We’re in month 8 of the pandemic and there’s one thing we know for sure: we miss having fun and being close to our loved ones! We miss the hugs, the laughs, and the shoulders to lean on. But hopefully by now, we’ve also learned to cope.
My way of getting through this is playing games, either with my fiancé in our apartment, or virtually with our friends and family. It’s a full-on necessity at this point! How else am I supposed to forget about the virus for a moment, let loose, and connect with people over an activity?
Gamification is important during a pandemic because it’s a form of play, which becomes necessary for our mental health when our worlds have been turned upside down. “Play helps alleviate stress, allows us to express our true selves, helps unlock creative thinking, and provides a ‘safe space’ for collaboration. Collaboration, as well as creativity, are all important now when we need each other more than ever.”
Especially during these times, when we’re trying to distract ourselves from reality, socially distance or quarantine, and stay connected to our friends and family all at the same time, playfulness is crucial. But the playfulness that we desperately need to stay sane in our personal lives can also help B2B brands stay close to their prospects and customers.
“…as senior leaders elevate digital as a strategic priority, they can look to B2C companies and industries for inspiration.” And just like B2C consumers, B2B buyers actually want to learn about a potential vendor through fun, interactive experiences (even if they don’t think they do)!
The truth is that—regardless of how B2B buyers may say they’d prefer to learn about a company—playfulness is what makes everyone’s days brighter. And yes, that includes your B2B prospects! We can’t forget that they’re regular people adjusting to a pandemic, just like you and me.
So, don’t sleep on the B2B customer experience. Gamifying it means that prospects and customers will be left with a positive feeling about your brand. And leaving your prospects and customers with a positive feeling about your brand amid a global pandemic? That’s priceless.
Gamification in B2B Marketing
54% of B2B marketers say they get more value from events than any other form of marketing. But when in-person events aren’t an option (thanks Corona!), what’s a marketer to do? Gamification is a great alternative route to providing the value that in-person events are typically known for. Like an event, it fosters interaction and high levels of engagement.
“The main reason behind B2B brands embracing gamification is the incredible opportunity that it creates to monitor and measure engagement with the target audience… B2B marketers can leverage the sudden craze for games as part of an integrated campaign.”
Moreover, recent research shows that between now and 2025 “North America is expected to have the highest market share” for gamification in the field of marketing”, and it’s “projected to witness the highest incorporation of gamification systems in enterprise-level solutions”.
So instead of giving a prospect a spiel on why they should buy from your B2B company, try engaging with your prospects in a fun and playful way. Gamification might just make the sale for you! Keep B2B customers coming back with these gamification ideas:
- Simple games like trivia, or more complex games like a scavenger hunt via geolocation-enabled app
- Weave gamification/ interactivity into emails to boost response rates on UGC (user-generated content) campaign
- Interactive email elements that drive engagement
- Animated buttons and CTAs
- Rollover effects to showcase products
- Interactive product image carousels controlled by the email recipient
- Accordion features to make long-form emails more compact
- Surveys, polls, and UGIC (user-generated interactive content)
As a marketer, it’s hard to create and maintain a thriving B2B brand community. The solution is to gamify customer-facing content. This will attract leads while also retaining the brand community through more engaging experiences.
The B2B gamification strategies listed above are game-changers, but don’t take it from me—take it from organizations that have implemented this trend in interactive marketing and never looked back:
- One of the earlier success stories comes from 2009, when IBM’s Innov8 platform “gamified the training process and became an instant hit within a few days of going live… For IBM, Innov8 was the top lead generator.”
- “For B2B companies, such as Oracle, Cisco, and Salesforce, gamification has emerged as a key element in their consumerization of the enterprise strategy.”
“These organizations are attracted by gamification’s ability to raise engagement and loyalty, measured in time, on-site, repeat visits, and viral distribution by an average of 30%. Apart from engagement, gamification’s revenue effects are also impressive. American multinational software company, Autodesk raised its trial usage by 40% and conversion rates by 15% while Extraco Bank raised its customer acquisitions by 700%.”
How Gamification Fits into the Big Picture
B2B organizations should treat gamification as a long-term strategy that undergoes frequent optimizations to ensure the marketing remains relevant. Marketers should aim to implement gamification across multiple channels to engage each prospect or customer in a fluid, all-encompassing experience.
Has your B2B brand already implemented email automation for lead generation? Want to both attract prospects and retain customers in a uniquely engaging way? It sounds like you’re ready to gamify your B2B marketing and CX strategy.
So, get your gaming on! And don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions or insights.