Using Data as an Engagement ToolThere was a farmer had a dog, and Bingo was his name-o….

I have that irritatingly catchy song stuck in my head.

You know the one, where with every new verse you clap instead of singing the letter that spells bingo?

Well, this isn’t the same bingo—we’re talking about the game (though feel free to clap along while reading).

The game of bingo generally requires a 5×5 board or card with randomly assigned numbers.

Players use colorful blotters to mark off the numbers that are called with the hope of getting five in a row (up, down, diagonal) and yelling “BINGO!”.

It’s played at casinos, baby and bridal showers, events, and online.

But bingo is not just for casinos and bridal showers anymore, oh no.

Let’s talk about what you could do if you incorporated bingo into your business.

Incorporating a Game into Your Business

First of all, why would you incorporate a game into your business?

While bingo can be a fun game, it’s mindless in its simplicity.

That said, the reason it’s a good business tool is because it’s a great engagement tool.

It forces the person playing to actively listen and pay attention to what the speaker is saying.

Think about the meetings, talks, and conferences you’ve been to where you stopped paying attention and your mind started wandering.

Chances are you didn’t feel engaged, and you missed an important detail or nuance.

What if there had been something that gave you a reason to pay better attention and possibly win something at the end—even if it’s just that you get to brag that you got bingo faster than Brenda from sales.

Why bingo?

Well, bingo gives the player a reason to listen and pay attention.

You could use myriad of tools, but in this example, bingo is the game-o (see what I did there?).

Interaction + Engagement = Gamification

By bringing in an engagement tool, interactive participants are more apt to retain the information you’re sharing with them.

This technique is called gamification, a popular method of engagement used by many companies and marketing teams to create buzz, awareness, and loyalty among employees and customers.

To create your bingo cards you could just throw some random words on a sheet of paper and call it a day.

Or…you could do so much more than that.

One way to do this would be text mining using Natural Language Processing .

According to Linguamatics, Natural Language Processing is:

Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Text Mining (also known as Text Analytics) are Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies that empower users to rapidly transform the key content in text documents into quantitative, actionable insights.

What is text mining or text analytics?

Text Analytics, also known as text mining, is the process of examining large collections of written resources to generate new information and to transform the unstructured text into structured data for use in further analysis. Text mining identifies facts, relationships, and assertions that would otherwise remain buried in the mass of textual big data.  These facts are extracted and turned into structured data, for analysis, visualization (e.g., via HTML tables, mind maps, charts), integration with structured data in databases or warehouses, and further refinement using machine learning (ML) systems.

Text Mining Analysis

In simple terms, text mining uses machine learning to read through hundreds, thousands, or millions of lines of text to pull out the top phrases and topics used.

When could you apply text mining analysis?

  • If you have a large backlog of blog posts,
  • transcripts from past talks or podcasts, or
  • articles or training materials about a certain topic.

Text mining would process all of that content and surface the most important and most frequent topics.

What’s the difference? Most frequent is obvious, those are the terms appearing most often throughout the entire corpus of text.

Most important terms are the cluster of terms that frequently appear in concentrated sections of the corpus.

Now, rather than assuming you know which keywords to put on your bingo card, use data to inform your decision.

But once you have all of that data, how do you construct your cards?

You’ll want to blend high-frequency and low-frequency terms. If you do all high-frequency, people are going to win way too easily and potentially check out.

Your bingo engagement tool needs to be challenging and competitive to be more effective and engaging.

Your aim is to set the probability that your audience is not getting bingo within the first five minutes of the training or talk.

You want to strategically choose the terms so it takes the full length of the discussion, or so you have multiple winners multiple times over.

BINGO Cards as an Engagement Tool

Here’s a real example of what we’re talking about.

Using the bingo card as an engagement tool at events is not a new concept.

A company will hand out a bingo card. And the goal is to find, on your card, all the buzzwords the speaker utters and probably win a branded tchotchke.

Now, if you know people are going to start looking at their phones at some point, why not work with that instead of fighting against it?

Build the bingo card into an app, or a mobile-friendly webpage.

You’ll be getting them to listen for key phrases such as “regression analysis,” or “machine learning,” instead of those topics blowing right past your audience.

Winners check-in at your booth to collect their prize.

Separate Yourself from the Pack

Perhaps, as a speaker, you want to differentiate yourself from the pack.

Take transcripts or papers from similar speakers and run that content through a text mining analysis.

By doing this, you’ll better understand which topics are already heavily covered and where the gaps are in the subject matter.

Another use case is a bingo card that spans multiple sessions at a conference.

For instance, at a digital marketing conference, your topics could be analytics and measurement, search engine optimization, email marketing, and many more.

Structuring the game to cover all those themes makes it more challenging.

Participants would need to attend and engage in multiple sessions to win.

In a different example, let’s say you’re working on your public speaking or writing skills.

By using NLP, you’ll determine which phrases are overused or those you want to avoid (e.g., fluffy jargon that makes you sound less authoritative).

And with the combination of natural language processing and a bingo-like game to capture results, you’ll better understand your progress towards expanding your universe of terminology.

Human Judgement is Still Important

While natural language processing and machine learning are effective methods to understand frequency and importance of terms, there is still a lot of human judgment involved.

Text analysis is and should be iterative. Rarely, in my experience, has the first run been the final output.

It takes refinement, adjustment, judgment, and expertise to understand and interpret the analysis.

The data is, and always should be, informative, supportive, and complementary to the decision making process.

Taking it up another notch, you could configure a backend database that collects information, allowing you to track engagement and the effectiveness of the training, talk, or content.

If you’re thinking about additional layers of participation, you should think about creating something you can measure and track over time.

If it’s a mobile-friendly page hosted on your website, consider hooking your Google Analytics account and Tag Manager into it.

This will give you actionable insights, allowing you to adjust for better results as needed instead of hoping the audience found the bingo cards fun and played along.

Reimagine the Humble BINGO Card

You can take the humble bingo card beyond a piece of paper and make it an effective communication tool.

The bingo card is merely the container for the insights you can get from natural language processing.

So think about using the bingo card as an element of employee training. Bring a version of the game to a conference, or use it to improve your writing and speaking skills.

By reimagining how to visualize data, data you likely already have, you can create something new, fresh, and engaging.

Reinvent a simple concept, such as a bingo game, and use it to boost awareness, while furthering your business goals.

Katie Robbert

Co-Founder and CEO of BrainTrust Insights. Spin Sucks Ambassador. Dog Lover.

View all posts by Katie Robbert