Gamification is one of the most interesting things that has occurred in various fields from HR to Customer Relationship Management since people have begun selling goods over the Internet.
This new approach opened a new door to customer behavior and habits. With the right execution, gamification can solve many problems, such as how to increase your customers’ engagement, and how to create a buzz in social networks about your brand.
We have prepared 5 tips for marketers, that will help you to create your own gamification strategy.
1. Gamification is not just a video game.
There are a lot of examples where marketers are trying to create a real game, and put it (for example) on their website. It works in another way.
One of the best definitions for Gamification is:
Gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.
Why and how does it work? Basically it works with people who are familiar with video and social games. They already know how bonus points work, and they can think in terms of rules and strategies (even if they’re simple) of video games.
It also works with people who don’t play video games, but who (for example) prefer visual information rather than text.
To summarize this point, gamification is when you add game mechanics (like bonus points, leaderboards, badges, competitions etc.) in your existing business processes. Gamification is not when you play Mario with your customers.
2. Sales is about money, Gamification is about fun.
Let’s assume your company has a bonus points based loyalty program. When you configure bonus points rules (e.g. how much bonus points your customer will receive for each $100 spent) you think about margin, ROI, retention, ARPU etc.
From this perspective your bonus program is a commercial offer for a customer, which is similar to an interest rate for bank’s clients.
Gamification is an opposite point of this view, gamification is an approach where you think about customers’ personal experience.
Let’s say customers get bonus points not only for a future discount, but also because one of the top 10 customers receives maximum bonus points at the end of the month, and can win a free Hawaii trip for 2 people.
Also, let’s say that customers can receive bonus points not only for purchases, but for inviting their friends as well. And for purchases of friends who were invited.
So, this is a basic approach when you add 1 game mechanic inside a process which already exists (for example in purchase process). People start to be involved in this process. And then you ask your customers to do more in exchange for bonus points and for a final goal.
3. If it’s not interesting to kill monsters than everything around it is not interesting too.
Gamification is an approach from games, and that means the rules that work in games also work in gamification.
So, let’s assume you play a video game. Will it be interesting for you to achieve bonus points and new statuses if the main process is boring, and you don’t want to do it at all? We hope that your answer is no.
The same thing with gamification. You can develop the best badges, the ideal visualisation etc., but if your customers don’t want to buy something in your store, then your work is useless.
It’s also another reason why video games are not a gamification. Your customers like to buy your products, and you have to think how to make this process more interesting for them.
4. Use all gamification tools to achieve your goals.
Traditional marketing is about how to understand people’s needs, and how to sell them what they need. From one side you have your customer’s needs, and from another side you have your ability to sell it. But people don’t play in video games because they need to, they play because they like to do it.
The same principle works in gamification. With game mechanics you can change your current business process in a way that customers like it.
Here are 3 real examples of how you can do it.
- Let’s say your customers achieve bonus points. They could redeem them for gifts. Each gift has their own cost in bonus points. So, the traditional approach looks like this:Gamification approach looks differently:
- Second one looks much simpler, and we know (by our own research) that it works much better. The key reason is that people don’t like to read, they like to watch.
- Let’s say you want to ask your customers to share information on social networks, and to invite their friends. Traditional approach works in this way: invite your friend and get 20% off for your next deal. It works fine, but your offer is limited (what’s the reason for me to invite more than one friend?).
Gamification approach is something like that: invite your friends and collaborate with them: if you together spend $5,000 you will get a $20 discount. Also, you can win in a monthly lottery. Your chances are higher with every friend invited.
- Let’s assume you want to inform your customers about a new collection via email. Traditional approach is just to subscribe people to your newsletters, and send them email with special offers once per week.
Gamification approach is something like this: when people subscribe to your newsletters you can inform them that in every email they can find a secret picture with a link for a special offer, plus extra bonus points for each click.
How does it works: people don’t want to buy anything right now, but they will open every email from you and click on this link in order to get their bonus points. Maybe it’s too expensive, but look at it from a different angle. You pay your customers for their attention, when they try to find this picture, they will view your email’s content.
So, this is how you can achieve your goals using game mechanics.
5. Analyze everything.
The key thing about the gaming industry is that it’s built around data. Companies like EA have an analytics department which designs their games, analyze gamers behaviors, etc.
Analytics is a key thing for them, they can predict how much customers will spend, what is their LTV, etc. Also, they can analyze where bottlenecks are, which stop gamers from going forward.
That means that all games are based on data.
In SailPlay Gamification we use the same tools that can show all the customer’s journeys, identify where the bottleneck is, and measure each interaction with your system.
We found that with the right data you can increase the value with gamification up to 2 to 10 times from the first version.