Marketing lives and dies by profit and loss. Every overhead, spend or investment made is scrutinised, and clear justification is often demanded in the boardroom. Moreover, now, the profession faces the most challenging environment in its history, the age of digital transformation, or the fourth industrial revolution, as some would say.
Marketers are custodians of data; they use it to inform outbound marketing campaigns and update it regularly to determine ROI. It is no surprise then that we are seeing increasing numbers of professionals subscribing to attribution marketing, where every single activity is tracked and a corresponding ROI provided.
However, for many organisations that have multiple marketing activities running throughout the year, and sometimes simultaneously, it can be very difficult to track that data and turn it into meaningful insights that can provide that much-needed ROI. Especially as too often, the data needed to inform marketing decisions is disparate, located in disconnected data silos. Consequently, decisions are made based on individual channel data, as opposed to holistically.
So the case for connected data analytics seems clear; data-driven marketers can trace revenue growth back to specific marketing strategies and sustain healthy growth thanks to their ability to turn intelligence into action and use it to attract new customers and grow existing relationships.
A report by Aberdeen Group found that organisations with comprehensive marketing analytics averaged 22% of their revenue originating from a marketing-generated lead. These same firms averaged 13% revenue growth year-over-year, a 44% greater improvement than less data-driven organisations.
Given the power analytics delivers, how then can the marketer’s creative mind be optimised through technology and translated into proven and insightful ROI? The answer could perhaps lie in gamification – the concept of applying game mechanics and design techniques to enhance the user experience, and which promises increased productivity, clear ROI and more effective forecasting.
For marketing, this means aggregating and presenting relevant campaign data in a more visual and engaging way. For example, the number of page views, leads converted or how many touchpoints created within a specific marketing campaign.
Gamification lessons can be learned from other industries such as manufacturing. Siemens has found success with PlantVille, based on the popular Zynga game FarmVille, where players have to operate their plant, juggle multiple responsibilities and make key decisions that affect the overall livelihood of the entire facility. Players are measured on factors such as quality, employee satisfaction, safety, and timeliness.
Similarly, Ford Motor Company added gamification to its learning portals to help sales and service teams become experts on their new car models, technology, and financing plans, producing a 417% increase in worker use. They found their younger audience responded particularly strongly to the new strategy; critical to block the gap growing between manufacturing workers set to retire in the next 10 to 15 years and the workers needed to fill their vacancies.
Thanks to its ability to process different data streams and simplify it into more manageable chunks of visual information, dashboard technology lends itself well to gamification; it allows a marketer to see what is happening across all marketing campaigns, and where improvements need to be made.
This could be shown as horses on a race track which proceed towards a jump each time a lead is converted, or an outbound email campaign has been opened, driving a positive business outcome. The horses on a track visualisation could even represent an organisation’s brand, illustrating where the company’s brand values have been reinforced. It also becomes easier for the CMO to identify and respond to trends. For instance, what approaches work for different sectors, the average CPA or the time to sale within a particular industry.
From this position, the CMO can make an informed decision as to when individual sectors are targeted based on typical monthly budget constraints at different points throughout the year. Dashboards can show a CMO exactly where their trouble areas are and give them the information needed to improve.
All the evidence shows that, when employed correctly, gamification can demonstrate ROI linked directly to marketing activity, be used as a tool to incentivise sales and enable much more insightful forecasting.
We are increasingly talking to our customers about gamification, and the response has been very positive. As a result, we are building gamification into the next version of our dashboards, available early 2017.