Between the complete saturation of marketing that consumers deal with on a day-to-day basis, and the overflow of local business competing against your marketing efforts. Is it any wonder that most business fall into a stream of mediocrity and forgetful marketing.
If your brand is to have any chance at holding the interest of potential customers, you’re going to have to create unique and engagement-worthy content. One way brands are driving engagement and cutting through the noise is with gamification marketing. This option helps you promote your brand while creating a fun experience for customers.
What Is Gamification Marketing?
Gamification Marketing is when a brand uses game elements within a more traditional marketing context. For example, a popular game template could be used to promote a new product or service while offering attainable rewards that have proven to be used, valued and shared more so in comparison to generic handouts other traditional means of advertising often tag onto the end of their campaigns.
McDonald’s now annual Monopoly campaign is a great case of gamification being applied to a marketing effort. What was meant to be a one-off campaign was so successful that it is now an ongoing campaign every year.
Gamification taps into competitive human nature. Winning makes people feel good, and they’re more likely to engage with a brand if they have a chance of winning something.
Online, brands tend to use games in the form of quizzes, contests, and challenges to get audiences involved. We all know that the use of mobile devices isn’t just becoming a common practice among people of all ages but a rather strongly incorporated tool in all facets of our day-to-day lives and that gaming statistics have only increased alongside mobile usage.
With over 87% of Australian’s playing video games approximately three times a week (average age of an Australian gamer being 35 with 52% being male and 48% female). With the help of gamification marketing, companies can reach this market and grow their sales and revenue by meeting their customer’s where their interest and attention is already being invested.
The team at Convince and Convert report that at least 70% of the top 2,000 largest companies in the world have deployed at least one gamified application in the last year.
1. Set Goals Beforehand
There are multiple ways your brand can take advantage of gamification marketing, but you don’t want to move forward without a strategy.
Is your Gamified Marketing Campaign designed for the purpose of educating clients on a new product or service? Creating hype around the brand? Selling more units of a product or simply creating awareness? Having one clear priority helps give the campaign direction.
You would be surprised how often Brands feel the need to launch a marketing campaign, yet never take the time to identify what it is they hope to achieve. Simply making noise in the hopes of staying front of mind with your customer base is not a long term conscious goal.
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.
If you start with a goal in mind, you can work backward and create games, quizzes, and contests that work toward that goal instead of creating a game and hope it benefits your organisation.
2. Campaign duration and long-term sales efforts
When it comes to campaign timing, not only when to launch a campaign is important but also how long the duration of the campaign will be.
Gamify’s recommended timeframe for most campaigns sits around the 6 week mark, this allows enough time to promote a following but not enough time for the campaign to grow stale.
You want your users to feel a sense of urgency when participating in the campaign, if they feel that they have all the time in the world to engage with the competition, they may put off and lose their opportunity all together.
You might be tempted to throw out a social media contest in the name of engagement, but you need to make sure this process helps your sales goals as well. For example, your social media contest could be used to grow your email list and collect customer data.
Your email or website gamification contest should move customers closer to buying your products.
While engagement is an essential part of the marketing process, the long-game should lead to increased sales and revenue for your brand.
3. Keep It Simple
Since the primary purpose of gamification is to achieve desired outcomes through a designated pathway, game mechanics should be simple and straightforward. You don’t want to complicate matters with point systems that are hard to comprehend or leaderboards that involve a complex set of rules and criteria.
Look for easy ways to add gamification to your content and slowly roll out small prizes. Customers run mental risk/reward comparisons when faced with challenges. If your contest or game requires too much thought to figure out or work to submit an entry, then most people will move on, leaving your contest untouched and engagement levels low.
Keep it as basic as possible so that users know how to earn the rewards and why they’re important. Gamification doesn’t need to be complicated in order for it to work, in fact, gamification experts have advocated for the simplicity of gamification.
This is particularly important for retailers just starting out with gamification marketing. You will be learning the ropes along with your customers. The harder you make it for them, the harder you make it for you.
Gamification is designed to increase engagement and desired results, if your game mechanics are getting in the way and hindering the outcome you may need to look at how you can simplify the process.
4. Promotion across relevant mediums/Create relevant content
Gamification marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. What works to drive engagement on social media channels might stall on your website or in-store efforts. As you launch your gamification campaign, you should be mindful of where your target audience will be and what kind of content they will respond to.
Facebook, having a Search Engine like structure is still the leading Social Media titan. Most businesses, having both a Facebook account and page, makes for the platform being a great space to reach out to followers and inform them of a live campaign.
Due to Facebook’s ownership, the same goes for Instagram. Businesses are tapping in to reaching customers through their love of visual-based bite-sized content.
Twitter, while still having its own market is unfortunately the least of these platforms. Still having the ability to format its promotional posts to look like either Facebook or Instagram posts, it simply just does not have the same numbers as the previous two.
That being said, the target market can change up which social platforms you wish to utilise, for example, Gamify has had previous campaigns based in Japan where Twitter was by far the superior form of promotional reach.
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.
5. Offer In-Store Gamification
Not all of your marketing efforts should target customers before they reach your brick-and-mortar location. Location-based marketing promotes your brand to customers while they are in your building and actively engaging with your brand.
When it comes to building atmosphere, some stores just want to have people present (think about how much more enticing a place looks when people are inside as opposed to an empty store). That is why certain chains and independent cafes/restaurants have adopted in-store competition as a means of keeping butts in seats.
Gamification is a fun way to get customers to engage with your business, pass the time, and form deeper brand loyalty. It comes with the added bonus of allowing you to collect valuable customer data that helps you learn about and connect with shoppers and clients.
With prizes like discounted future visits or freebies. These games can be played on customer phones or in-store mounted tablets/kiosks positioned in line. Having in-store leaderboards seems to only further stimulate the competition amongst customers. These games are an immediate way to incorporate a social element to a customer’s visit to a store location, and improve that all-important first impression of the property.
Challenge your customers with games when they’re at your business using interactive touchscreens, digital signage, and free customer Wi-Fi. In-store Leaderboards are another example of encouraging your customer base to get involved.
In-store gamification is also a more effective way to distribute coupons to customers that they’re more likely to redeem (ever noticed how many handouts go into the nearest bin?).
Enjoyability is now a vital KPI for most businesses. It’s what sets apart the ordinary from the unforgettable. With this new focus on enjoyability, gamification is helping companies to uncover new sets of data that most industries haven’t thought to analyse yet, they’re finding new approaches to differentiate their properties in a crowded field, and they’re discovering new ways to surprise and delight guests.