Gamification as a B2B marketing strategy is an often overlooked and easily misunderstood resource in the marketer’s toolbelt because games are seen as childish tools unsuited to the world of marketing. Gamification need not become an obvious or overbearing addition to a marketing plan. Good gamification feels natural and keeps clients engaged with vendors without asking for too much time or information from the customer. An understanding of how gamification works and common gamification methods will help your marketing team in creating a gamification strategy that works for your B2B marketing strategy.
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What is Gamification
Gamification is the use of game-playing elements (such as point scoring, competition or reward earning) in marketing activities to encourage engagement, additional purchases, and brand loyalty. Nearly every interaction with a customer can be gamified to some degree in order to increase engagement and retention.
We see gamification in B2C marketing quite often. Responsive meters on social media profile creation pages and popular applications like Snapchat fostering competition between users for the longest consecutive usage streaks are just two examples of the power of gamification in B2C marketing. With a little creative thinking, methods similar to these can be easily applied to B2B marketing campaigns.
How Does Gamification Help B2B Marketing?
The aim of adding gamification to a marketing campaign is to create a naturally engaging environment for clients. This natural engagement lowers the barrier to entry and gives clients an intrinsic incentive to stick with your product or service over a competitor’s.
Creating intrinsic incentives (such as the desire to earn points that validate the effort put into filling a survey) via gamification along with the extrinsic incentives (like discounts or other external rewards) created by the benefits of using your company’s product results in a more resilient and engaged customer base. Intrinsic incentives also create a sense of familiarity and lend positive associations with your brand. B2B marketing still, at its heart, requires the positive opinions of an individual.
A meta-analysis of gamification’s effectiveness on customer engagement and the conversions that gamification produced from the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences found that gamification had a positive impact on marketing campaigns. They found that conversation and implementation of gamification in marketing has been skyrocketing since 2012 and has only continued growing. The study found that once gamification has been introduced into an environment, customers tend to engage with them in good faith, building positive associations with the gamified marketing campaign. The study removing the gamified aspects uniformly negatively impacts marketing and retention, meaning that any campaign to which gamified elements are introduced will continue to benefit from the inclusion of said elements for the lifetime of the campaign.
Examples of Gamification in B2B Marketing
The profile strength indicator on LinkedIn is one of LinkedIn’s strongest tools for extracting data from businesses and individuals using the site. The profile strength indicator is a simple meter that presides over the profile creation process.
As a member shares more and more of their personal data, the reward LinkedIn provides through this meter comes in the form of a higher potential for enriching or lucrative connections.
This profile strength indicator finds its utility in its simplicity. By encouraging users to willingly provide more information, LinkedIn gathers the maximum amount of data from each user. This transaction relies on the user’s intrinsic desire to satisfy the meter’s goal of 100% completion. The approach is much more effective than LinkedIn externally requesting this information with email campaigns that would easily be ignored. Gamification here works to facilitate an otherwise thorny process.
Customer Satisfaction Survey Rewards
PWC found that customers are willing to pay around 13% more for premium products if the company provides an excellent customer experience. This speaks to the indispensable nature of customer satisfaction surveys. These surveys, however, tend to be ignored by the people that would benefit from them the most.
By adding an incentive to customer satisfaction surveys, we drastically increase the likelihood that clients will provide feedback. According to this SurveyMonkey report, customers are more likely to engage with a survey if they can expect a reward upon completion, and among those that reported an increased likelihood of engagement, 94% reported that their incentivized survey answers would be honest and accurate.
These survey rewards create a positive feedback loop. The closer your business comes to the ideal customer experience, the more potential customers will become confirmed conversions, more conversions from happier customers lead to a higher cost ceiling, and more happy customers will lead to more useful data for future satisfaction surveys.
Qualified.com uses their own chatbot to prove the effectiveness of engaging customers as soon as they hit the landing page. Qualified’s chatbots engage with customers by greeting them, answering questions, and providing levity to the often tedious process of shopping online. Chatbots aren’t what we traditionally call a game, but they tick many of the same boxes that the definition of gamification requires. With a little personalization upon setup, a chatbox can become a reward for visiting a business’s site in itself.
Gamification via a chatbot is easy to achieve. Programming these bots with entertaining personalities is one of the simplest ways to create an engaging point of first contact with potential B2B connections. A welcoming bot that opens with a unique greeting each time the site is opened or presents new bits of trivia will easily become a welcome sight to returning potential customers.
Simple games can also be set up within these bots with rewards such as discounts or reward points, lowering the initial barrier to entry for new customers.
Gamification is a simple tool to deploy alongside any marketing effort. Its the final piece of a difficult marketing campaign puzzle. Marketing relies on engagement, and gamification has proven to increase conversion and engagement across the board. Look for creative ways to use a reward system to entice intrinsic, customer-lead engagement, and your business will find itself enjoying the benefits quite quickly.