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Gamification Marketing: How to Increase Employee and Customer Engagement

Gamification Marketing: How to Increase Employee and Customer Engagement

Erika Blaney


Erika Blaney, Vice President, Marketing

Over the past few years, I’ve seen firsthand how marketing’s role has become increasingly strategic. In fact, recent research from IBM found that 63% of CEOs involve the CMO in formulating the organization’s overall business strategy –and that’s second only to the CFO (72%).  

Gamification MarketingBut as you would expect, with more responsibility comes more accountability–and more pressure to perform. Kathleen Schaub, Vice President, IDC CMO Advisory Service summed it up nicely. "CMOs must own the digital disruption of buyer experience for their companies. Those CMOs able to rise to the challenge will be provided more resources and given more power, while the unprepared will be replaced," she said.

And that’s precisely why I’ve also seen a growing number of companies turn to gamification as a tool to help improve marketing results. Marketers know gamification can have a tremendous impact on customer engagement. Now, more and more are realizing that it can be a powerful way to improve the customer experience, too.

After all, no one can deliver on your brand promise better than your front-line employees –and nothing can motivate those front-line employees better than a well-developed gamification platform.

How does it work?

When done right, gamification platforms combine interactive design, actionable data analytics and the latest research about universal human motivators, leveraging them to influence actions by users (whether those users are customers, employees or partners). And it’s not about meaningless trickery or empty contests for valueless points or badges – those mechanics alone won’t motivate anyone.  No, when you gamify a workplace environment the right way, you apply the same principles that have always inspired people—achievement, status and rewards, so that employees are motivated to attain certain goals –and you leverage the results to learn more about your audience and how actions shape results.  As a result, gamification can lead to real, measurable improvements to a wide range of key performance indicators (KPIs), including those most important to marketing success.

Here’s a great example:

One of Bunchball’s customers, RMH Franchise Corporation, operates more than 130 Applebee’s restaurants throughout the United States. By using a gamified employee website called “Bee Block,” RMH was able to impact its hourly workforce in a variety of different ways. For instance, after Bee Block was installed, engagement among hourly employees dramatically improved. Satisfaction and employee retention did, too. And perhaps most interesting of all, Bee Block actually helped Applebee’s wait staff and bartenders transform from “order-takers” to sellers –a change that could have a significant impact on revenue overall. Since Bee Block challenges can be updated in real-time and customized for every promotion –and every location –managers found they can motivate employees to sell more. (That’s music to any marketer’s ear!)

We’re seeing outcomes like these over and over again, and as a CMO, I know nothing motivates marketing teams like results. So, naturally, I can’t help but ask: Could your marketing strategy use that kind of a boost? How well are you influencing and motivating the employees that deliver your customer experience? Are you influencing and motivating them at all?

It may be time for you to push forward to a gamified platform, one where a data-driven approach can help you develop deeper, ongoing and more valuable engagement–with customers and employees.

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