gamification and your engagement strategy

How to Gamify Your Customer Engagement Strategy

Each touchpoint should move the customer into a more personalized relationship with a brand, building trust, loyalty, and intrigue.

Back by popular demand! We’re showcasing the best of TheCustomer, featuring the most popular articles from the past quarter. This article was originally posted on April 21st, 2022.

Gamification techniques often prove more successful because they tap into an individual’s social and emotional values rather than simple financial gain.

It has never been clearer that for a brand to deliver an engaging customer journey, they must provide a compelling and personalized experience at every customer interaction. To collect the data needed to provide this experience effectively for each individual customer, brands must develop an Earned Data strategy. Earned Data is fully-consented data that can only be collected directly from customers through a consumer-defined value exchange with a brand. It goes far beyond clickstream, first-party data, or other “traditional”, less transparent data sources.

Through mutually beneficial value exchanges, brands can capture consumer data in an open and trust- based manner. From the consumer’s perspective, every stage of the customer journey needs to be seamlessly integrated into an ongoing relationship that builds upon previous conversations. It is from this basis that the concept of continuous engagement can come into its own.

The Concept of Continuous Engagement

When marketers are segmenting their audiences, they often take one singular moment to label each consumer. However, consumers are not static and cannot be fully defined based on a singular moment. They are individuals who have changing needs and evolving preferences. Continual engagement ensures that the conversation with each individual remains relevant and meaningful for a lifetime.

This shift to viewing consumers in terms of their lifetime value rather than the short-term ROI is at the heart of a continuous engagement strategy. It requires marketers to move beyond using transactional data as the sole model of consumer behavior and see the opportunities to strengthen the consumer relationship at every interaction. Each touchpoint should move the customer into a more personalized relationship with a brand, building trust, loyalty, and intrigue.

Building databases in this way enables the consumer to define the relationship between themselves and the brand to focus on the customer’s needs. It develops a two-way conversation and sets up mutually beneficial value exchanges that enable the customer to define how the journey unfolds.

Ultimately, consumers are looking for brand experiences that are relevant and personal. This is not something that will be discovered in a single survey or transaction, but rather by gaining a trusted relationship with consumers. That relationship is only achievable through ongoing, personalized, and dynamic interactions with individual consumers.

How to Achieve Continuous Engagement Through Gamification

Brands are increasingly seeing success by adding a game element to their customer interactions to provide a continuous engagement ethos with a customer-centric approach. Gamification is essentially introducing game mechanics into non-game environments. This doesn’t necessarily mean creating an actual game (although it can); it is simply taking game elements, such as point scoring or badge earning, and applying them to moments in the customer journey.

The dopamine hit when we achieve something plays a crucial role in learning through reinforcement and keeps consumers coming back for more. Gamification techniques often prove more successful because they tap into an individual’s social and emotional values rather than simple financial gain.

During gamified interactions, consumers can choose whether they want to opt-in, or not, and therefore have an element of control within the value exchange. With consumers in control, they can vocalize the most meaningful reward to them – an additional and valuable data point for the brand. In addition, consumers are encouraged by constant positive feedback to try again and repeat the engagement, all of which creates a positive emotional connection that often escapes a purely evidence-based loyalty scheme.

Three Gamification Considerations

  1. What are the customer data priorities?
    To commence an effective continuous engagement strategy, brands need to ensure a well-rounded view of their customers. Gamification can help incentivize consumers to provide the main gaps in a brand’s customer database. Building a game mechanic around the data required to provide a personalized experience will pay dividends in the long term. It is then possible to present a mutually beneficial exchange in which the customer will see the value in sharing their data. For example, a travel agent that knows which countries their customers intend to visit can deliver dynamic and relevant content suited to each individual’s travel interests. The consumer gets relevant information immediately and doesn’t have to waste time searching or scrolling.
  2. How can I incentivize the right audience?
    When it comes to data capture, the ‘quality over quantity’ approach is critical. Rather than broadcasting gamified activity to all customers and prospects, focus on audiences with the most to gain and, therefore, most likely to give you detailed insights. For example, if a restaurant brand was looking to understand their customer’s preferences and behaviors to encourage repeat visits. Promoting a gamified mechanic in-restaurant would further engage customers to provide this information, giving the brand relevant and actionable insights.
  3. How can you encourage repeat engagement?
    While the ‘21 days to create a habit’ theory may have been roundly disproven, the fact remains that repeat engagement is the route to changing user behavior. Marketers can achieve this by including an element of the game mechanic that encourages repeat engagement through extra opportunities or the promise of progressive rewards. For example, an advent calendar style of prize-giving or limiting competition to entries to one per day will encourage users to engage daily over an extended period.

