[WATCH] The importance of a marketing gamification strategy – AGS Europe
In an AGS Europe 2021 panel which was held in Malta, the moderator Wesley Ellul, Founder of Quizando, and the panelists Lee-Ann Johnstone, CEO at AffiliateINSIDER, Melinda Jacobs, Founder of SubAtomic, and Dean Akinjobi, CEO/Owner of Football Media discuss “The importance of a marketing gamification strategy”.
Ellul starts this panel by saying that they shall be covering what marketing gamification strategy is and how it can help your business grow.
Johnstone says that gamification evolves “around customer engagement, customer connection, and actually making sure that you are providing your customers with opportunities to become more loyal to your brand”. She adds that as a company you need to “have a clear strategy and KPIs of why you are using gamification”. Gamification is not only used for acquisition or retention but also for customer loyalty. She says that in her opinion gamification is “very undervalued in the affiliate space” as we tend not speak about how we can do “gamification to keep our affiliates engaged with us”. She would “like to see more operators use gamification in a creative way to engage partners”. Moreover, it would be really interesting “if brands could find ways to allow their influencers to actually create gamification with their audiences”.
Ellul asks Jacobs where are the key strong points where she wants to introduce gamification. She says that “gamification, isn’t just a one-off product or a plug and play thing; it’s really a design process. It’s a way of thinking about something and many times a willingness to use play to try to educate people, or increase engagement or understanding of something”. When companies start looking into gamification, they need to know why they want to use it and what behavior they want to see in people.
Ellul now asks Akinjobi whether “gamification in the football world has come into play in [his] marketing”. He says that gamification is huge within football and that during the last EUROs they had a number of brands with whom they were working on gamification strategies. He adds that within the football industry it is important to look at the IPs and combine “games with using rights for players, using rights to have tickets”. The objective, he says, should be to retain that data to be able to cross sell it or upsell that user even after the event; this is long-term thinking.
Ellul agrees with Akinjobi and asks whether you first find the game and fit it into your strategy or the other way round. Jacobs says that you need to start with the strategy. She adds that gamification is a methodology and you need to have a co-created space where you communicate with the users and the users communicate back with you. The game is a “relationship between brand and customer”. Akinjobi agrees that it is important to start off with the strategy and to have a collective goal of what you want to achieve with that game; only then do you create the game.
Ellul says that he’s been involved in games creation with a million features and which cost a lot of money. Johnstone says that she is a “massive fan of KISS; keep it simple, stupid”. The more complicated it is, the less you achieve because you end up with “too much data [and] you don’t really know what it was supposed to do in the first place; and it complicates it for the client too”. It is important to have a strategy and the simpler it is, the more successful it becomes.
Follow the whole panel discussion here:
Ellul asks how to say no to those clients who want complicated games. Jacobs says that you need to get the clients back to their strategy, to their goal. She adds that she always does an objective behavior workshop to find out the real objectives “and make sure that it’s not things like daily login”. When you have a clear goal in mind, you can prioritize and that is what she wants from her clients. Akinjobi adds that telling the client how to keep it simple is important but the most important thing is to guide the client in the right way; asking them about their objectives and what they want to achieve. It is good to give examples outside the industry such as Candy Crush or the FIFA Ultimate Team which is so “successful because they actually have core objectives and it’s very easy for a user to play; it just seems seamless”. It is important to keep it simple to achieve things.
Johnstone says that before getting “into gamification, you should understand your own USP’s intimately, because if you’re trying to copy somebody else’s campaign […] it doesn’t mean that your programs will come out the same”. She adds that “the key thing is understanding your key USPs as a business; think about what you want the gamification to do for you, and then go to the plan and figure out what’s going to work best for you”.
Ellul gives a case scenario of him being a brand manager who would like to include gamification into his business. He asks how he can convince his team to get gamification in the process, what go-to-point can he use. Johnstone says that if gamification can fix the problems that are in his business, he should be able to convince the rest of the team. Jacobs agrees with her because in this way gamification won’t be there because everyone has it but because it is a needed tool. Akinjobi agrees with them but also adds that ultimately “it’s about leaning into the future and not being kind of left behind”. You can do a soft launch to test and from it you will learn; learning is key.
Ellul asks whether gamification is always positive to which Johnstone and Jacobs agree because even if it fails, you would still have learnt from it. He then asks if gamification works in the B2B space to which Johnstone agrees. He then asks for examples of where they implemented gamification and the results were amazing. Johnstone says that from her perspective, an affiliate one, “a good old-fashioned leaderboard” has always worked; keep it simple. Jacobs mentions working for a finance company on a complex pension system where they used gamification to help people understand better. Akinjobi mentions working with a casino product who had a sponsorship with a Premier League club and the fans could virtually play against their favorite players; initially for free. This campaign generated so much ROI that it actually paid for the sponsorship.
Ellul says that when he was building his platform, he found that when they were using gamification for customer acquisition and on social networks, those customers were engaged up to three times more. Jacobs says that whenever you have an interactive experience you will have higher levels of engagement. Johnstone says that from her experience, it is not about the engagement but about the experience and how rememberable it is; if you remember positively that first experience you will want to go back to it. Akinjobi agrees with Jacobs that engagement and social elements are key. You need to create an experience through which you will be part of someone’s time.
Ellul gives another case scenario: They launched a gamification strategy which brought good KPIs. He asks whether it is ideal to repeat it the following week. Johnstone says that if that campaign worked then yes you can reuse it for a different region or for a different segment but ideally it shouldn’t be so close. Jacobs agrees that it is fine to reuse; however, if the end goal is a frequent goal, maybe it would be more beneficial to redesign the platform to make it a more sustainable ongoing one. Akinjobi also agrees to reusing it; however, it depends on the actual circumstances. For example, if for the FIFA World Cup you used a very successful gamification plan, then you might be able to use aspects of it for Wimbledon; using the same technology but with a different skin.
To conclude, Ellul asks the panelists what they would like the audience to take away with them. Johnstone highlights the importance of having a clear strategy, otherwise you would be doing an expensive exercise which brings no results. Jacobs says that she agrees with her and she would also suggest not looking at gamification as a solution but as a tool to resolve the identified problem. Akinjobi adds that when setting objectives, you should always and immediately get key stakeholders onboard so as to avoid questions further along the line.
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