What’s the purpose of marketing? To build a brand and to grow a healthy pipeline. What’s the biggest challenge in marketing? To stand out from the crowd. If you can’t differentiate yourself from your competitors, you will have a hard time building your brand. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution for this challenge, but gamification in marketing may…
Even if they don’t realize it, marketers are building their careers on the principles of marketing psychology, thanks to John B. Watson.
About The Man:
Watson was a psychologist who founded the psychological school of behaviorism and is considered one of the pioneers responsible for today’s marketing. He spent years studying and using psychological practices to sway customers. He was responsible for many very successful campaigns including Pebeco Toothpaste in which he used scantily clad women to seduce and capture his audience and Pond’s Cold Cream. He was also given credit for the term “coffee break” which was used in his campaign for Maxwell House Coffee.
He believed that in order to appeal to customers, you have to play on their emotions and stimulated desire for a product, not playing on their logic.
Around the same time, Walter Dill Scott, another psychologist and advertiser entered the field by creating a plan for successful advertising based on psychological principles that marketers still use to this day. He laid out the steps for a successful advertising campaign that have become the basis for all marketing ambitions today.
You Must Capture Your Customer’s Attention
Since the days of Scott, marketers know that capturing their customer’s attention is critical to any campaign. Even though the strategies for getting someone’s attention have changed, the foundation of Scott’s steps is still the same. If you create a message that evokes curiosity and entices the audience, readers will open your emails and click through to your campaign eagerly.
Curiosity is one of the most powerful foundations in a successful marketing campaign. The brain releases certain chemicals when there is an arousal of curiosity. When your audience becomes curious, they will probably remember the message you are conveying by the end of the ad. Today’s marketing practices are deeply rooted in the psychological principles of Watson and Scott.
Consumers Must Experience A Positive Feeling From Your Message
Through your advertising, you need to create a positive feeling and able to associate with your message and/or your product. Pavlov, as in Pavlov’s Dog, discovered the elements of operant conditioning which is a process in which behavior is altered by rewards or punishment and often used for learning. It is creating an association between images, sounds, and positive or negative effects on moods and behaviors.
To date, it is considered one of the most powerful approaches in marketing. It requires the audience to interact with your message to discover something hidden in the marketing campaign or to receive an award such as a discount. In other words, you want to condition your customer to interact with your marketing in order to get a great reward in the form of a discount. Therefore, the marketing psychology of the past is still very much alive and well in today’s busy world of the internet and digital devices.
Create The Emotion Known As The Fear Of Missing Out:
Even back in the early 1900s, Scott realized how emotions play an important role in the overall effectiveness of marketing. Since then, marketers have understood how important it is to evoke emotions through their campaigns including joy, envy, fear, and FOMO! FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out and is one of today’s greatest tools for marketers to create a certain desire in their customers. You need visitors on your site to feel they are missing out on something. With a well-structured campaign, you are inviting them to become emotionally engaged and invested in your product. When you create a greater level of engagement, you will create more revenue as well.
When you combine emotions like fear of missing out along with gamification marketing campaigns, your customers’ interaction will constantly grow. In this day and age, consumers expect digital shrewd campaigns that entice them into interacting along the way. Gamification marketing fulfills their desires and, all the while, never losing the principles of marketing psychology!
Although marketing has changed in so many ways since the 1900s, the effects of psychology in your ad campaigns is exactly the same. Gamification marketing is now the answer to the amazing marketing ideas of long ago. In a world that is consumed by the internet, marketers are becoming even more successful at taking psychological principles and getting their messages across to their consumers.
In marketing, content is king. With the widespread adoption of social media, marketers are becoming more like publishers, generating content to educate and engage customers, rather than promote their products.
Recruitment organizations are also reaping the benefits of content marketing. Good content has proven effective in establishing relationships with candidates and enhancing the perception of the talent brand. Such valuable information helps candidates professionally, builds trust, and creates positive feelings toward the company. The end result is an increase in talent acquisition effectiveness. According to research, a strong talent brand can translate into 50 percent savings in cost per hire and 28 percent reduction in employee turnover.
Unfortunately, the amount of recruitment content available today is truly overwhelming. Everyone is doing it. And that’s not all, 76 percent of recruitment organizations plan to increase their content marketing budget, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Those who are using static content — like white papers, webinars, and blog posts — are finding it difficult to stand out. There is simply way too much to read and watch. Candidates can’t absorb it all and are confused as to which one to consume. Yes, one white paper may be better written or designed than another, but how much does it matter if it’s downloaded and never even opened? The expanding number of such content may exceed the limited supply of interest in what some warn as a “content apocalypse.”
