Author: Matthew Kates

Matthew Kates

Matt Kates is Vice President, Strategic Services at HelloWorld (formerly ePrize). He joined HelloWorld in 2005 and is responsible for leading all areas of the company's Loyalty program, including strategy, development and analysis.

He previously served with Kellogg Co., Quaker, Starcom Media and with PricewaterhouseCoopers where he managed and consulted on branding and business strategy. Kates earned his bachelor of science in economics from Northwestern University and his MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Gamification for marketers: what old school games can teach us about engagement

You've most likely heard or even uttered the latest 'it' term out there for marketers: Gamification. But what does it truly mean? Is it a fad or is it here to stay?

Defined as the “process of using game concepts and mechanics to engage users and change behavior,” gamification is, at its core, a simple concept with huge potential for business.

In fact according to Gartner, 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014.


Christmas in July: six things marketers should do now to prepare for the holidays

With temperatures rising and summertime in full swing, it’s hard to think about the upcoming winter holidays. Christmas comes early for marketers, however, and identifying a strategy now for what is the most impactful shopping season of the year can be the difference between success and disappointment.

In January, the NRF reported that holiday 2012 retail sales increased 3%t to $579.8bn.

Clearly, the holidays are a huge opportunity for brands to increase sales, but if you don’t plan accordingly, the holiday quarter can make or break a successful year.


Four ways to drive engagement with user-generated content

User generated content (UGC) is not a new concept, but for digital marketers, UGC has never offered as many exciting possibilities for engaging with consumers and building brand loyalty.

With the recent billion dollar acquisitions of content companies like Instagram and Tumblr, tech giants are further demonstrating the immense value of content today,and the opportunities are apparent for marketers.

In a January 2013 Econsultancy/Adobe report on digital marketing trends, over 700 digital professionals identified content marketing as the single most significant trend in marketing today.

Content, in short, is king, so it’s incumbent upon brands to make good use of it.


Four ways to improve the customer experience through mobile loyalty

From increasing brand awareness to accelerating conversions and transaction volume, mobile has become an integral way for brands to guide consumers along the path to purchase.

The rise of mobile is a key factor in the shift from what used to be a linear path to purchase. The days of "here's our ad, see you at the register" are long gone and have been replaced by a broad, multi-faceted discovery and engagement process.

With this evolution, marketers must make effective investments that use mobile as a connective tissue in the increasingly non-linear purchase cycle.


Making digital and traditional marketing work together

Even though it is impossible to have a conversation today with a CMO or other marketing leader that doesn’t address digital strategies and tactics, it is easy to forget that the term “digital marketing” did not even exist 10-15 years ago.

In the rush to drive likes and tweets, pins and favorites, ratings and reviews, marketers often overlook traditional tactics, which are still an effective way to motivate desired behaviors among consumers.

And as the land grab to gain digital mindshare continues to pick up steam, it is becoming ever more important to differentiate your brand by offering compelling solutions to consumers across all channels -- both digital and traditional.


Using analytics to boost your social ROI

Recent surveys suggest that 80% of marketers worldwide plan to use social media data to enhance their overall marketing efforts. However, more than 40% of marketers cite lack of analytics capabilities as a factor that prevents them from effectively collecting social media data.

This presents a significant challenge that needs to be overcome in order for marketers to tailor social communications in ways that encourage meaningful engagement.

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Social lessons from the traditional loyalty program playbook

Anyone who tells you a tweet is worth a specific amount of money is wrong. One source will tell you a tweet is worth 1/10th of a cent and another will tell you it's worth $5. A Facebook Like, meanwhile, is valued from $8 to $137.84. With figures varying so wildly it's easy to see this can't be a reliable measurement because the number is inevitably based on opinion.

When you consider this premise, it’s not surprising that many brands aren’t getting the engagement they had hoped to see from social. According to ExactTarget, 51 percent of fans say they rarely or never visit a company’s page after “liking” them. And 71 percent of fans say they have become more selective about “liking” companies on Facebook.