A successful relationship with channel partners sees an opportunity to increase revenue, accelerate growth, and enhance brand awareness. When tied with gamification, there is an additional 100-150% increase in engagement 1 driven by motivation, thereby boosting channel partner experience.
Gamification is a Marketing Darling; it definitely works!
The gamification landscape is an unstoppable industry. When integrated into channel marketing and promotional campaigns, gamification helps in encouraging channel partners to accomplish business objectives, boost brand loyalty, and build long-term relationships.
Using points, badges, leaderboards, and competitions in a channel promotion, and offering the target audience the right and relevant rewards elevates a trade promotion to its maximum success. More than 70% of companies that use sales gamification tools, reported an 11% to 50% increase in key sales performance metrics. 2
“70% of the world’s largest 2000 companies have introduced gamification to their businesses to some degree”. 3
However, several contributing factors can influence how successful a brand can be by using gamified tactics in its channel promotions.
1. The target audience
When it comes to channel marketing, there are two main audiences that a marketer needs to onboard and positively engage with, business owners and their new partners or vendors.
Demonstrating the benefits of gamification to channel partners early, reassures them that the brand is making their channel partner’s roles more commercially driven, whilst at the same time making their duties more interesting, engaging, and rewarding.
For example, gamification in retail and other industries offers the benefit of improved information retention. This is achieved by making monotonous and basic processes like training to be more enjoyable, which makes them memorable.
Additionally, many business owners prefer gamification in their trade promotions because it uplifts channel partners’ practical problem-solving skills, enables more efficient feedback, and gives them the chance to refine their adroitness with minimal risk involved.
2. Reasons to engage
“Gamification Dramatically Increases Engagement by 48%” 3
In theory, given the power of gamification, brands should engage with any channel activity that helps them improve their bottom line. In a trade loyalty program, it is important to add a layer of theatre and excitement through gamification in such a way that trade partners look forward to interacting and participating.
In today’s digital era, devising AI-backed gamified experiences drives the most engagement amongst staff. Therefore, when it comes to gamification in channel marketing, it is an art form. Nirvana is achieved when brands see commercial benefits first in a framework that will motivate and excite their channel partners to proactively participate in.
By creating the right themes and incorporating gamification, brands easily connect with their audience and can reward them instantly and in real-time. Along with that, a wide range of operational tasks is involved for channel partners. This includes capturing sales data, merchandising tasks, and most importantly being a brand advocate where it matters most, at the point of sale.
Using Gamification in Promotions
For instance, a cricket game was conceptualized by BigCity for a well-known multinational confectionery company where along with scoring runs in the game, consumers could also indulge in multiple engagement elements such as Trivia, Predict & Win, Referrals, and Digital Scorecards on a custom-built microsite. Instant and high-rider prizes were rewarded to consumers who participated in the gamified contest.
“Gamification in Retail Has Fuelled a 700% Boost in Customer Acquisitions” 3
In the retail world, gamification has significantly helped companies acquire and retain channel partners. Gamification tactics have increased channel loyalty by up to 30%. 3
But despite these impressive figures, the main barrier to entry is that partners either aren’t executing their programs to their full potential or they believe they are too challenging to implement. Many retailers mistakenly believe that they need to create a mobile app geared specifically toward gaming, which is a potentially costly and time-consuming process. However, this doesn’t need to be the case.
Communication in channel marketing programs is key, as it is the link that keeps the participant excited and involved in the program. Again, marketers need to make sure that they are communicating positive sales data to the business whilst also disseminating positive news and reward-based opportunities to the workforce.
It is important to be able to both communicate and reward participants at the same time. Marketers should constantly create and communicate campaigns within their channel marketing program to ensure that it is fresh and exciting both to brand loyalists and new business owners and their employees.
4. Mechanics, rewards & themes
The ability to tailor and theme gamification mechanics and rewards is paramount to driving long-term engagement.
By ensuring that all the elements work closely to deliver commercial gain for businesses and personal gain and involvement for staff, brands will be able to create an ecosystem of true loyalists. It does of course require a great deal of planning and commitment to ensure that channel partners value and participate in a gamified loyalty program above and beyond.
The key, therefore, is to ensure marketers are enrolling the right partners for the long term and more importantly making sure they know that the channel partners are just as committed to helping them grow.
Post the pandemic era, owners, trade partners, and consumers have all become much more digital-savvy natives, therefore the growth of gamification within channel marketing programs is only likely to increase.
The key to success will, however, rely on the following factors:
- Opportunity – Businesses and their employees will only have the bandwidth to be able to participate in a few channel marketing programs at any one time. Therefore, competition will continue to be fierce.
- Technology is the key – The real driver of these programs in the future will be the technology and the seamless UX journeys they deliver. Smart, tech-enabled campaigns that deliver theatre and engagement, would be beneficial and rewarding for all parties.
- Use of Simplicity – Simplicity of design, process, and outcomes coupled with the simplicity of tech to ensure more retailers embrace and better utilize these programs.
- The power of data – Understanding what data is important and usable rather than gathering data for data’s sake.
- Business process – The ability to drive the key business processes that drive bottom-line sales.
- Longevity – The ability to create a finely tuned program that is refreshingly exciting from an engagement point of view.
Gamification isn’t a one size fits all approach, but once marketers have designed the right gamification elements for their channel partners, it allows them to add a layer of interactivity that makes the latter feel involved and want to participate.
BigCity’s take on leveraging Gamification in Channel Marketing Programs
Based on insights from working with 400+ blue-chip brands, we have successfully executed over 6000+ campaigns in consumer promotions, loyalty programs, and rewards management whilst being empowered by relevant cutting-edge technology.
At BigCity, we have been deploying gamified promotions that are suitable for all business cases, right from ideation to execution, and reward fulfillment. Some of our notable gaming mechanisms include:
a) For sports-based promotions – devising prediction-based games, quizzes, or building theme-based games backed by AR for sports buffs
b) For festive promotions – integrating luck-based games like spin the wheel and slot machine to reward shoppers
c) For loyalty programs – using gamified earn-and-burn strategies or treasure hunt games to build long-term engagement
d) For instant-win promotions – implementing 2D games, puzzle games, or memory games to deliver instant gratification
On average, BigCity deploys more than 100 gamified promotions in a year. Our gaming suite consists of over 30 gamification genres based on desired behavioural outcomes. These gamified solutions are enjoyed by about 100 million consumers per year on average.
To discuss how we can assist you in creating a bespoke gamified channel marketing strategy, drop us a line at email@example.com.