While Candy Crush has gone the way of MySpace and the Pokemon Go craze has tapered off, gaming still has a stronghold in our culture. And there are a lot of parallels between gaming and retail, both in technology use and the attention to the customer experience. Just as there are different gamers who need to be engaged in different ways, there are consumers who have different needs and expectations.
The mechanics of gaming can carry a lot of insight for marketers. Fundamentally, gaming is about keeping players (or in retail, your customers) active, engaged, returning and spending. It’s about meeting the expectations of everyone from your hardcore gamers (existing customers) to the more casual, recreational user (prospects or new customers).
At this point, both in gaming and in retail, mobile is table-stakes. Even if you don’t have an app, your website has to be optimized for mobile, period. This is your opportunity to be in the pocket or purse of your potential customers and deliver the information they’re looking for here and now. Ideally, they find what they’re looking for and have the opportunity to complete a transaction or transfer seamlessly to a cell call or brick-and-mortar for additional touches.
Apps are where we see existing customers taking the relationship to the next level. If I’m loyal enough to your brand and offers that I’m willing to download – and use – your app, we’re pretty tight, right? That doesn’t mean I won’t set foot in the store or visit your website from my laptop. And it doesn’t mean you should take me for granted with a dodgy app. frustration with your app may lead me to abandon your brand.
So how do you get there? It takes knowledge of how your audience is views your branding and marketing activation (and benchmarking your company’s capabilities against your competitors). It requires data, segmentation, and testing. What do you know about your audience? How unique is each segment? And what kind of void can your product or brand fill for them?
That knowledge can then inform your planning and messaging to make sure your offers are arriving on time and on target – and that you have the right platforms in place to host me when I respond.
If I’m new to your brand, for example, that communication should look different than what you’re sending to your super-users – but think about what you’re doing to cultivate me into a super-user. And consider the threshold at which you’re comfortable letting me churn because that will happen, too. You can’t catch ‘em all on the first touch, but you can certainly make sure the landing is sticky.