How Continuous Engagement Is Transforming The Digital Customer Experience


It wasn’t so long ago that most businesses relied on a relatively passive, “one-and-done” marketing methodology that utilized traditional tools such as print ads, direct mail, one-off digital ads, static landing pages, and even digital signage to stimulate consumer interest. But successfully marketing to today’s savvy digital consumer is all about establishing an ongoing, dynamic and personalized relationship between the consumer and brand. This new Digital Customer Experience (DCX) is a continually evolving process that engages, inspires, educates, entertains, motivates and stimulates.

It’s Personal

When it comes to capturing the minds and wallets of today’s digital consumers, it’s not just about Facebook posts, hashtags, and clever tweets. According to a recent OpenText™ white paper, “Today’s world is an increasingly digital one, and most customers are engaged with brands through a variety of digital means. Digital business is blurring the distinction between the digital and physical worlds and creating digital transformation that leverages the integration of process, people, and things. At the center of this transformation is the customer. Customers are increasingly in control, with multiple channels with which to be heard, they are dictating how business should be communicating.”

Marketers must, therefore, transform their thinking about how they interact with customers in the digital space. Instead of “hit it and quit it,” continuous engagement creates a rich, ongoing digital conversation between the consumer and brand seamlessly and consistently across multiple channels. Each digital touchpoint should move the customer deeper into a more intimate and personalized relationship with a company’s brand, building interest, loyalty, trust and enthusiasm with each interaction.

There are several key factors that should drive the process of continuous customer engagement. First and foremost is to truly understand one’s customer. In the past, companies relied solely upon transactional data to plot their marketing strategies. As Paul Gulbin, Chief Transformation Officer of CohnReznick Advisory Group, points out, “Today, consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant. Businesses cannot meet this expectation using transactional data alone.” Furthermore, a recent consumer behavior study by Infosys notes that 86% of consumers polled indicated that personalization plays a key role in their purchase decisions.

Customers Crave Consistency

A whopping 80% of consumers don’t think that brands really know them as individuals, according to a recent IBM e-commerce study. Customers want to be understood and to be co-creators in the digital buying experience. Customers also look for an online relationship with a company that’s consistent across all digital channels. Indeed, customers can become easily frustrated when confronted with an inconsistent transactional or customer service experience that doesn’t live up to their expectations.

Customers Value Their Time Above All Else

The adage “time is money” was never truer than it is today. Studies indicate that customers want their digital interactions to be as uncomplicated and frictionless as possible. A Forrester Research customer survey notes that more than 77% of U.S. adults believe that valuing their time is the most important thing that a company can do to create a good digital experience. According to Infosys, consumers are 115% more likely to recommend a company’s brand if they find that the purchase process is simplified. Consequently, digital marketers should strive to be responsive to customers’ needs by creating opportunities to make the continuous customer engagement experience as convenient, hassle-free, and uncluttered as possible.

Gamification as a Continuous Engagement Strategy

One of the emerging trends in continuous customer engagement is gamification. While the term may be new, gamification has long been employed as an effective marketing and customer loyalty tool. (Think McDonald’s Monopoly game, frequent flyer miles pioneered by American Airlines, and retailers cashing in on the recent “Pokémon GO!” craze). In its largest sense, gamification is defined as the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity. Technology research firm Gartner describes gamification as “the broad trend of employing game mechanics to non-game environments such as innovation, marketing, training, employee performance, health, and social change.”

Too Much of Too Much

The Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research at the University of California, San Diego, notes that the average consumer is inundated by between 5,000 and 10,000 marketing messages per day, and that 65% of consumers feel that they are overwhelmed with too many such messages. As Yankelovich President J. Walter Smith states, “The traditional assumptions that consumers can deal with clutter by self-selecting what to watch ignores the evidence to the contrary – that choosing from a super-abundance of options makes consumers less likely to choose at all.”

Where Games Are Serious Business

Gamification offers marketers an opportunity to rise above this dizzying informational din by incorporating unique incentivized digital consumer touchpoints using fun, exciting and rewarding online games and activities to stimulate trial and maintain interest. Once in place, a gamified marketing program can self-perpetuate, driving a constant level of excitement and interest in a company’s brand and products. Incorporating gamification into an overall marketing strategy has been proven to drive new customer acquisition, strengthen existing customer relationships, boost online and social media engagement, and create new ways to reactivate former customers.

It’s Time for a New Digital Continuous Engagement Paradigm

A Gartner marketing spending survey states that by the end of 2016, 89% of companies expected to compete mostly based on customer experience, up from just 36% four years ago. And U.S. companies deemed to deliver poor customer experiences lose a staggering $41 billion annually, according to a NewVoiceMedia report.

These statistics offer a clear imperative for businesses to adopt an effective strategy of continuous customer engagement that goes beyond conventional “one-and-done” methodologies. It’s time to embrace a bold, new paradigm of innovative, continuous customer engagement that resonates with today’s digital-savvy consumers and ultimately increases their value over time.

Casinos Make a Winning Bet

This transformation of the Digital Customer Experience is even more vital for casino marketers, who must constantly endeavor to breathe new life into games that are often centuries old and governed by rules that aren’t immediately understandable to modern consumers. Millennials’ well-documented aversion to gambling can also be combated with gamified marketing that aligns with the free, skill-based games that are at the heart of an effective engagement paradigm.

Keen casino marketers are already well aware of the interest and excitement that games generate, and see gamification as the perfect tie-in to a business inherently focused on the concept of play. Successful gamified marketing strategies enhance social casinos and educate new players in a way that they just can’t experience inside a casino. One casino implemented such a strategy in 2016 that incorporated “edutaining” activities and games that engaged players daily. They increased online traffic by 543% and generated nearly 12,000 incremental property visits a year by using segmented incentives, trophies, badges, discounts, and other offers. Another casino rewarded players with game credits for sharing a Facebook post about an upcoming concert, resulting in 3,000 reposts from brand ambassadors, which led to one of the fastest concert sell-outs in their history.

These are just some of the many examples of companies that have successfully employed marketing strategies that rely on personalization, consistency, and – most notably – gamified marketing programs. Digital gamification is no longer a luxury, but rather an essential tool for continuous customer engagement that generates brand ambassadors and enhances existing resources.

Jerry Epstein