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Who moved my reward? An e-gaming fable

If you haven’t been gifted a copy of Who Moved My Cheese you probably have avoided the corridors of the executive suite. The story of rats and Little people caught in a maze of ever-changing locations of cheese; it’s a thin parable for the need to embrace and adapt to change in the business world.

The big data world can encourage us to look at customers through the lens of archetypes, like the Hem and Haw of WMMC as either those willing to accept the change or unwilling or unable to do so. As marketing and product managers, we want customers to move to new products – literally the new cheese – and that we know they’ll enjoy when they find it.

So, who moved my reward?

When we introduce inducements like rewards as part of our new product proposition, like the cheese in the maze, we are setting an expectation. We know we are going to have to remove the reward at some stage. And that our customers won’t like it when we do move it.

Should you move a reward at all?

Jackpots, points and rake back have been valuable parts of the casino or poker managers arsenal for decades now, and are very much baked into customer expectations. Changing to formula too much is guaranteed to annoy them, and get you a deserving nip on the hand if you do.

Cheese is finite.

Like cheese, there’s only so much we can spend on a reward and get a return from it. Ideally, the path to earning a reward becomes part of the reward itself – the quest for new cheese in the WMMC world view – and that the process of earning the reward allows the player to experience new opportunities – may be part of the maze they’ve never seen before.

While the overall supply of rewards/cheese might not change, the player’s sense of satisfaction on receiving it will improve with the journey.

We’d love to hear about your experiences in changing rewards – and where it succeeded or just succeeded in annoying customers. In the next in this series, we’ll be exploring how missions and ladders transformed adoption and activity for different games.

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