You want to shake up your brand’s approach to marketing with a gamified campaign. You have an idea for a game that you’re excited about it and you believe your audience are really going to take to it as your next marketing effort. Before you become too attached to the idea, take a moment to consider these 10 points prior to going ahead with anything.
If you’ve never created a gamification campaign before, or you’ve tried and felt like you were in over your head, it can seem like it isn’t worth the hassle of putting too much work into the game process, but if you’re serious about getting returns and new business, you need to think your marketing strategy all the way through before commissioning a game, here are just a few things you need to keep in mind.
1. Know your Audience
Whether your marketing campaign succeeds or fails will depend on how strongly you target your audience. If you’re not creating information for the people who will eventually buy your products or services, you can’t expect to get new business. To attract new leads and bring them to your website, create content specific to them.
Do not make the mistake of getting caught up in an idea before you’ve truly analysed your customer base. Take time to research your audience, those that already purchase from you, those that you would like to become new clients. What are they looking for online and how can you provide it for them? Getting to know who your audience is and what they need means your marketing strategy will appeal directly to the people you’re trying to attract. Do not let a “fun” idea become a runaway train from what your customers truly need from you.
Another factor in knowing your audience is simply, creating the type of game your audience would properly engage with. According to DeltaDNA, RPGs have nearly an 80% male market, whereas the opposite can be said for a Match style game, with an 80% female market. So who is your target audience and what type of game would be most beneficial?
2. How is the health of your brand and its pre-existing marketing?
Time after time brands will approach Gamify out of a place of desperation, they have a malnourished social media presence, their previous marketing has been lacking and they hope that creating a game will be the answer to all their problems.
Often we have to express that creating a branded game is an enhancer to a campaign, it is not the cornerstone of a brand’s image or validity. While a game can be a strong addition to your marketing repertoire, simply putting a game on your website is unlikely to bring a flurry of new customers to your page. When a game is well planned and executed, it becomes a complimentary tool for any existing social, content and/or direct marketing.
If your business isn’t walking out a consistent posting of the aforementioned social and marketing streams then a game probably will not be the saviour you’ve built it up to be. With those well kept channels in place, when you do decide to launch a game you have the foundations laid for the best possible outcome.
3. Establish your Goals
While the main goal of your marketing strategy may be to sell more products, it usually isn’t that simple. You can’t have one marketing strategy designed to attract customers, help them find the right product and purchase any item that fits their needs. Instead, you need to create marketing campaigns that have one main purpose.
Having an understanding of what you’re trying to convey and achieve within a game can really help shape the decisions made for both content and elements within the game. These developments can ensure the success is accurately measured against your objectives.
Gamify’s Ebook gives our take on the 8 core drives behind gamification, first seen within the Octalysis framework which was created by Yu-Kai Chou. Reading the Ebook can help you to better understand the human-focused design behind gamification. When you can incentivise your audience to engage with a game campaign, in order to in return help you achieve your marketing goals, you have tapped into the motivational science behind gamification. An example of this would be in appealing to the competitive nature in people, offering leaderboards and incentives to share their score on social sites, in-turn encouraging replays, data collection and expanded engagement numbers.
4. Do you want to create an experience or an advert?
The biggest misstep a lot of marketers make when creating a game is simply putting together an interactive experience.
When those same marketers create great content, they aim to appeal to the audience first and foremost through asking themselves the question "What interests, questions or desires am I addressing with this content?" So why would you not apply the same logic to game campaigns?
To cut straight through, if you are offering a game to your audience it needs to be fun and playable, it's that plain and simple. Consumers are already suspicious of brands in their entertainment space and don’t really appreciate intrusive advertising, if you’re not careful, you may end up giving them a negative experience of your brand rather than a positive one, in a feeble attempt to shove advertising down your audience’s throat in the form of a badly crafted game.
5. Establishing Brand Personality
All four points previous to this one in some way or another effect the type of content you wish to include within your game and in-turn what your brand image will look like upon engagement with the game.
Your Brand Personality will inform creative elements such as style, tone and emotional approach, because in the end, the success of your game campaign will ultimately come down to the kind of emotional response you can provoke in your audience and if the end result does not resonate or feel genuine to your brand’s preexisting personality, you’ve missed the mark somewhere along the way with developing the game.
