Skip to Content

From Trigger to Investment: Channeling Nir Eyal on Habit-Forming Client Behaviors

Work long enough, and you’ll run into all sorts. In my 30+ years on this treadmill, it’s become clear to me that clients are the most interesting sort of all. Doesn’t matter the industry: property management, journalism, legal publishing, or content marketing. Clients are a fascinating bunch.

In my current role, I refer to clients as “my audience.” They’re the ones who know best whether I’ve earned a repeat visit, a second read, a response to my call to action. They’re also the ones who’ve earned the right to stand and cheer, or pitch an over-ripened tomato at me. I’ve spent my professional life persuading my audience to share more of the former and less of the latter!

That’s precisely why I’m eager to meet Nir Eyal when he speaks at ITX Corp.’s Product Momentum: Beyond the Features conference, June 19-21. I’ve read his articles and listened to his Nir & Far podcast; he’s an easy read and listen.

Nir calmly directs traffic at the busy intersection of UX, behavioral economics, and neuroscience – what he calls “behavioral design.” It sounds kind of high-brow, but his approach helps me grasp these concepts at a much more fundamental level: how does my audience behave, and how do I insert my product offering into their behaviors in such a way as to make it habit-forming?

Nir’s work and research comes together in Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products, where he examines how technology persuades people to do new behaviors they’ve never done before. Think about Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Especially at a time in our history when we hold personal privacy so dear, we nonetheless openly share our images and insights with barely a second thought.

Remember when our parents told us about “stranger danger,” and to never share personal information on-line or get into a car with someone we don’t know. Yet who among us doesn’t have a ride share app on their phones? Uber, Lyft, and others are a manifestation of Nir’s research coming to life.

I want to know how that psychology works. What triggers the initial awareness and then transforms it into action? Then, what’s the best way for a product manager to reward that action, hopefully leading to a client’s regular, repeated investment? Finally, I want to know how to leverage technology to facilitate that process and compress the time between trigger and investment.

At ITX, the continuum of client behavior that Nir describes we refer to as The Journey Framework, a series of engagements in which clients leverage shared experiences with their end users to earn trust, gain loyalty, and trigger advocacy.

Advocacy – not profit – is the goal of every business. Or at least it should be. When users cross that “Advocacy threshold,” they are so inspired by your software product’s solution that they invest not only their financial capital, but their personal and organizational capital as well. They’re eager to share their experience with others, and encourage users to see for themselves. 

“In order for this business model to succeed,” says Nir, “it requires daily use. It requires unprompted user engagement. People need to want to come to this even without getting an email” to remind them. As long as we keep building products people want, Nir adds, the ones that truly improve their lives, we will not fail.

And we’ll be far more likely to see our audience stand and cheer.

Related Recommendations

Join me at the Product Momentum: Beyond the Features conference, and learn more from Nir Eyal.

Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal.

Gather more of Nir’s insights through his Nir & Far podcast and blog

Like what you see? Let’s talk now.

Reach Out