The gamification marketing industry reached $6.33 billion in 2019. This modern way of marketing has spread from youth marketing and innovative business to all industries. You have probably interacted with gamification marketing already and didn’t even know it. Every time you earned a tier or badge. Every time you accumulated points, spin a wheel, or participated in a poll. These are all gamification tactics that are designed to keep you entertained and engaged. Automotive businesses can benefit from adding gamification to their marketing strategy.
What Is Gamification?
The marketing strategy of gamification adds game-like elements to traditional marketing tactics. These elements motivate consumers to engage with a company more. People become motivated to do actions to earn points, badges, and other rewards. The more time consumers spend interacting with a brand, the more connected they become. This makes the consumer more likely to return to that business when they need something.
Gamification in the Auto Industry
Creating a loyalty program creates the opportunity to address many of the common challenges automotive businesses face.
Using gamification can address all of these issues. It allows your business to interact with your customers beyond when they come in for vehicle service. It gives you the chance to gather more information about your customers. Finally, you can influence their behavior beyond when they are in your brick-and-mortar locations.
Ah, the old loyalty program. You see everyone from credit card companies and hotel chains to grocery stores using them. They have been around for decades, with people priding themselves on being lifelong members of their favorite programs. There is a reason the loyalty program is still so heavily used. They work. The more a customer uses a business, the more rewards they earn. Businesses benefit from rewarding their most loyal customers because it produces better ROI to re-engage current/previous customers than find new ones.
The more a customer engages with a business, the higher the customer levels up in the tiers. There are multiple ways you can set up your tier program. One is to have customers level up based on purchases. For example, perhaps they increase in tiers based on the number of visits. Or perhaps they earn based on the total dollar amount spent. Another option is to earn points based on actions. For example, they open an email, refer a friend, or participate in polls. Make the first tier easy to achieve to give customers a sense of accomplishment. This encourages them to try for higher and more difficult-to-attain levels. With each tier, the perks should increase.
Turn your online traffic into in-person sales. Create code words that you share through a chosen channel. Customers then use that code word when they visit your brick-and-mortar store. When the code word gets used, the customer receives a perk. This rewards your followers for actively paying attention to your communications and updates. It also motivates them to act sooner than they otherwise would.
People like feeling a sense of accomplishment. A completion meter gives them this. Have customers create a profile on your business website or app. Then add a completion meter with stages. As customers complete the required actions, their completion meter slowly fills. With each task completed, they earn a comparable reward.
This strategy is useful for ensuring your customers stay engaged with your business. The completion meter encourages them to keep coming back. For example, vehicle owners could go anywhere to get their oil changed. However, they will bring their vehicles to you if they know they get a reward after reaching a threshold of a set number of oil changes.
Or perhaps a car dealership has a car care completion meter. Vehicle owners complete their meter when they bring their vehicles in for routine maintenance. This serves multiple purposes for a car dealership. The completion meter engages the customer and encourages them to bring their car to the dealership for all needs. The dealership’s service center benefits by seeing an increase in business. The dealership benefits by increasing profits and generating return business. Finally, the dealership benefits by ensuring that its customers’ vehicles get properly maintained. Not only does this improve the reliability reputation of its vehicles, but it also helps improve the vehicle trade-in quality when those same customers are ready for a new vehicle.
Adding a virtual badge program to your website costs you nothing. Once you have the badges created and programmed, it doesn’t cost you any more or less to reward customers with the badges. Customers earn badges based on set thresholds and action requirements. Once they earn the badge, they get displayed on the customer’s profile. This could earn them discounts or other rewards. For example, airlines may give you a free premium beverage or wi-fi on your flight. Hotels will give you free room upgrades or bottled water in your room. Here is one example of what the badges could look like.
Source: Odin Design Themes
This strategy doesn’t require you to add actual video or arcade games to your website. Instead, there are marketing game-like activities that you can add to your website. Instead of a static pop-up on your website, these require the visitor to take action. This triggers active engagement with your website instead of just passive viewing.
Spin to Win
This plugin would add a game of chance to your website. Fill the wheel with a variety of rewards. Then when someone visits your website, they enter their email address and spin the wheel. They then get whatever reward the wheel lands on.
If you have an automotive shop where people must wait for their car, why not give them something to do while they wait? A treasure hunt keeps them engaged and entertained while they wait for their car. This reduces customer frustration and the status checks communications that your service team must respond to. Create a treasure hunt where customers learn about your business while they complete the challenges. By the end, they will feel closer and more connected to your business. Should they successfully complete the scavenger hunt, they receive a reward.
Scratch to Win
Similar to the wheel spin game, scratch and reveal is another game of chance. Website visitors or app users will “scratch off” the digital cards. Users could win points that they save towards prizes. Then sprinkle in some large prizes to motivate people to return daily or weekly to do another scratch-off card.
If you aren’t comfortable running promotions or a rewards program throughout the year, then focus on seasonal promotions. These are short-term and easier to manage. The short-term nature of the promotion motivates customers to act, or they will miss out.
Quizzes and Polls
People love quizzes and polls. Make it fun and rewarding, and you can use this love to get valuable information from your customers. Create a daily or weekly poll for your customers to answer. Create a leaderboard that tracks who has participated the most. Award points each time someone participates. Customers can then accumulate those points to earn discounts or free items. Some of your poll questions can be fun and silly. While others could be more serious. This gives you an engaged customer base that can be a valuable source of information.
Implement Gamification Tactics for your Auto Business
It isn’t enough to talk at your customers and target market. This old-school way of approaching marketing is cliche. It doesn’t resonate and connect with modern consumers. Instead, gamification is the popular method of connecting with consumers. This encourages consumers to engage with a brand even when they aren’t making a purchase. The result is a customer base that feels more emotionally connected to a brand. They are more likely to use that business and not consider others because of this emotional connection.