Every marketer knows that the competition for consumers’ attention is fierce. Consumers are fickle with brand affinity and have more choices than ever, which presents a challenge for us marketers: how do we keep our customer base, let alone grow the average lifetime value? Here’s our answer: by crafting meaningful engagement and rewards that lead to loyalty we can depend on.
Professional association and analyst firm Loyalty360 stated recently that “creating engaging experiences that actualise emotional bonds – and drive customer loyalty – is one of the best marketing strategies brands can develop”. So, a marketer’s challenge today is to build emotional loyalty and make experiences that bring the brand closer to the consumer.
Recent research from McKinsey & Company shows that the Covid-19 pandemic is only amplifying brand blindness and brand switching. It found that, in the UK, 61% of consumers have changed stores, brands or the way they shop since the pandemic started, with an indication that consumers are likely to stick to these new-to-them brands post Covid.
What does this mean for you? That the time to act is now, that creating an attractive loyalty strategy through meaningful engagement and appropriate rewards is essential.
Getting to the heart of the matter
At the heart of marketing is building relationships, so it’s essential that we remember to highlight the humanness of each interaction. All day, every day our audience is served impersonal ads and meaningless messages in an effort to grab a few seconds of their attention; and requests for their time, money and/or data are constant, often with little or no value exchange for the consumer.
The simplest way to stand out is to offer value and engage on a human level. This way you will elicit the right reaction. Game mechanics such as setting a challenge, a competition, eliciting fun or providing rewards offer that possibility. This way you can craft positive and memorable experiences for your audiences.
If we get back to being creative and reaching our audience in a human and authentic way, we can start to rebuild sustained relationships and loyalty. You can make sure these interactions make consumers’ lives easier, save them time, offer value and delight them.
That’s what Aldi Denmark did when it created a game-based summer campaign. As a grocery retailer, the brand knew it was important to regularly engage its audience to remain top-of-mind. A survey on shopping habits shows that most shoppers (83%) visit between four and nine grocery chains within a year, so maximising consumer wallet share is critical.
Aldi Denmark used gamification to re-engage its audience. Promoting the campaign through its owned social media and offering a relevant prize, that of a big bag of Aldi ice cream, the campaign delivered outstanding results when measured by engagement, interaction and conversion (three out of four players filled out the form in order to be entered to win the prize).
HelloFresh is another company that uses gamification intelligently to drive customer engagement, repeat purchases and loyalty. To engage lapsed customers, HelloFresh ran a Christmas campaign and those who won either got a voucher code, or maybe they were lucky to win the ‘big’ prize of a gourmet box. The format worked well and generated the highest conversion metrics of the year.
As marketers, we need to constantly remind ourselves that consumers are in charge of how, where and when they engage with us. It’s our job to entice and excite our audiences not only to buy once, but to build long term relationships with us.
A highly effective way of doing this is through using game mechanics in our marketing. As demonstrated by the likes of Aldi and HelloFresh, it is a proven way to increase engagement, reactivate lapsed clients, enhance loyalty and ultimately drive revenue. Gamification can bring everyday business impact.
Richard Robinson is general manager of LeadFamly UK.