What if you used interactive gaming experiences for professional purposes? Think recruitment and training, customer engagement, or even brand image and product enhancement. Read this article to find out how and why gamification can help you with your marketing strategy.
Gamification is the process of integrating game elements to non-game situations to make them more enjoyable. In other words: you want to give hard and unfunny things the structure, the mechanics, or even the design of a game. Provided that it is well chosen and targeted, this concept can increase community engagement.
Why does gamification matter?
Gamification has increasingly become part of our daily lives, and its use is growing in the business world as well. Regardless of age, everyone loves games. They can get us to do just about anything and have a great motivational value. That’s what Volkswagen demonstrated with their “Piano stairs” experience in a subway station in Stockholm. They applied gamification to see whether fun could make more people take the stairs over the escalator, and it worked very well.
How does this apply to your marketing strategy?
There are many elements you can include in your strategy:
- Peer pressure and competition;
- A digital reward system: virtual money, points, badges, or real-world prizes, privileges, etc.
- A leaderboard, indicating the player’s level of achievement or rank.
Tip: Beware defeat should be taken lightly. Players must never feel ashamed to lose.
Gaming elements must stay fun and addictive. It will inspire engagement, and user engagement will in turn foster loyalty. The best example of this strategy lies in the “Miles & more” airlines loyalty cards. The most faithful customers earn points and receive benefits such as being allowed to a priority queue or upgraded to Executive Class. Customer loyalty programs and gamification are also frequently used in the retail sector. Which one of you doesn’t own at least a dozen of loyalty cards in their wallet?
Secondly, it’s an excellent way to create and manage a community. For example, Heineken created the gamified marketing campaign “Star Player” in an effort to try and make TV experience more social. They tapped right into the “dual screen” habit (the idea that you have your phone on or Facebook open while you’re watching TV). Through a free Facebook and mobile app, fans could react to the Champions League’s games in real time with their friends on social networks (comment critical moments, predict goals, etc.) to earn points.
Last but not least, gamification allows you to collect data. The app “Pain Squad” was designed by the Hospital for Sick Children in Canada to help children with cancer who are undergoing chimiotherapy treatment. It allows to track the pain and thus to collect important data about where it hurts, what’s causing the pain, or what makes it better or worse. At the same time, kids progress in a special police unit, which motivates them to complete the survey twice a day.
We all learn by games. And more importantly, gamification leverages motivation. All business can thus benefit from gamification techniques.