Traditional marketing is dead. Well, at least it almost is
In this super-fast, technologically-hyped-up modern age, businesses can no longer cast a wide net over their target audience via mass-marketing methods and then lie in wait for customers to swim into their clutches.
These days, marketing is customer-centric. That's right. They (not you) come first. Remember that little adage that says "the customer is always right"? It should really be updated to: "the customer is always the customer."
So to compete, no matter what service or product you provide, you have to go the extra step to show your target audience exactly how and why they'll benefit from doing business with you. Because, at the moment, there's about a billion or so other companies out there that are just as easily accessible with a click or a swipe. (And what's the bet that they're price-point competitive too?)
Standing out from the crowd
So to get potential customers to sit up and take notice of you, you have to prove to them that your enterprise is well and truly THE BEST for them (and their specific set of circumstances) and that it ticks all the right boxes.
How do you do it? By driving customer engagement.
BUT - "engagement" goes far, far beyond the number of people who viewed your last tweet, or the number of friend requests you've had on Facebook. Using social media is just one piece of the big marketing puzzle.
The biggest secret that's driving customer engagement (and ROI) through the roof these days?
Gamification is, well, exactly what it sounds like.
It takes the best elements of game playing (referred to as "game mechanics" in technical terms) and applies them to subject matter - or businesses - that would be generally considered "un-game-like" in nature.
Example: running a competition to choose a name for a new chocolate bar - the name with the most votes is the winner!
It's a marketing technique that takes dull or lacklustre campaigns and polishes them into sparkling, attractive (and most importantly, effective) lead-generating expeditions. It's no small wonder that it's a technique that is skyrocketing in its popularity.
Gamification drives customer engagement, brand awareness, and customer loyalty. Which are, of course, super important (and especially when it comes to inbound marketing). Gamification doesn't mean that a campaign will resemble a traditional game from start to finish.
In fact, the term is really quite flexible.
The how-to of gamification
Bascially, gamification means that all those bits and pieces that make games so much fun, such as -
- Completing challenges
- Gaining rewards
- Achieving set goals
- Obtaining feedback
- Improving status or ranking
Are taken out of their original context and are used, in whole or in part, to create a marketing campaign that encourages intense engagement from customers.
Because gamification taps into motivation.
The real benefits for businesses
By providing a positive feedback loop in which customers are rewarded for their interactions, potential customers are far more motivated to interact and engage with a brand or product.
Example: People who purchased a certain brand of care were given exclusive access to a members-only club that included Q-and-A forums, feedback forms, competitions (e.g. which car can save the most fuel?) and more. Those participants who completed certain tasks were rewarded with points that could be redeemed for cash off their next service, or at the local car detailer.
By receiving tangible benefits and additional "bonus" rewards when interacting with a company, customers can become far more attached to your brand and your mission. This attachment is also more likely to turn into long-term loyalty, long after the traditional excitement of a new purchase has worn off. The best part is, it also transforms customers into promoters of your enterprise; making the reach of your marketing campaign even wider.
Gamification: it's truly a win-win for businesses.