So what does the future hold? We see a future of recruitment content marketing that is less about the impact of words, and more about the experiences created and actions triggered.
Interactive Recruitment Content Marketing
Interactive content is a seldom-used secret weapon for winning the intense competition for candidates’ attention. The purpose is to foster a two-way conversation that requires the candidate’s active engagement. Interactivity brings the enthusiasm and influential power of a real live interaction, to a job ad, career page, blog post — or anywhere else you might want to attract your candidate.
Unlike static content that may or may not even be consumed, interactive content creates an exchange of explicit data between participants. Engagement and consumption of interactive content can easily be tracked and reported on. Using the white paper example, the employer branding professional knows only if that content was downloaded — not if it was read or shared. On the other hand, the engagement with an interactive white paper can be specifically measured down to which actions were taken and for how long. Using this data, recruiters can measure with complete accuracy the relative effectiveness and value of their content marketing efforts.
Interactive content is a unique differentiator. Other than being more approachable, it offers clear usefulness and utility — less time and effort, and more value. And until every employer branding professional is an interactive content marketer, your recruitment organization has an instant competitive advantage.
Interactive content marketing is effective because it taps into our competitive nature to compete, share their opinion, and have fun. Winning interactive content encourages the user to interact, enjoy the process, and gain valuable insights about the employer and its culture without the feel of being targeted. The primary focus is on discipline while the second is on conversion.
If you are developing interactive content, gauge success of such recruitment marketing campaigns by total shares or average session time instead of click-through rate. But it’s neither about you nor about direct lead generation. The thinking should be around giving value to your candidates to make them want to apply to your job opportunities if there’s a mutual fit.
Are You Ready to Lead the Interactive Content Marketing Charge?
Building interactive content can be time-consuming and expensive compared to more traditional approaches such as blog posts and white papers. Not all recruiting marketing teams are avid publishers, and most brands don’t have adequate human and technical resources to easily produce interactive content. Not only will you need to come up with ideas and write great content around them, interactive content requires design and development skills. It’s hard enough to keep a steady flow of relevant and optimized content, let alone embed interactive experiences into such content.
Recruitment marketing organizations that put candidates’ interest at the heart of their interactive content marketing initiatives and not get blinded by lead generation tactics will flourish and lure candidates away from their competitors. As the content marketing surge continues, new and creative ways of building highly engaged talent communities will be required. Candidates will expect something special, not just an opinion and a well-written article.
3 Common Types of Interactive Content
Infographics are one of the most shareable types of content. They generate 45 percent more search volume and traffic than most content. So how can you go a step further and make them interactive?
Infographics are already visually stunning, but they can still create greater engagement beyond simply scrolling to view them. An approach is to get users to click in different places of the graphic in order to reveal more information. Engagement is elevated because it encourages kinetic learning; that is, people will learn and retain information more easily through intervention (even minimal ones such as a click).
Quizzes can help you gather candidate persona information over time. Much like infographics, they increase engagement and generate leads because of their interactive nature. An example would be to use your images and create a sliding puzzle. Candidates would play the puzzle in order to uncover some information (e.g. company mission, employer values, corporate event, etc. …) about your talent brand.
In the content marketing world, video is still probably the most engaging format you can create. Still, videos are a relatively static medium. Interactive video gives your audience the choice of engaging and taking part in the video as opposed to simply viewing it. Viewers can interact with certain elements by clicking on them, or even touching the screen if the video is optimized for mobile devices.
Making one could be as simple as adding interactive hotspots, which are basically motion tracking tags that follow a person in the video. A viewer can click on these hotspots and learn more about what’s being tagged — giving you an opportunity to provide more information on your employees or even corporate culture.
Distributing Interactive Content
What good is content if people don’t actually see it?
In fairness, as with any content, the distribution of interactive content is a matter of getting it in the right places to the right people. As always, start with your owned media. Your candidate list from your CRM, and other connections, are the first source of traffic you should tap into. You should also distribute them on social media through paid ads to increase your reach.
Talent communities are also a great source of traffic. Generating awareness and connections with the members of niche communities can provide you with a loyal audience. The more people love your content, the more it’ll get shared on social networks.
If you’re not already using any of those, first determine whether your target audience is there. Then test on a small scale and increase your budget as you see results come in.
The common thread that ties these various forms of interactive content together is the word “yes”: When candidates interact with your content, they’re not just reading, watching, or scrolling; they’re committing to the content and giving you a “micro-yes” every time they click or progress through it.
