Gamification has risen in the last few years to become mainstream. Used originally by universities to aid research, the idea spread rapidly to marketing, and gamification is now used by companies across a diverse range of industries to engage customers and take some of the laborious boredom out of tasks like understanding investments, applying for insurance, or supplying personal information.
First forays into gamification by many companies – keen to leverage what was seen as an exciting new trend – understandably often verged on the gimmicky. Small-scale experiments were attempted and naturally many failed, if not in their execution then in their (lack of) impact. However, amongst the disappointments, some successes blossomed; with the passage of time and the lessening of hype, it feels as if a new level of maturity has been reached in gamification’s adoption.
Take, for example, its use in engaging a traditionally disinterested audience in pensions. Kingfisher, the group that owns brands like B&Q and Screwfix, developed a game called ‘Bolt to the Finish’ that educates staff about pensions as they play. The game delivers knowledge and information in an entertaining, accessible and easily comprehensible way to a workforce that would otherwise be tricky to motivate. The company has reported considerable success through its gamified approach, statistics showing a 20% increase in the number of staff choosing to save into their pension at the maximum contribution level, while 78% said the game had encouraged them to think about saving for the future.
This is just one example of behavioural change being profitably generated through a gamification strategy. However, despite the great strides made in gamification, success is still largely measured in solely customer-focused terms – in the change in their behaviour or attitudes. What if success could be evaluated using a more twin-focused approach, with equal emphasis given to customer and business attitudinal transformation and knowledge?
For instance, why shouldn’t we be using gamification not just to educate or motivate customers, but also to fuel decisioning? Customer engagement with a game could provide invaluable data and evidence to help us to segment them more effectively. Taking the pensions game discussed above, it would take very few tweaks to make it even more useful from a business point of view – for example by using metrics such as frequency of game play or access of educational material whilst playing to map out a new set of persona for the business, and better still, an understanding of how people move between these segments. Through comprehending how an audience is likely to move between persona segments, steps can be put in place to help to direct the flow in the most desirable way possible for the business; all behind the scenes, while customers continue to have fun playing the game and educating/motivating themselves as before.
Were a business to use gamification to fuel decisioning, the brand and the customer would be better informed, behaviour could be positively changed, and data more efficaciously collected. Gamification working hand-in-hand with the power of personalised marketing would consitute a real virtuous circle – at Comet, we are very keen to see where the idea could lead.
Jenni is a Senior Consultant for Comet’s UK Strategy and Insights Team and holds an MSc in Creative Advertising. She has led Customer Experience and Digital Strategy projects across a diverse range of industries, from media to travel to financial services, and past clients include the BBC, First Group, Lloyds Bank, Aegon and AXA. Comet projects include the implementation of decisioning in the B2B space at Standard Life and assisting Royal London with a testing strategy for the business. In her spare time, Jenni acts as a freelance writer and editor.
Rob is Engagement Lead at Royal Bank of Scotland. He is passionate about positive customer experiences and committed to using insight to drive value and effective ROI through the marketing process. He’s fanatical about driving better customer outcomes through the orchestration of data and technology. Rob has extensive cross-sector experience, including Financial Services, Travel and Tourism, FMCG and Media, with over 15 years working at the forefront of strategic communications consultancy and integrated marketing.