Some of you may not know that I have a dirty secret. Some of you may know that I’ve decided to join, for a short fleeting moment, a group of people that others find … odd, or perhaps obsessed. I’ve decided, for one bleary eyed Sunday morning, to do a triathlon.
I know what you’re thinking. Lycra, sunglasses, cut to the hilt, chugging Gatorade, doing 100km practice runs, swimming across oceans and riding in volcano fields.
Well, you’d be wrong.
I’m doing the smallest triathlon you can do, so small that I actually wonder if I can wade out to the buoys rather than swim (I really hope so), so small that I fear it’s actually the category 8 year old kids do. You’ll see me crossing the line, then collapsing. Like a winner should.
Still, it’s a target.
And in the spirit of ‘training’ I’ve started using the Nike + app and online training tool. There are many more, possibly better training tools out there, but for me, this will do fine. Fancy graphics and a female voiceover motivates enough, as did the fun of buying new trainers for the little GPS thingy.
Using the system made me think about some of the customer experience lessons this little system taught me – I needed the distraction. Here are the 6 things I can come up with.
Its not about Nike or Apple
No doubt its branded NIKE, and incorporates your ipod or iphone, and that’s part of the reason why you buy it (perhaps the whole reason). But once you use it, it could be made by anyone (who can design a good UI that is) because all of a sudden its you who is driving every aspect – settings, content, data. The tool is merely an empty vessel that you fill with your data. It just works, pretty much out of the pack Adding a GPS transponder in your shoe is simple. Downloading and setting up the app is no worse than the better apps out there. And somehow, I was expecting some sort of link or calibration between the GPS unit and the iPhone, but no. You start a workout on the app, get running, and its captured. Whilst this is a fairly simple function compared to getting a new credit card or internet banking app to work, sometimes we need to keep it this simple.
It connects you to people like you
Yep the standard ‘social’ bit goes in here. But this isn’t the normal application of social that we’re used to. Many social ideas and models rely on the number of participants to correlate with the success of the model – Facebook a good example. But with Nike +, you can have 0 friends, 1 friend or 1000. It doesn’t exactly matter, as long as you go running. Motivation and competition are obvious benefits here. And you can find people who run like you do, as fast as you, near you, or even like the same music.
You set the perameters of success
Everyone has a different idea of what success looks like, what their goals are. So setting your objectives is easy (simple goals like number of kms, time running, etc) and of course can change over time, rather than being locked in. This means your program can respond to how lazy or motivated you are, or towards a specific goal (like a sodding triathlon)
It gets better the more you use it…
The more data you contribute, the more the system might learn about you. Understanding your best or worst times, where you run the best, what time of day, what conditions, what music you’re listening to, what music makes you run faster, all these things can help you create a better ‘athlete’ (use that term loosely folks)
And then Nike creates CRM gold!
Of course NIKE is currently harvesting all that data, and no doubt flogging to the record companies, back to Apple, who sell it back to NIKE and via the iTunes store. Something like that anyway. Again, Apple is creating an ecosystem that connects data, handphones, music, nike apparel, and the lifestyle around all of it.
In the end, it creates good, positive customer behavior
Any piece of gadgetry that captures my data, possibly for unscrupulous reasons (“if it’s free, you’re the product not the customer” someone once said), but gets me out running and getting fitter is fine for me. Means to an end and all that.