Most scratch-made home-cooked food tastes great while grocery store prepared food tastes just meh. I will blow a diet for a piece of homemade chocolate cake with homemade frosting while I will not even feel slightly compelled to try a grocery store cake. I object to the frosting. You see, I am a self-professed frosting scrapper-off-er. Store or factory-made frosting is too sugary, too thick, made with too much vegetable shortening. But homemade frosting is delicious. It is simple, just butter, cream, sugar, and vanilla. But don’t let the simplicity of the ingredients fool you – most homemade frosting recipes are not all that simple to make. It is not easy to get the right consistency, and homemade frosting is not always easy to spread, it can crust and crumb, or melt. Forget making decorative rose petals with this stuff!
Homemade frosting tastes exponentially better than grocery store frosting but making great tasting frosting is inconvenient, which is Seth Godin’s point when he talks about pizza and sushi. The best pizza and sushi are great because someone cared to use the right ingredients and take the time to do it right and all this work is inconvenient.
Manufacturers and chains take shortcuts for efficiency. One shortcut doesn’t change the outcome that much, but over time many shortcuts add up.
In this way, the food analogy is a lot like member engagement work. Both are inconvenient for the provider. The friction arises because, in general, the more inconvenient member engagement practices are for us, the more our members love them.
- Great customer service is inconvenient.
- Change and innovation are inconvenient.
- Building member engagement is inconvenient.
- Personally welcoming attendees is inconvenient.
- Thoughtfully deleting services make room for new services is inconvenient.
- Providing value-based member marketing is far more inconvenient than promotional marketing
- In my line of work qualitative, interview-based member research is waaaayyy more inconvenient than fielding a survey.
Every day we balance convenience with the engagement work that our members want.