating insight into the mindset and mechanics being adopted by Dell as a laser-focused firm. So the next time you have an hour to spare, I highly recommend listening to Mitch Kennedy as an expert in gamification her optimum business outcomes. It’s episode number 46 of let’s talk loyalty. Otherwise please join me again this Thursday, when I’m chatting again with doctrine and Jeep, and kether the vice president of skywards from Emirates airline who shares some great progress and innovations they’ve launched over the last 18 months, despite the global pandemic This show is sponsored by the wise market here.
This show is sponsored by “The Wise Marketer”, the world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights and research.
The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training, both online and in workshops around the world through its Loyalty Academy, which has already certified over 150 executives in 18 countries as Certified Loyalty Marketing Professionals. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”. If you’d like me to send you the latest show each week, simply sign up for the show newsletter on Let’s Talk Loyalty.com and I’ll send you the latest episode to your inbox every Thursday, or just head to your favorite podcast platform, find “Let’s Talk Loyalty” and subscribe. Now, of course I’d love your feedback and reviews and thanks again for supporting the show.