Be game – consumers are primed to play

An insane frenzy of endless running and jumping is the last thing the insurance purchase journey should resemble, but gamification has a vital role to play in the quest for sustainable customer engagement.

Behind the insane frenzy of mobile gaming lie sophisticated techniques designed to influence customers, drive brand affinity and nurture loyalty. Gamification, the application of the same principles that inspire people to play games – achievements, status, rewards – to motivate them to accomplish high-value actions for your company, is big news in a range of industries.

An insane frenzy of endless running and jumping is the last thing the insurance purchase journey should resemble.
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Faced with similar customer engagement challenges, the insurance sector is defying its reputation for caution and jumping on the bandwagon, too. And with good reason.

The [spending] power of play
As pervasive and persuasive as films, music and books, gaming has come a long way since Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. As the Entertainment Software Association notes: “In barely more than a generation, video games have transformed from a diversion for the few into a mass medium, helping people live, learn, work, and of course, play.”

Gamers have changed too – or rather they haven’t. Today’s video games are enjoyed by players of all ages and backgrounds. In fact, the average age of a gamer is 34 – which means first generation gamers are now parents enjoying serious gaming too. Indeed, under 18s represent only one quarter of the world’s game players, with 49% of gamers in the 18-49 category. And if you are worried that gamification will leave half the population cold, fear not – 48% of gamers are female.

That’s a lot of consumers primed to play in the target audience of insurers globally.

Nudging – the name of the game
In a world which has moved from a transactional to a relationship-based economy, the aim of the game is no longer simply providing product. Customer engagement is the new loyalty, and insurers – under pressure to differentiate themselves by providing additional services which add value to customers – are focused on driving deeper, ongoing relationships which go beyond a yearly renewal or a claim.

In order to reach and engage consumers, insurers need to speak their language using their technology-based solutions. Taking full advantage of these digital platforms, Wellness propositions are leading the way. Predicated on the theory that customers can be nudged into desirable behaviours, these initiatives are helping insurers reach, engage and retain customers through the principles of gamification.

One of the leading proponents of Wellness is Vitality, whose proposition is a clear demonstration of the nudge theory in action, with rewards and discounts tuned to encourage and reward healthier behaviour.

Vitality’s effectiveness is due in no small part to the reach and relevance of its rewards: by targeting the desire for self-improvement and working within the customer’s existing ecosystem of loyalty and reward schemes – from the gym to grocery shopping – Vitality generates everyday touchpoints for enhanced customer engagement. Rather than creating a game, Vitality scores by being part of the customer’s game.

Play together, stay together
If you still don’t get the influence of gaming, look around for evidence of the pervasive power of play – look at how sneakers have replaced shoes, how sportswear is now de-rigueur and haute-couture, look at the scooters and skateboards under the feet of those with grey hair and none, and look at your fellow passengers fixated on Candy Crush and Boom Beach on the morning commute.

Of course, protection is a serious game, and there are hoops to jump through, but the gamified mind relishes a challenge presented in an engaging way. With compelling incentives and relevant rewards, the process need not be hoops of fire.

What’s clear is that the old mantra of ‘The More You Tell, The More You Sell’ is transforming into ‘Play More, Sell More’. As insurers move beyond simply helping people to buy, the real opportunity for success lies in a fun and rewarding customer experience. Gamification can help unlock the next level. Dismissing it as child’s play could well mean Game Over.