Let Customers Play Games and Win Their Loyalty

Written by | Marketing Strategy

One of your earliest childhood memories probably involves playing games. From hopscotch to dodge ball to tag, you learned how to validate your performance by keeping score.

As an adult, you probably traded in that bouncing rubber ball for a rubberized case on your smart phone, but your love of competition hasn’t dwindled. And that’s what integrated marketers are betting on when they introduce game mechanics into campaigns to convince consumers to buy their products, endorse their brands and tout their achievements to their social networks.

Nothing but Blue Skies Reported for Gamification

The concept of “gamification” as an integrated marketing vehicle isn’t new. If you’re a business traveler, you probably belong to a frequent-flyer program. Airlines “gamified” flying in the 1980s by logging miles flown and awarding status levels to their customers. According to Jonah Berger, author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” frequent-flyer programs provide consumers with social currency. They get a reason to talk about their achievements, and brands gain credible buzz they can’t buy.

Flash forward to today and the ubiquitous prevalence of smart phones. We use our smart phones to run businesses, manage family schedules and find recommendations for the best “anything” in town. Brands are gamifying integrated marketing content by turning it into interactive games and apps. This trend of gamification is expected to increase by 90 percent by 2017, reports Mind Commerce.

Spur On Your Customers to Market Your Brand

One of the easiest ways to jump into the gamification trend is to launch a contest. If you’re looking for inspiration, visit the iconic brand Burberry and its “Art of the Trench” website. Burberry posted content from its archives — a montage of vintage photos as well as contemporary images — and invited its customers to submit photos of them wearing their own Burberry trench coats. Those selected bragged about their accomplishments. Burberry reported millions of website hits and a boost in sales of 50 percent during the campaign period.

“Instead of marketing itself directly, a company like Burberry uses the contest to get people who want to win to do the marketing themselves,” Berger explained.

Even Fun and Games Must Be Measured

Think back to those fierce games of Red Rover you played as a kid and counting your victories on the playground. Remember that feeling and inject it into any gamification initiative you launch. The most successful programs are based on simple game mechanics, and let customers publicize their victories and feel like brand insiders.

Here are three rules for the gamification of your integrated marketing:

  1. Play fast and hard. Let your customers get into the game quickly and earn an immediate reward.
  2. Reward for participation. Once the initial thrill of the game wears off, you need to give customers frequent rewards to keep them interested and note their achievements.
  3. Benchmark performance. People like to compete. Include in your game ways for participants to show off their achievements, such as earning badges or recognition on Facebook.

 

Last modified: July 17, 2017

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