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#BizTrends2024: Jacques Du Bruyn - Gamification in digital marketing

Brands leveraging gamification is nothing new – but now, more than ever, with so much clutter out there, finding different ways of engaging with customers is becoming more and more important.
Image supplied. Jacques Du Bruyn, Flume MD says increased use of gamification in digital marketing, can provide data and insights for an organisation
Image supplied. Jacques Du Bruyn, Flume MD says increased use of gamification in digital marketing, can provide data and insights for an organisation

Customers are also increasingly engaging in that way, so the next step for businesses is to use the data and insights gained from that engagement to improve the way they reach and engage with their customers to build stronger relationships.

In terms of brand recognition and brand recall, any company should aim to move from the former to the latter because that shows that consumers truly understand and appreciate the brand and prefer to be associated with it, rather than simply recognising a logo or tagline.

Gamification in reality

A global footwear brand approached us to build a game that would create awareness around the opening of a new store in a mall in Australia.

Our brief was to increase foot traffic and generate excitement. It’s not hard to create excitement around a cool brand, but new stores are launching all the time and we had to create awareness without a physical space in operation yet.

We created a basic tile shuffle game where consumers would walk around the mall in which the store was set to open and scan QR codes to unlock the game.

The quicker they were able to solve the puzzle, the larger the prize voucher they could win – from discounts to free pairs of shoes – that they could redeem in the store when it opened.

It was a basic way of creating engagement but it also showed the brand how committed customers were to engaging with them and provided a sample of the scale of traffic they could expect in the store when it opened, which provided a host of logistical insights.

Gamification doesn’t require the design and implementation of an immersive 3D ‘unreal engine’ game.

Often, the simpler the game, the better – a ‘spin and win’ can drive engagement and deliver insights as well if it’s structured, planned and executed well.

Unprecedented insight

Gamification builds data for organisations, giving them the details, of whoever is engaging with the gamified experience and delivering insights about so many facets – from brand education to engagement with a product.

The data volume can be vast – but it’s also meaningful if it can’t be interpreted properly to deliver valuable insights.

The data about the Customer Experience (CX) can be used to shape the company’s digital marketing – it’s not called CRM anymore because the failure rate has made the acronym a four-letter word.

CE is now what brands and organisations use to manage the marketing, sales, fulfilment and retention experiences.

Specifically in the marketing space, the data gained from the gamification engagement show the ‘how’ – how to sell, how to retain and how to up-sell or cross-sell.

Using this kind of data is a lifeline for content marketing, which has been losing traction because of all the clutter out there.

Content is great and someone who reads it may be hooked, but gamification delivers actual engagement that shares the messaging in a much more meaningful way that leads consumers to consider the brand for a longer period.

Gaming isn’t playing

Brands will also be looking at how they can bring their products and services into the world of gaming.

This is different from gamification.

Gaming – e-sports to some – is on the rise and there is plenty of opportunity for everything from advertising to product placement, sponsoring gaming teams and the like.

Gaming isn’t something teenagers do – it’s a multi-million dollar globally streamed and televised sport that cuts across age, race, demographics, geography and gender. It’s quite universal, much like music – everyone loves playing a game of some sort.

Almost any experience can be gamified – but understanding the data that engagement delivers and using it to help shape the rest of the CX is going to be key in 2024 and beyond.

About Jacques Du Bruyn

Jacques Du Bruyn is the Managing Director of Flume, a full-service Digital & PR Marketing Agency based in Johannesburg and Cape Town. He is a UJ and Vega School graduate with an honours degree in Brand Strategy.
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