Three Inspiring Examples

There are countless methods of using gamification to improve your customer experience. We’ve picked out three to give you some insight into what can be achieved with an innovative engagement tool

Intellectual challenges

Classic puzzles such as sudoku or word search are crowd-pleasers for those who like a brain teaser. Succeeding at one of these challenges creates a feel-good dopamine hit associated with the specific brand. Couple this with a competition mechanic that encourages repeat engagement, and you have the recipe for a highly engaging campaign.

Mediacorp’s TODAY Online was looking to understand the evolving readership preferences of its existing users when they selected 3radical’s Audience Engagement Platform, Voco. To celebrate TODAY’s 20th anniversary, a 4-week gamified campaign was created in which Today Online invited users to play a different game each week, available from Monday to Friday, 3 times a day. The first 20 winners from each day received a prize. By providing multiple chances to win, users were encouraged to return daily to TODAY Online and consume other content on the site.

By offering opportunities to play three times a day, Mediacorp could see when their users engaged with their content. And by delivering a value exchange to start the challenge, Mediacorp gained self-reported data to broaden its customer base.

Personalized prizes

Customers are increasingly expecting personalized service from the brands they trust, and it is increasingly proven they will share their data if they feel they are getting something in return. Understanding each customer’s needs and recommending specific products or services is at the heart of the digital consumer journey. Therefore, the critical issue for many brands is incentivizing customers to share their data in return for that personalized service.

3radical partnered with a global pet care company to fill in the gaps in its customer database, particularly pet owner and pet information. The goal was to be able to utilize this knowledge to deliver highly personalized and engaging consumer communications. To do this, an interactive, pet-themed ‘advent calendar’ was created – in return for completing an initial survey, consumers would access tailored rewards hidden behind each door on the calendar. Consumers were invited to return daily, over twelve days, to open calendar doors to reveal tailored prizes.

By presenting a clear value exchange at the outset, the pet care company was able to add known pet information to an additional 5% of its consumer base. In addition, 63% of consumers for whom survey completion was not mandatory, still chose to respond, illustrating that they viewed answering the survey to access rewards as a fair value exchange. As consumers were able to vocalize the most relevant prize, click-through rates were 3x higher than typical sector communications.

A Game of Chance

On the other side of tailored prizes are randomized rewards. With no skill involved but increased elements of mystery and surprise, this activation still presents a compelling incentive for customers to provide self-reported data. Similar to the intellectual challenges, coupling this with a repeat engagement mechanic will encourage user behavior change and increase retention and loyalty.

This was the campaign strategy when CDG’s brand Bella Italia sought a greater understanding of their customer’s tastes, preferences, and behaviors – using 3radial’s Voco to create a ‘Scratch and Win’ game on Bella Italia’s website. Customers were offered daily plays of the scratch card game for the chance to win a choice of prize in return for a single self-reported data point. The data was collected progressively, i.e., each day that the user wanted another go at the scratch card game, they had to provide an additional data point.

By limiting the number of scratch card ‘tries’ per day, customers were motivated to increase their repeat engagement with Bella Italia and regularly provide self-reported data. Collecting the data progressively encouraged higher data collection rates and prolonged engagement. And giving users a choice of prize allowed them to vocalize their desired reward, which was a valuable additional data point.

Achieving Lifetime Value with Continuous Engagement and Gamification

Consumers are not static; their needs and opinions change; and brands that can adapt and view their customers in terms of lifetime value are the road to success. Achieving lifetime value requires a trust- based relationship between consumer and brand, alongside an effective continuous engagement strategy. This is where gamification comes in – more and more brands are seeing success when bringing gamification into an ongoing customer experience strategy. By developing richer and more compelling experiences, brands develop more significant relationships with their customers and richer data sets to inform their marketing strategies.

3radical gamification report3radical is a consumer data acquisition and audience engagement solutions provider. We help organizations listen to their consumers and adapt experiences accordingly by giving them the ability to earn consented data directly from their audience. Critically, this fosters humanized interactions through choice-driven journeys provided by 3radical’s gamification software.

We use game science and comprehensive strategic services to shape and support the customer experience by creating a fair value exchange delivered directly to each recipient and optimized by data and real-time decisioning. Every progressive exchange results in consented, Earned Data provided by the consumer in a transparent, motivating, and mutually beneficial environment, enticing consumers to share and engage more. 3radical operates globally through North America, the U.K., and Asia Pac and services major brands across various industries.

Contact 3radical to learn more, or book an informal chat about supporting your engagement strategy with targeted experiences to identified your best audience segments.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

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