Planica is bigger than Triglav

Tomaž LukmanInbound Marketing, Sales

You’re reading this after the three-day extravaganza in the Planica Valley has already ended, but I actually wrote it while the excitement before the ski flying weekend finale was reaching its climax. This is practically like a national holiday for Slovenians and includes all the activities that go with it. Luckily, there were no major incidents. So now it’s safe for me to reveal who the winner was: Stefan Kraft with his 250-meter-flight. 😉

As the big event was drawing closer, the popular game of predicting the (record) jump distances and the winner also started. At work, at home, at the cafe, with friends, family or coworkers, everyone bet on their own favorite or, more likely, the longest flight distance. Most of them did it for fun, the more enthusiastic ones did it for money, and a handful did it for the attractive prizes provided by the main sponsor.

Kraft won a medal at Planica, but Triglav Group won hundreds of new leads. So, who’s the true winner here? Click To Tweet

During this ski-jumping event, the insurance and finance company Triglav Group sponsored the Triglav Rekord 2017 contest, which was supported by a smart-phone app, in which participants could win prizes by predicting the distances of individual flights. That’s nothing special, one might say, a routine marketing practice and nothing more, but the fact that a company develops an app, does the coding, goes through all the certification procedures, and holds a contest for only three days of promotion—now that’s something else entirely. The biggest Slovenian insurance company can definitely afford to do it because, judging from the number of apps, it has sufficient resources, but nonetheless it has to gain some business benefit from it. In this case, the direct benefit was the leads that it can continue to target in the future (you had to sign up with your e-mail) and the users themselves will help promote it among their friends because the contest is so much more fun if you can compete against one another. Overall, the cost of winning new leads this way is definitely lower than through a conventional advertising campaign. Not to mention the enhancement to the brand’s profile.

Gamification as a customer engagement optimization tool

The expression “gamification” refers to a practice that has been used in marketing for quite some time now and roughly denotes the application of game or play elements to non-game contexts. It can take numerous forms, from vouchers and loyalty cards to collecting points, but the digital world provides even more possibilities. The techniques used allow awarding, assessing, and highlighting user achievements and making evaluations within a community.

Practically every consumer has already come across one form of gamification or another without even being aware of it. It experienced its biggest boom with the development of smart-phone apps with integrated programs for enhancing customer loyalty.

Grandma collects Mercator bonus points but her granddaughter collects Facebook likes. Click To Tweet

In a highly competitive business environment even a small difference can bring you a competitive advantage. If you use the right approach, gamification can also have long-term business benefits. It is an indispensable customer engagement tool that can be applied to all areas.

We use a gaming experience to lead customers into a real marketing campaign or even conversion. Along their purchase path, we can prompt them to download content, create their own profiles, share their personal data with us, or even purchase a product or service.

Loyalty card 2.0

Gamification is so popular because it combines a number of different trends in the consumer digital environment. You need to take these into account when you look for new ways of interacting with your customers:

  • The rapid increase in content and digital experience creates the need for constant adaptation and innovation in order to maintain user interest and increase sales;
  • Today’s online users are used to getting responses to their actions. Most of them don’t browse the internet just because of the rewards, but their existence forces them into repeating certain buying patterns in the future;
  • Online games are based on sociology and behavioral research, which makes them highly effective;
  • Loyalty programs used to reward purchases, whereas today they entail significantly more interaction with brands, either in the social media or corporate websites. Keeping track of and rewarding non-purchase related activities can lead to a long-term increase in customer engagement. This technique allows you to obtain more user-generated content, product reviews, and so on, which helps companies get to know their customers better;
  • The customers’ online activities can be monitored, analyzed, and processed, after which they can be used to direct users based on their previous choices;
  • Those that have already tried gamification observe significant changes in user behavior, such as an increase in the number of conversions, good reviews, and user-generated content. It is common to see as much as 20% growth, but some even report as much as 500%.

Adapt to your customers and their “playful” habits

Gamification extends into the customers’ user experience and so it has to be aligned across all of the brand’s tools, whether in social media, customer reviews, online catalogs, blogs, mobile apps, or other promotional activities. Don’t make the mistake, for example, of thinking that by giving out online user badges without a context you’re going to make anyone happy. This type of reward program will be short-term and may even make a few happy, but it won’t have any significant effect on user activities and you’re not going to achieve your long-term goals this way.

Buyers like to play. So play along with them, adapt to their rules, and you’ll both win. Click To Tweet

Understanding buyer personas and how they perceive games is key. The challenge is to find the tool that allows you to convey your message to the right person at the right time through the right channels (the internet, social media or cell phones) most effectively.

By setting the objectives of the game you lay the basis: group engagement, collecting leads, creating website traffic, qualifying the user database, announcing new products, or reactivating inactive customers. Then you need to accurately define your target audience. The more accurately you define it, the higher your share of opt-ins will be. By determining the target audience, you build the basic logic behind the “game”: rewards, expansion, and promotion. Only then do we select the type of the game (e.g., a quiz, a prize draw, e-training, a mobile app, and so on) and implement it into our campaign.

Games are at the forefront of modern marketing

Through gamification, companies enhance their marketing messages and optimize their resources and content. Then they win a loyal audience. By using an effective marketing strategy, they can then monitor their customers’ engagement with their brands. Gamification offers exposure to a specific brand in exchange for fun. The goal is to achieve maximum customer loyalty. The insurance company described above is definitely good at achieving this, and we can help you become good at it, too.

 

[email protected]

 

About the Author

Tomaž Lukman

Tomaž is a marketing success coach with extensive experience in the field of public relations and marketing activity support in international B2B and B2C companies. In his work at FrodX, he focuses on improving sales techniques and contents that lead to customers’ increased sales effectiveness and strengthen their relationship with buyers.