Games are everywhere. So many aspects of our daily life are influenced by game mechanics that marketers recognize their seeds everywhere. Companies have used games for years, both for B2C and B2B strategies, with one big aim: create brand awareness to drive engagement. This is gamification: the science of applying game theory and dynamics in non-game contexts. Like any other science, you need to learn the rules of gamification to learn how to engage customers playing with them.
To fully understand the importance of gamification today, we need to go back in time: in 2011 Gartner announced that, by 2015, “more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes”. We already discussed about the importance of gamification for digital customer experience: a game layer is spreading across the world, influencing digital marketing strategies and replacing traditional loyalty marketing as the most effective tool.
In the Age of the Customer, loyalty programs are not enough to connect and engage with empowered customers, submerged in the ground noise made by traditional marketing. Here gamification enters the scene as the perfect way to promote awareness, engagement and brand loyalty. The secret of conversion, in a mobile scenario defined by games, is to play with your customer. Or, even better, to let your customer play with your brand and product.
Creating a game, though, is not enough to enhance the connection between the brand and the client. Gamification is not separated from the rest of your digital marketing actions; it must be included in an overall strategy and focused on your customer experience - as in the 4 inspiring gamification examples we outlined before.
What are the rules of gamification? You need to be well-aware that a good strategy should always:
Be results driven: gamification is not about building a fancy game. The game is a tool, not the final purpose of your plan. The target is producing increased awareness and improved performance for products, services and your brand as a whole.
Put emphasis on social: games and social networks are key to understand how the customer is evolving in a mobile ecosystem. Your actions should aim to the gamification of life, and never forget the power of “Feedback and Progress” dynamics.
Be behavior focused: as we have highlighted the importance of location based content, keep in mind to increase engagement with context-related content. That is even more true for games, with beacons, wearables, widgets, push notifications and tailored content for power users.
Promote UGC: the communication between brand and client is two-way. User generated content is essential to embed the customer into the experience, build a community and foster engagement.
Expand brand identity: when you create a game to connect with your customers - or employees - you are putting your own identity into play. Like any other marketing tactic, games narrate your specific system of meanings, shaped through the years, starting from archetypes to brand identity and storytelling.
- Change behavior in real life: every gamification strategy aims at increasing customer engagement. And there are many ways to get to the finish line. Gamification is not only about conversion and progression, but also about changing people’s lives, inspiring new behaviors in health, finance and even core beliefs. Games are serious business!
As practical advice: if you want to connect with your customers in a whole new way discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.