Behind The Scenes: Thoughts On Monetisation March 29, 2015
After some team discussions, I wrote an internal post aimed at clarifying fundamental values regarding monetisation of our products and how we want to engage with our customers. Here it is, in a slightly modified form.
First of all, it is crucial to note that our customers are parents. Our users are kids, but it is their parents who will, hopefully, pay us money. And so in my view, we should pursue monetisation at the parents’ level, meaning we need to garner the parents’ trust and provide real value to them.
There are several points I’d like to tackle on this subject:
- Foster a love of learning
- Provide value / solve a problem
- Foster loyalty and trust
- Be proud of our products and content
- Negative buying triggers
- The child/parent relationship
Foster A Love Of Learning
One of our high-level goals has always been to foster a love of learning. By this, we mean we want kids to become excited and enthusiastic about educational content and feel a sense of achievement by progressing with learning. This is a real benefit that we try to provide to our customers, the parents. This is what we are selling.We are promising them that we can foster a love of learning in their child. If we can achieve that, I believe parents will pay us money.
Provide Value / Solve A Problem
The best way to get money from our customers is to solve a problem that they are experiencing and/or provide value in other ways (games don’t always solve a particular problem but can of course have value). We shouldn’t look to fool them or “force” them into paying us money, as this will spoil the relationship between us and them and decrease any loyalty we may have built up. People have real pain points and will pay to have them resolved. In our case, we are solving the problem of a lack of interest in learning and we are providing valuable educational content.
Foster Loyalty And Trust
On the back of the above, I believe we should work hard to foster loyalty and trust from our customers. We can do this by being open about what we are selling and standing by our products. We should provide positive purchasing triggers and be reasonable about what is free and what costs. Engaging at the parents’ level brings us together with them in the common goal of trying to encourage their child to learn. In doing so, we are on their side and they are on ours. This should encourage them to make future purchases from us, as well as recommend our products to friends and family.
Be Proud Of Our Products And Content
We work hard on our products and we should be very proud of them. They have value and we should not be shy about putting a price on them. As such, we shouldn’t have to resort to stealthy or sneaky purchasing triggers.
Negative Purchasing Triggers
So, one thing I feel quite strongly about, based on the above, is the use of negative purchasing triggers. The “nag” factor can be powerful – and I’m not against using its power – but what we don’t want to do is cause a problem for a customer (the parent) and then claim to solve it. If the only motivation for a parent to pay us money is to placate their child, they’re not going to be very happy. Even if they succumb to the pressure, they are highly unlikely to use any of our other products or recommend us to friends. Targeting the child “while the parent isn’t looking” and tempting them with valueless, luxury purchases betrays any trust the parent may have had in us.
The Parent / Child Relationship
With child users and parent customers, we are in a unique position. This brings difficulties as well as opportunities. What we should not look to do is come between the child and parent and set them against each other. On the contrary, we should aim to bring the child and parent together – both enthusiastic about our products. The child depends on the parent and the parent wants to help the child. If we can provide a setting for mutual appreciation and enthusiasm, we are providing real value.2