Businesses rely on creative marketing strategies to reach their target customers. Gamified marketing has gained huge popularity in the last decade or so. With the surge in online marketing trends, gamification techniques have been found to be very effective in attracting customers.
Every marketing strategy is planned around the same objective- boost sales and bring revenues. Gamified marketing makes use of customer-oriented games to build brand loyalty, increase sales and create more connections.
Additionally, gamification, when used in sync with the marketing objectives of a brand, helps in accumulating consumer data, enhance engagement, and promote repeat business opportunities. Experts believe that gamified strategies have the potential to become an integral part of brand marketing plans.
The article walks you through the working process of gamification techniques, and the key tips to use while planning your gamified marketing strategies.
How does gamification work?
Gamification derives its inspiration from games and the factors that make games so compelling in the first place. Key gamification tools like challenges, rewards, feedbacks are the mechanics that work towards achieving marketing objectives as well.
Gamified marketing is hence the art of using your customer’s behavioral patterns and interests into fun games that eventually help you move up the sales ladder.
All gamified systems can be classified into the following primary tools:
- Game aesthetics and visuals (to create the first point of interest)
- Rewards, Points, and Badges
- Comparison leaderboards
- Motivation, learner engagement, and re-engagement.
So how do gamified marketing strategies actually work?
One theory suggests that incentives help people to return back to the games and make extra efforts. This further strengthens the marketing strategies, win customers and helps drive sales.
Games help in syncing action and awareness with the identified goals. Additionally, they create a sense of motivation by creating apt opportunities for rewards and competition. This further works to create marketing opportunities while increasing customer engagement and brand loyalty.
Gamified marketing strategies- Key Tips
Following are some key gamified marketing strategy tips to help you get on track:
1. Integrate gamification and marketing goals
The first step in integrating marketing plans with gamification is to identify the business targets, the planned outcomes and the success metrics that you want to address.
List out realistic and achievable targets that can be measured via gamification techniques. This can be done by analyzing player behavior and analytic tools like Google Analytics.
Gamification techniques can then be used to create sales incentive programs with catchy game concepts that drive player engagement and help in boosting sales.
As an important word of caution, it is best to start your gamified marketing journey with short and simple games. Overcomplicated a process is a common gamification mistake that must be avoided, at least at the beginner levels. Small quizzes/challenges with simple reward systems will help you test the users’ response to the game as well as the brand.
2. Understand your potential customers
One of the key marketing techniques is to identify your target audience right at the start point. The rule stays the same for gamified marketing. Determining the potential customer’s behavioral patterns and designing a game that is appealing is essential.
Consider the choices of your target audience in terms of games, attention spans, rewards, recognition, etc. Other factors like customer age group, demographics, etc are also important to consider. Yung crowds, for example, may have different game preferences than the mid-age groups.
Finally, researching your consumer’s pain points, desired solutions is important to design an ideal gamified experience that caters to their needs while they have fun.
3. Determine the reward/incentive system
Incentives, rewards, and freebies are the key attractions of a game. Consider your rewards as well as their levels carefully. Promotional brand coupons, new product samples, special discounts, etc have proven to work great when it comes to gamified marketing.
Games that engage the customers and encourage them to go for the next level, while offering a brand-based reward at each step are a huge success.
4. Keep it simple, yet creative
While it is true that an overly easy game will create boredom amongst players, an exceptionally complex one will force them to abandon it too soon. With short attention spans of the millennial generation, it is important to create game designs that are catchy, yet simple to grasp.
Within the principles of gamified marketing, it is important to create small steps within a game that are linked to rewards at each level. Ensure that the gamification levels are neither too difficult, nor too boring.
Needless to say, each gamification step should be well synced with the overall marketing goals of the company.
A furniture brand game, for example, could ask the players to play the role of a carpenter and choose the best wood, designs, techniques, and tools to create a unique furniture piece. The player may be asked to move through different levels, earning store discount coupons as rewards for successfully passing each step.
5. Add the fun element
Games should always be fun. That’s how the science behind gamification principles works.
Irrespective of whether your business has fun elements in it, add some interesting ideas to your gamified marketing plans. Remember, customers are people first. And everyone likes to have fun!
Plain advertising can sometimes be too intimidating. Adding a fun gamification element helps create a light environment while still being focused around the marketing objectives. Make use of key gamification techniques like competitions, challenges, rewards, badges, etc.
Gamified Marketing examples that hit the mark
Various leading brands have successfully used gamified marketing techniques to drive their sales. Here are some popular examples of marketing success stories created using gamification techniques:
1. Starbucks Rewards App– used gaming incentives (stars) to encourage users to pay for transactions using their smartphone.
2. M&Ms by Mars- the new pretzel flavored M&Ms were launched using an eye-spy game (finding a Pretzel guy hidden amongst M&Ms)
3. Chipotle- used gamified marketing techniques to promote the brand’s ethical food sourcing principles.
4. L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius– the gamification techniques adapted by the company make use of smartphone features to allow users to try different cosmetics.
5. Target’s wish list- made use of gamified marketing to create an interactive shopping list (planned on a 3D animated game) focused on children and holiday season.
Gamified marketing is a new concept (at least for now!). That said, various brands have successfully tested the tool and have applied it to their products and services. With the growing popularity of social media and mobile advertising, gamified marketing is bound to see new peaks.
Organizations willing to take the leap will see the benefits of using simple and inexpensive gaming techniques to create huge sales growth, brand awareness, and increased customer loyalty.