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Marketing Insights: Gamification

December 2015

Financial Services Marketing Insights SeriesWhen you hear the word “gamification,” the picture that might come to mind is a 17-year-old playing video games in his parents’ basement. And while video games are indeed a huge part of youth culture, the concept of gamification — that is, the use of game dynamics and mechanics in non-game activities — is being applied in marketing to much wider audiences across a broad range of industries. As you’ll learn in this issue of Marketing Insights, gaming is actually part of mainstream culture: 73% of households play computer or video games; nearly half of gamers are women; and 29% of gamers are over the age of 50. More importantly, marketers’ interest in gamification strategies has been growing, with global spending estimated at $1.7B in 2015, projected to grow to $5.5B by 2018.

So what’s so great about gamification; what’s the big deal?

Well, there are a lot of things for marketers to like about this strategy, particularly in banking and wealth management. Perhaps the biggest and most important aspect is that gamification can help break through and subvert the barriers that prevent consumers from taking action. In financial services, common barriers include inertia/procrastination, lack of knowledge, fear of making a mistake, choice overload, and so on. Game dynamics get past these barriers by making engagement fun, intuitive, and even challenging. For example, the difficult and tedious task of budgeting becomes fun — possibly even addictive — when it’s a mobile app “game” that automatically tallies points and awards badges based on daily spending (see USAA Savings Coach App).

Also, games can appeal to a wide range of personality types, from consumers who are reward-driven, to those who are status-seeking, to those who just want to see that they are making progress toward a goal.

Gamification offers a number of other important benefits, including: targetability; the ability to capture data that can be used to enhance consumer insights or other marketing efforts; scalability; cost efficiency; the ability to help lower customer service costs; and more.

This Marketing Insights highlights some of the trends around gamification and provides many examples of gamification strategies in the financial services industry.

Key Insights:

  • Gamification is a top technology trend in the financial services industry. Leading financial firms are taking advantage of consumers’ increased interest in gaming and are seeing positive results from using game mechanics to make finance more fun.
  • Financial institutions are starting to see gamification as a path to online innovation. Innovative early adopters are embracing the concept of gamification to enhance and differentiate their offerings to the market.
  • Gamification helps financial institutions further engage with users. Based on the insightful data collected, gamification delivers unique experiences that help drive engagement and loyalty among consumers who are being transformed by the digital world.
  • Financial institutions are using gamification to migrate customers to online services. Financial institutions are leveraging gamification to eliminate barriers and motivate customers to migrate to online services, shifting customers from high-cost interactions to low-cost online services.
  • Gamification way to reach the highly profitable millennial segment. Searching for ways to reach millennials and address widespread financial illiteracy, financial institutions are finding that gamification is an easy way to deliver financial education in a fun and interactive way to keep millennials’ interest and attention.
  • Gamification provides a relatively cheap way for digital teams to increase consumer engagement. Digital teams are using gamification to increase online use, lower customer service costs, and drive product sales.
  • Mobility has played a transformational role in the financial services industry. Mobile apps, augmented reality, location services, and gamification have elevated the banking experience to a new level. 

Past Marketing Insights Reports

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