According to renowned management thinker Peter Drucker: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t change it.” So how can we improve engagement levels without first having a complete and comprehensive way of measuring them? Is it finally time to look beyond the regular metrics of recency, frequency and volume?
This was a point clearly understood by the audience at our recent gathering in central London to discuss the topic of engagement within the world of B2B subscriptions. Ironically, this was our first opportunity to engage in a real time physical sense with the Substribe community since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, and the discussion yielded some very interesting insights.
When three dimensions are not enough
…if we want to truly understand how customers derive value from our products and services, we need to dig deeper.”
At the heart of the discussion was the question of how to measure engagement. The RFV (recency/frequency/volume) metric is a long-time favourite of subscription-based businesses, but there is a growing feeling that it is not enough. These metrics provide a general, quantitative idea of the depth of engagement but if we want to truly understand how customers derive value from our products and services, we need to dig deeper. Indeed, there is a danger that they may drive the wrong course of action. If a user will only ever consume something on an infrequent basis, pushing them to use it more often is likely to disengage them. The consensus was that the following three dimensions should be considered as part of any engagement study:
Adding features is generally seen as a way to add value to a subscription product, so it is key to understand which features are being used. However, it was also noted that the availability of different features within a subscription product is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, if it can be identified that a certain feature will indeed make a customer’s life easier or give them greater value, it is certainly going to increase the stickiness of the subscription. But generally promoting the vast range of features available – in the hope that it will make your product appear stronger – may result in the customer simply noting how many features they don’t use. Why pay the full price when they are only using a fraction of the product?
Knowing how often customers use the product is essential – but to what intensity? The key metric could be the length of time spent each time they use it, and therefore the depth of value that is obtained from each touchpoint. The key is figuring out which actions are most valuable to a user – not necessarily just reading information, but perhaps also downloading or sharing it.
There also needs to be a qualitative assessment of engagement. Understanding the reasons for use is therefore key to a complete picture of engagement. What are the instances that trigger use? How is the service used? A useful exercise is to layer user personas onto quantitative data. How do different job functions from different types of organisation gain value from your product?
The key is figuring out which actions are most valuable to a user – not necessarily just reading information, but perhaps also downloading or sharing it.”
At Substribe, we consider this deep-dive assessment of engagement as an essential step if you want to develop a more successful subscription strategy. We use it as part of a proven methodology where we build quantitative and qualitative insights and track them consistently across ‘must-have’ scores and other sentiment measures in order to help our clients to deepen engagement, drive higher revenues and increase customer loyalty. But we start at the beginning because you can only understand the actions that you need to take if you know where you’re starting from. As the US statistician W. Edwards Deming said: “In God we trust. All others must bring data.” We couldn’t agree more.
Want to go beyond RFV and really get into the minds of your subscribers? Get in touch now – we’d love to help.