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Games People Play: How to Use Game Dynamics to Increase Customer Loyalty and Lifetime Value


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Presentation by Carol Morgan Cox. Originally given on April 6, 2011, at Orlando, Inc.'s Business Intelligence Series on Harnessing the Power of Technology to Boost Your Business.

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  • When I was thinking about this idea of how to get your business to stand out, I thought about my trip to gold souk in Dubai = not only are there over 400 shops in a very small area, but they are all selling the same thing. How to decide which one to go into? So, here’s the situation we’re in with the Internet age = How to increase brand recognition and sales in a competitive environment in which customers have access to lots of information and choices
  • Many available solutions, both online and offline/mobile. This is now the baseline/minimum to do. But, there’s one thing that’s missing from customer engagement.
  • You need to reward your customers for participation and engagement and create an emotional connection with your company. Why do this? There are 3 reason: increase brand loyalty; increase word of mouth/referrals; and increase repeat business.
  • Games we played as kids = Card games, board games, arcade games, scavenger hunts, sports. We played games because they were fun and gave us an opportunity to socialize with our friends. Also because we may have been competitive – like to see our name on the high score list. I’m excited about this topic because not only am I fascinated with game theory, but also because I like to play games. I’m competitive and like to win, but I also like to interact with others and learn from their strategies. I think most of us are – it’s part of human nature.
  • What is a game? = Rules + goals. Plus I like to add a third element = fun. Indebted to Gabe Zichermann who literally wrote the book, and a white paper, on this concept of gamification. Think of non-game activities like flying (frequent flyer programs); shopping (ShopKick mobile app); visiting places (Foursquare); even exercise (Nike+ iPod app).
  • It works = Research in neuromarketing:“The mere presence of point values influenced customer buying decisions” = more influenced by points than by price Customers will work towards the goal. Give them a coffee punch card that rewards them with a free coffee when full, and they will drink coffee more frequently as they approach a fully stamped card. Provide them with a head start (2 free punches out of 12) and they will complete the card even faster. Sources: http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/loyalty-programs-points.htm and http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/loyalty-programs-of-rats-and-men.htm
  • Average social gamer is a 43-year-old woman = http://gigaom.com/2010/02/17/average-social-gamer-is-a-43-year-old-woman/. All ages and demographics . Many of these people are your customers.
  • At this point, you may be thinking – games are not for my business, we’re B2B. Or, my customers would not go for this. That’s OK! You can also use game dynamics for your employees: Increase morale and interaction among employees Provide way for managers to see how employees were doing Improve employee performance and customer satisfaction
  • Game dynamics = why do people play games? More likely to come back to a site when you can see your progress (KhanAcademy.org example).
  • Game mechanics = how games work. EpicMix skiing application. Parallel Kingdom mobile game.
  • http://www.businessinsider.com/jetblue-finally-makes-facebook-places-useful-with-free-trueblue-points-2011-1 http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/14/rewardville-lets-you-earn-points-across-zyngas-ten-social-games/
  • Focus on your business model: Can game dynamics help to increase revenue and improve the customer experience? What are your specific goals? Analyze your customers: Demographics and interests Online and mobile usage 3. Start small, but think long-term Foursquare specials Facebook Website Mobile app The game should never “end” = keep your customers engaged and interested
  • Thank you! You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CivicLink . Go out and play a game!
  • Games People Play: How to Use Game Dynamics to Increase Customer Loyalty and Lifetime Value