CataBoom CEO Is Gamifying Marketing


Gamification concept | Image by Song_about_summer, Shutterstock

Dallas-based CataBoom offers gamification to clients to engage consumers better, provide loyalty rewards, and ultimately retain customers.

Gamification has been described as implementing game-design features in non-game environments, according to Precedence Research.

The current trend of gamification can be traced back to the Apple watch, which features a host of apps that encourage certain behaviors, enabling users to gamify their lives and compete with themselves to grow.

Companies have recognized the power of this trend to influence customer behavior and are using gamification as a marketing tool.

Games are becoming a commodity, and companies are implementing this behavioral psychology into marketing campaigns.

“We’re one of the early pioneers of bringing rewards to people, and it creates an extrinsic motivation that you get some reward but earn it over time. And that has become more commoditized over time,” CataBoom CEO Doug Kramp told The Dallas Express.

“We found that many loyalty programs are coming to us because their customers say loyalty’s great, but we want more engagement and instant rewards. So we’ve paired our intrinsic motivation, which is achieving and rewarding something, with extrinsic motivation, with a cash reward or earning points through transactions, and now you have something. “

Regular discounts and coupons do not work as effectively, according to Kramp.

“Think about Bed, Bath, & Beyond. They get you a 20% discount every week. And so, is that motivation or an expectation? Because if you don’t have that coupon, you feel like you’re paying too much because you’re just used to having it, so it loses its motivation engagement over time.”

“Whereas intrinsic motivation you get when you achieve something, you experience something, you learn, you grow, you get a sense that the brands are rewarding your behaviors personally and you feel like you’re being invested in.”

CataBoom offers games and experiences that can be integrated into companies’ marketing platforms where customers can ultimately earn rewards.

The power of this marriage between intrinsic and extrinsic motivational psychology has enabled CataBoom to count Dell, T-Mobile, Verizon, TGI Fridays, Taco Bell, and Shell Oil among its clients.

“When gamification was just getting started, people were very unclear about how it was defined and how it played in the marketplace. In the last three to four years, there’s been a better understanding of it, and companies are demanding gamification when they are starting to look at various marketing campaigns,” Kramp said.

Kramp added that one of the most valuable components of gamification is the ability to measure a return on investment.

“In several customers, we see a 70% increase in click-to-open rates when [a company attaches] one of our gamified experiences to an email campaign versus one without it,” explained Kramp.

The CEO said that the long-term customer value could increase tenfold through gamification. Kramp said the industry is a $10 billion market, expected to grow 30% annually over the next five years.

“We know that incremental spending increases with gamification … when someone gets a reward at the end of a gamification experience, they’ll spend nine times more money because of that intrinsic engagement that they have versus just giving them a coupon and telling them they can go buy something on your website for 30% less,” he said.

Cataboom has 30 employees and has raised $8.1 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase.

The games come in lottery-style scratch-offs, casino-style gaming, and skill games.

“It’s a ubiquitous value proposition,” Kramp said.

In addition to his CEO role, Kramp serves as a managing partner at DFW-based ReignRock Capital Partners.

In 2005, Kramp was named to Oprah’s top 20 moments list, recapping her talk show run.

“My first wife, we discovered she had breast cancer at 30 years old. We fought it, did a lot of research, and thought we had it licked. And a year later, it showed up again,” he recalled.

“That started a sequence of events where my daughter was then two years old, so my wife starting making videos for my daughter, so she could know her mom in case something did happen to her, how to put on makeup, how to date, how to manage money, all this stuff,” he said.

Through this experience, Kramp said he devised a checklist for living life, thinking about our emotional, physical, and spiritual selves.

“The Dallas Morning News picked up on that, and man, it just took off from there. You know our story was really about how to live life to the fullest, live with the end in mind,” he said.

This led to a 20/20 segment and then ultimately led to a memorable appearance on Oprah in 1998.

He has served as a board member and mentor for the Erin Tierney Kramp Encouragement Foundation for 25 years.

The organization offers scholarships to any of the seven Dallas Community Colleges for high school students who demonstrate courage, perseverance, academic excellence, and leadership while facing complex challenges.

Scholarship recipients receive access to professionals who act as mentors to help them reach their life’s goals.

Kramp’s personal and professional experiences now help guide him to influence behaviors in business and within his community.

“What I learned in that experience is that our story emotionally engaged people enough to act, and it changed how they behave. It just blew up in a viral fashion,” Kramp said.

“When you think about CataBoom, we create emotional engagements with our customers beyond just a transaction. We make it fun, we make it upbeat. Even when you’re going through life and death stuff, you can live life to the fullest. It’s all about emotional engagement.”

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