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Online Marketing : Loyalty Games?

Gamification for online marketing: what, why and how

August 2014 By Rajat Paharia
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Gamification is generating plenty of buzz right now. But with so much hype in the headlines, it's no surprise many marketers remain uncertain about exactly what gamification is and how they can use it to help improve their marketing campaigns. To help clear up the confusion, here are the fundamentals of gamification and an explanation why it can significantly improve your online marketing campaigns.

First, it's important to understand this: Gamification is not about games. Granted, when individuals interact with a gamified experience, they might be exposed to things like badges, points, levels and leaderboards. They might be rewarded for completing certain tasks, and they might even accumulate enough points to earn special perks, discounts, etc.

But these "trappings" don't define gamification. The definition of gamification is much more straightforward—it's simply about motivating people through data.

To put it in marketing terms, gamification engines capture the data your customers generate as they interact with you online and use that data to motivate high-value interactions that drive more sales, nurture loyalty and improve the customer experience.

It's Not About Games
Analysts estimate customer acquisition already costs four- to six-times more than customer retention—and the gap is bound to grow in the years ahead (opens as a PDF).

To be successful, marketers need to engage customers, retain their interest and drive true loyalty. But significant challenges stand in your way.

It's time to update traditional marketing strategies and push forward to a new generation of loyalty. Technological advances enable what we call "Loyalty 3.0," a way to drive deeper, ongoing relationships with your customers. Loyalty 3.0 requires three essential components: motivation, Big Data and gamification. By combining these three components, companies can nurture customer relationships, reward high-value interactions and ultimately drive more revenue for the business.

How Gamification Works
Entertainment companies like USA Network have been pioneers in this space. USA Network knew its detective comedy/drama "Psych" had a young, loyal fanbase active online. So the network amped-up engagement by creating "Club Psych," a digital loyalty program that spanned all of their online, as well as on-air content. Fans were encouraged to consume, create and share content, as well as compete and collaborate with fellow fans—and, all the while, the data stream was captured and analyzed to inform even higher levels of engagement. Viewership across all the content soared. Within one year, website traffic increased by 30 percent.

 
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