And when they arrive at the end of a particular piece of interactive content, the likelihood of their clicking a call to action or applying to one of your jobs will have become higher. They’ve already invested in the content itself; conversions will therefore increase.
If you take a look around, possibly even in your own organization, human resources is not always the most popular department. The bigger the company, the less relevant and less visible their activities seem. As a result, HR departments are not only looking for ways to actively engage their existing employees, but are also seeking strategies and tactics that will differentiate themselves as an employer. What does your brand say about you as a potential employer?
With constant tech innovation, gamification has quickly become a buzzword in the recruitment field. But to take it beyond the buzzword stage and truly benefit your employer brand, you need to weave gamified recruitment into the fabric of your recruitment strategy.
Applying gamification to HR is not an entirely new concept. In his book, Employer Brand Management: Practical Lessons from the World’s Leading Employers, Richard Mosley explained that many employers, as early as the late 1990s, introduced elements of gaming to their career websites and portals. The trend “is moving toward a more immersive online environment that gives potential candidates a much richer taste for the kind of employment experience on offer to them.”
Despite early efforts and growing popularity, gamification is still just a concept for many. The Aberdeen Group published research that indicated that HR departments have been slow to adopt gamification strategies. In 2013, only 17% of organizations had applied gaming techniques to their HR activities. This is gradually changing as success stories begin to emerge.
Whether you use gamification for recruitment, testing candidates, building awareness, onboarding, continuous employee engagement, organizational change, or all of the above, gamification differentiates and boosts increasingly diverse, memorable and unique employer branding strategies.
Demonstrating your values
Gamification makes the HR process fun for potential and current employees, and keeps them engaged. Keeping that kind of positive attention it creates focused on you in an increasingly competitive and fragmented employment landscape is key to your identity as an employer. A big part of that is being able to show (and realistically simulate) your company and organizational values in an interactive way. A company can too easily be seen as a monolithic entity with a set of stagnant rules (the dreaded “employee handbook”) but gamification can breathe life into your company identity and show the world who you are and why candidates should clamor to join. Through gamification, you can really showcase your employer brand and engage people to aspire to be a part of.
Fun and interactive HR processes = a memorable brand
Entertainment value goes a long way toward generating engagement and memorability. Particularly in highly competitive sectors, employers need to vie for qualified candidates in much the same way that candidates compete against each other to get hired. How can an employer in this environment offer a uniquely compelling candidate experience, maximize HR resources and ultimately make the experience entertaining?
Put it to the test!
Incorporate gamification into your employer branding strategy! There are lots of ways to do this, But whatever you do, do it now. Gamification in HR processes may be a gradually growing trend, but things are speeding up and you do not want to be left in the dust!
Did you know that 88% of job seekers are more likely to become loyal customers of your company, and even refer their friends, if you give them a positive candidate experience irrespective of whether they got hired?
The benefits of providing a great experience to people applying for jobs have been demystified with many companies now reporting a strong impact on their bottom line. Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as we had hoped. Even though it can be hard to make the business case for investing in the enhancement of the candidate experience, there are several immediate benefits to be gained, with some of them that can be achieved fairly easily.
It used to be enough to present job candidates with a plain text description highlighting the job requirements and the desired qualifications. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Nowadays, employers are challenging candidates with games and role-playing simulators to attract the best and brightest to their companies.
Gamification is gaining popularity in its ability to drive candidate participation in referral programs and responding to career content to help build brand awareness. It is effective in converting the people who see your job opportunity into active applicants in your pipeline. By disguising your application and assessment process as a game, you’re much more likely to not only convert the top talent who noticed your ad, but also engage candidates and make them want to come work with you.
As discussed in a previous post, while not every company has the budget to create their own version of the Marriot Hotel, other practical ways to leverage gamification are available. These will help bring in the right candidates for open positions and create strong talent pipelines for future hiring needs. Here are five tips for gamifying the candidate experience.
Tip #1: Give points to candidates for interacting with you.
Companies are in constant pursuit of the passive talent, who is currently employed somewhere else but would still be open to changing camps if the right opportunity presented itself. These types of candidates need more than a job description to get theme excited to work with you. Invite these passive candidates to connect and interact with your organization via virtual contests, hackathons, or quizzes and give them points for their participation. This will not only demonstrate how innovative and fun your organization is but will also give them a sneak peek on your company culture.
Tip #2: Show candidates how they stack up against the competition.
It is worthwhile to show how many candidates have already applied for the same job and how well the candidates rank in terms of points earned against those of others. This competitive intelligence drives candidates to act on the right opportunities and motivates them to interact with you more.
Tip #3: Encourage candidates to apply with their social media profiles.
