Gamification Is Not What You Think It Is

/ 10 June 2020

In fact, it has very little to do with playing games.  It is one of the few purpose-built technologies that addresses the historic challenge of maximizing customer engagement, and the newer challenges posed by expanding data privacy legislation, and Google’s announcement to end the use of 3rd party cookies.  With many retailers reporting year-over-year customer attrition rates of 65% to 85%, and more than 80% of their email subscriber bases never clicking on a single email, the scale of missed opportunities is staggering.  Improving performance in these areas, even by a few percentage points, can mean millions of dollars in incremental revenue.  To that end, gamification technology provides a wide variety of interactive experiences that help brands to:

  • Earn Data: Collect data from an individual in a transparent manner
  • Improve Relevancy: Customize and orchestrate the cross-channel customer experience with a diverse set of reasons to engage
  • Build Stronger Relationships: Create valuable moments with the brand that go beyond constant hard sell approach
  • Listen to Customers: Build a knowledge base that empowers them to market more effectively and fulfil their brand promises

Why This Matters to Marketers

Many brands struggle to get prospects to their first purchase, have high customer attrition rates, and mistake discounting for relationship building.  With the ability to build long-term relationships being so critical to growing revenue and keeping customers satisfied, brands need to create more compelling reasons to engage which is where gamification comes into play.

Gamification is a framework of dynamic customer experiences that provides brands with the ability to build nuanced and goal-oriented customer journeys.  Customer journeys that balance relationship building and relevant offer tactics empower prospects and customers to engage with the brand how, when, and where they want.  The concept of providing relevant customer experiences is not new; but instead of a disjointed set of activities that require marketers to cobble together the disparate elements, structured gamification technology centralizes control that enables the creation of consistent customer experiences with insights shared throughout a brand’s digital ecosystem.  The end results are mutually beneficial, longer lasting, and more profitable relationships.

There are a lot of hand raisers who never engage, and a lot of engagers who never convert.  For most brands, this number is massive enough to fundamentally change the trajectory of their business if they could just tap into it.  Instead of relying on the constant barrage of hard selling “buy now” messages, providing a broader mix of reasons to engage is more effective at reaching those hard to engage audiences.  It is also a better way to truly understand how your customers’ needs, wants, and desires differ.  Coupled with being able to engage when, where, and how a customer or prospect wants, means a brand will squander fewer of their opportunities.

Pressure is increasing for brands to find alternative ways to acquire customer data.  Forward thinking brands have already started doing this, reducing their reliance on 3rd party cookies that are being phased out, and data aggregators like Acxiom, which increasingly must allow consumers to opt-out of having their data sold.  While “preference centers” are the foundation of this type of data collection, gamification tools allow for progressive data capture that evolves with the brand and customers’ relationship.

Is Gamification Right for Your Brand?

The questions below are ones every marketer should already be able to answer.  If you feel like your answers are not what you want them to be, then it is time to consider how gamification can help.

  • What % of your customers never engage with your communications?
  • What % of your prospects never make a first purchase?
  • How many customers are “one and done”?
  • Is what you know about prospects and customers applied across all channels where they can engage with your brand?
  • Are prospect and customer experiences consistent and tailored to their unique needs and preferences?
  • Are you collecting data directly from your customers or are you solely reliant on 3rd party data aggregators?
  • Are your strategies and tactics designed to lead to specific outcomes such as cross-channel engagement, engagement with relationship building content, increased purchase frequency, a higher AOV, brand advocacy, and loyalty?

Yes, gamification does include games, but there are also mechanisms for collecting data, app downloads, content interaction, and other mechanisms that provide valuable ways for customers to engage with brands that create real relationships and real revenue growth.


About the Author

Marc Shull, Chief Consultant at Marketing IQ
Marc Shull
Chief Consultant
Marketing IQ

“I’m excited to be working with 3radical because there is so much untapped opportunity with brands, and 3radical is taking that challenge head-on.  The ability to understand consumer behavior at a granular level with a platform that improves engagement throughout the customer journey gives marketers a real opportunity to build more relevant experiences that lead to stronger and longer lasting customer relationships.”

Marc founded Marketing IQ in 2009.  Best known for bringing a clear vision to client marketing challenges, Marc joins together the best of marketing’s left-brained analytics and insights with right-brained creative and strategy to develop highly effective marketing solutions.  Over the last 20+ years, Marc has worked with businesses ranging from regional non-profits to large multi-national corporations across a diverse set of industries including Visa, Party City, Aetna, Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, General Mills, Miller Coors, P&G, eBay, Intel, Prudential Capital Group, Polska Grupa Farmaceutyczna, Domino’s, Safeway, and Wal-Mart.

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