Many businesses collect massive amounts of data every day, yet finding the best ways to transform this information into actionable insights is difficult. In certain instances, companies are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data available. Or, in other cases, companies struggle to differentiate relevant data from all other information.
Frederick Skoler, Director of Shop Your Way Engagement at Sears Holdings, examined gamification and what it means for today’s marketers during his keynote presentation to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2018 Retail & Consumer Goods Forum: Marketing to the Modern Consumer in Chicago on May 1. In his keynote presentation, “Introduction to Engagement Through Loyalty and Gamification,” Skoler described how marketers can leverage gamification technologies to build brand loyalty and drive business growth.
Data analysis can be challenging, but companies must be able to transform customer information into meaningful insights. Otherwise, businesses risk missing out on opportunities to engage with their target audiences. Worst of all, companies that cannot optimize the data at their disposal may lose customers to rivals.
“We’re collecting a lot of data, and big companies are really good at collecting data. But it’s using that data that is a challenge,” Skoler indicated. “Data gets a little bit overwhelming, and we need to figure out how to establish long-term relationships with our customers.”
Thanks to gamification, businesses can simultaneously retrieve customer data, learn about customers and engage with customers. Gamification also drives customer loyalty, as it gives customers the opportunity to earn rewards and other perks that they are unlikely to obtain elsewhere.
Gamification allows a business to drive “collective loyalty” too, according to Skoler. It ensures a company can bridge the gap with customers and connect with them across mobile devices, desktop computers and other state-of-the-art platforms. “The idea of collective loyalty … is something that is really important, and we need to be able to communicate that experience across all customer touchpoints,” Skoler pointed out.
Overcoming the Pitfalls
Although gamification is gaining popularity among businesses, few companies have been able to maximize its value. In fact, companies that fail to realize the full value of gamification risk providing customers with poor gaming experiences – something that may cause customers to shy away from a business in the years to come.
Providing customers with meaningful rewards is essential. If a company gives customers the opportunity to engage with its brand and earn meaningful rewards, it can boost the likelihood of fostering long-lasting customer partnerships.
“The rewards need to matter, and they need to matter as much as the energy that the customers are putting into your program,” Skoler noted. “If customers feel like they’re giving you more than you’re giving them, then what you do doesn’t really matter.”
To determine the rewards to provide via online games, a company first must learn about its clientele. By allocating time and resources to analyze its target audience, a business may be better equipped than ever before to provide its customers with unparalleled rewards.
In addition, a company must find out why customers may choose to engage with its brand over others. If a business understands customers’ expectations, it can tailor its gamification efforts accordingly.
A company also should maintain flexibility. Customer expectations frequently change, and a company that can modify its goals to keep pace with its target audience could differentiate itself from the competition. “You need to understand your products, your customers, your market position and where you want to be in five years,” Skoler said. “You need to be agile in your thinking … and you need to learn and change and figure out what you must do from the things that you can do.”
Gamification’s Impact on Business Objectives
If a business prioritizes the end user, it may be able to provide customers with fun, exciting gaming experiences. Meanwhile, these experiences can help a company generate trust and loyalty with its target audience, which may lead to revenue growth and customer retention over time.
With an effective gamification strategy, a company can provide its target audience with unique experiences. This strategy requires a company to innovate as it searches for ways to engage its target audience. If a company maintains an ongoing commitment to innovation, it could develop exceptional games that its customers enjoy and drive immediate and long-term business results.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done,” Skoler stated. “We really need to be thinking about where can we go … and consider alternative experiences to get what you want and to gamify.”
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