Most people don’t have their resumes on their smartphone, but just about everyone is on social media. Allowing candidates to use their social profiles to apply is painless and effective. As some candidates tend to “over sell” themselves on the resume, information maintained on social profiles tends to be more accurate. And if you really require a resume, allow candidates to upload their resumes from a cloud service such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Tip #4: Show candidates their social connections within your company.
Candidates often want to get an inside scoop (and maybe even a referral) about the job before applying to it. Allowing these candidates to visualize their social connections that are currently working with you and enabling them to message for guidance can help convert a passive candidate into an engaged one who is interested in joining your ranks.
Tip #5: Be Mobile
Mobile recruiting is taking over every aspect of the recruitment process. Candidates are 2-5 times more likely to access your career portal on their phone than they are on their PC. Beyond that, nearly one-quarter (23%) of all Google searches that contain the word “job” come from mobile devices. Enable candidates to engage with your employment brand anywhere, any time, and on any device. Ensure that every step of your application process is optimized for mobile devices.
If you are able to foster a positive candidate experience, talent will come to you. Candidates will talk about your organization and tell others about the positive experience they had during your recruitment process.
Let’s face it. Social recruiting is a game, where a collection of “players” (companies and staffing agencies) compete for the same “prize” – top talent. The winners get the best “prize”, but it can take tremendous time and effort to come out on top.
It is widely known that good talent is employed while the best remain hidden from traditional recruitment strategies such as social media and online communities. So how do you lure them away from your competitors?
If today’s social recruiting campaigns are about developing communities, the future is about creating value in such communities. So instead of establishing a one-way communication with your fans through job postings and the occasional recruiting post, engage with these followers and establish a dialogue with them.
This novel and promising approach consists in “gamifying” the talent acquisition process. Not to be confused with video games, this method consists in incorporating game thinking to business activities. The true value of this route stems from the fact that it can make a mundane task like completing a job application fun, creative, competitive and interesting. Basically, it would disguise the application and assessment process as a fun activity rather than an annoying task, making it much more likely to convert the top talent from just noticing your job opening into engaged candidates who are interested in working with you, and committed to making a difference.
A gamified hiring process will not only make your more attractive in the eyes of job seekers, but it would also contribute to amplifying your brand. Both HR and marketing are in the people finding and relationship building business. Followers who like and share your content, and also interact with you within your online communities are the same valuable asset both of these departments are desperately seeking to find and engage. In a recent study, the marketing department of a global fashion retailer was reluctant to letting HR engage with its fans on social media as it was concerned that recruitment specific spots would dilute its brand. To their surprise, this experiment yielded unprecedented results. Within four hours, 14,000 people had “liked” and contributed to that HR post; and in fact, it was the highest level of engagement ever reached.
A gamified recruitment process can come in two different flavors – ranging from complex and stand-alone gaming technology to simple “gaming elements” directly embedded into the job application process. Subsequent sections will discuss the first approach while the latter will be discussed in a later post.
A full-blown gaming engine is effective as not only does it provide a fun and hands-on experience as to what the job really entails, it also gives a feel for the culture of the workplace. However, this route requires deep IT skills and a sizeable budget to implement the needed technology. One of the earlier adopters of this new way of recruiting was Marriott International. High turnover of underqualified employees created a serious business problem for the hotel chain. It needed to attract young candidates in areas of the world where the hospitality industry was not well known or seen as a viable career path. And in 2011, the hotel chain launched its own Facebook game called My Marriott Hotel which was specifically designed as a recruitment tool giving younger people a taste of what a career at a Marriott Hotel might be like. The game instructed players to start a restaurant, go through activities such as decorating a hotel restaurant dining room, ordering food inventory for the kitchen, maintaining a restaurant budget, and trying out various positions in hotel operations. According to Francesca Martinez, Marriott VP of Human Resources, the game successfully increased traffic to the company’s career site by 30%.
If you feel that this is the path you would like to embark on, follow these guiding points to get you started:
- For each job, identify the skills necessary that candidates need to possess in order to deliver superior performance.
- Group the jobs that have similar and complementary skills and devise a fun and creative scenario to assess those skills.
- Determine the platform you will use to get the game in front of your ideal hires.
- Assess your company culture and consider adding elements that indicate what it will be like to work for your company.
Ideally, you should create a game that is universally enjoyable — while not every player will be a qualified candidate, one of your objectives should be about increasing your brand awareness.
Klujo is the next generation of marketing automation solutions that uses gamification to help organizations engage with their audience to effectively turn their online community into qualified leads and candidates.
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