6. How much do you want to spend?
Arguably the most important question, your budget will dictate whether the project is a unique build, or based on a pre-existing game template. A large scope, bespoke game can take longer to develop and obviously, the more man hours it takes to build, the more costly it’s likely to be.
For example Gamify’s game library is categorised into Basic, Standard and Premium games which can range from $4k-$8k for the game alone, based on a wide range of customisable elements, not to mention whatever additional promotional elements you wish to include in the campaign package. Whilst a unique build game can vary in price, depending on the hours and man power that goes into the creation of a completely fresh game template.
You may have an idea in your mind about the type of game you would like, but it may not match your budget and timeline.
7. Identify your Channel
Creating a game is all good and fine, but if you haven’t considered the most suitable media channel/s to use for promoting and playing your game campaign in order to attract and capture your audience, you could be shortchanging yourself. This may seem like a minor detail but an oversight in this area means you could be missing out on tapping into the most effective channel to gather data from. Examples of differing media channels include:
- Social media
Note: The channel/s you choose will be different depending on your business, target audience and goals.
8. Having a Content Calendar
With your channel/s mapped out and ready to go, you will find that when you begin sharing promotional content on various platforms, it can be difficult to maintain and stay on track. If you fall behind, miss a post or forget about a platform completely, it could ruin your entire campaign. Trying to remember what content to post and when can be a major stress. Sporadic posts and inconsistent messages may make your customers think you don’t really care about your online presence or campaign at all.
A lot of former clients tend to not have any plans towards promotional content around a game campaign let alone planning out a content calendar. Simply having a game existing out in the ether, means nothing. The old “If a tree falls in a woods…” saying comes to mind, except in this case, if a game exists on a website and no one is being provided game promotions, does it get played?
A content calendar can help you stay organised and ensure you’re posting the right information at the right time. Instead of needing to remember what day you should post something, you can view your content calendar each morning to see what should be scheduled for that day.
Furthermore, a content calendar allows you to see the big picture of your marketing process. You’ll know how each piece of content fits together to create the entire campaign.
9. Measuring your Results
The only way to know whether your campaign is working is to set KPIs and measure your results. Based on the goals you established early in the campaign’s creation, lay out what key performance indicators, or KPIs, you would like to measure. These KPIs should tell you whether you’re achieving your pre-determined goals.
Measuring your results can come in handy when it’s time to create your next marketing campaign. The data you collect during this campaign can help you create an even stronger campaign the next time around. The information you gather should identify what kind of content your audience likes, what ads were the strongest and whether you’re reaching your target audience.
Fortunately when it comes to Gamify’s marketing campaigns, our software system has been built to capture data and record all audience related analytics, on your end it is a simple case of identifying what success would look like from the outset of the campaign, so that you have a target to measure from.
10. Be Prepared to Make Changes
Sometimes, your first attempt at a gamification campaign isn’t right, and that’s okay. In many ways, marketing is a guessing game. You can analyse, measure and track, but it’s still sometimes difficult to know what your audience will connect with. If you find your gamification campaign isn’t coming close to achieving the goals you laid out, you need to be able to pivot.
Be prepared to shift your strategy if you see it headed in the wrong direction. Stay agile and aware of how your audience is reacting, but keep your team prepared to create new content and for to incorporate game updates if you think it’s necessary. Don’t waste time or money following through a marketing campaign that won’t bring the best returns.
Consider carefully where a game fits into your wider marketing plan, who’s it for and what would they like to play? What do you want to get out of your game in relation to your strategy and how much do you have to invest? These are all important points to think about and can be easily be overlooked in the excitement of commissioning a new game.
Whether you create a strong gamification campaign or not depends entirely on how well you know your audience and how much you prepare. If you simply create a campaign however you please, you won’t attract the right attention. But, if you take the time to think through what your target audience is doing, what they’re looking for and how you can help them, you’ll have a gamification campaign that grabs your user’s attention and consistently brings in new clients.
Don't stress, just keep to these marketing tips as guidelines and you'll do great.