Bank Marketers Look to Gamification

Boelter + Lincoln, blog, Banking Gamification

Games are fun. That’s why they’re called games. Webster’s Dictionary uses words like “diversion” and “amusement” when defining the word “game.”

Now, in our ever-growing mobile world, “gamification” has emerged as a major force in marketing. Companies from Nike to Verizon have created mobile apps that deliver basic information and trackable goals to users through games. These games are fun and easy to play. They simultaneously ignite competition between players and generate a sense of community. But they can do so much more than that. A customer’s experience can be improved through gamification as they earn points and rewards, possibly toward products and services.

The financial industry has been a bit behind the gamification curve, especially in the U.S.

But make no mistake – it is coming.

Across the world, banks are already making big strides in gamification and seeing results for their efforts. Many of these games offer rewards or badges for checking into a branch location, transferring money between accounts or reaching a personal savings goal. Some provide friendly pop-ups when users access the app, perhaps congratulating them on keeping their monthly balance large enough to waive a fee. Some are going above and beyond.

Citi Singapore is engaging customers in their social media and getting customers to participate in products and services. Offering products and services through gamification is a fantastic way to measure success. CIMB Malaysia is getting them early by teaching children financial literacy. This approach makes sense, as nearly 30 percent of the country’s population is 15 or younger.

More and more U.S. banks are going to start using gamification to retain and grow customers. An Infosys study found that fewer than 15 U.S. banks out of 160 surveyed had a gamification system, but that two-thirds of those banks had something in the works.

There is no cookie-cutter approach to gamification. No matter the method, it should be tailored for the financial institution’s customers. It’s important for banks and other financial institutions to look at their data to understand their customers – what services they use, what’s motivating them, what they like and don’t like about the bank. Don’t create a game just for the sake of creating a game.

Gamification might seem like an old trend, but it’s a new one in the U.S. financial industry. American customers are ready to play games with their financial institution. For banks and other financial companies looking to stay relevant in the digital world, the time for developing a mobile game is now.