[Posted by James Burr
Senior Presales Consultant, Neolane]
There has been a lot of buzz around the concept of ”Game-Based Marketing” or the “Gamification” of marketing programs recently. In this two-part blog post, we will explore what game-based marketing is all about and why you may want to consider incorporating it into your marketing programs.
What is game-based marketing?
Game-based marketing is the term used to describe the strategy of adding playful elements to a marketing campaign to increase brand engagement and motivate your target audience to discuss and promote your campaign. The advantage of using games as a motivator is evident when looking at how people introduce these elements into their everyday lives. As human beings, we seek out friendly competition and social bonds, and we often emit positive emotions when we succeed over our peers. By introducing gaming elements into a creative campaign, marketers can take advantage of the innate need to engage in play and the positive feelings that result from it.
In his book, “The Grasshopper,” philosopher Bernard Suits defines games as “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.” Gamification is the use of game elements to help stimulate your audience and engage them in play. It is important to understand that this isn’t about making your marketing campaign look like a game with the addition of points, achievements and other game “mechanics,” but it must include a core challenge and end goal for your audience to achieve.
DID YOU KNOW? Forrester predicts interactive marketing spend will rise to $54 billion by 2015. Split between game style interaction and social media marketing.
Why is it important?
As Seth Godin states, “No one cares about you, no one wakes up every day caring for your brand”. Game Based Marketing provides a marketer with a further set of tools and introduces opportunities to market to and better engage with your target audience.
Increasingly, brands have been struggling to determine the best ways to turn a passive audience into a loyal customer base. In an age where consumers are besieged by brand messages, game-based marketing can help set your brand apart, improve interactions with consumers and turn sideliners into active, engaging participants.
DID YOU KNOW? 2011 saw the first Gamification Summit in San Francisco
What traditional game play elements can you use?
Successful gamification embraces principles of traditional games that allow customers to achieve goals and share their successes and failures with their personal network. Some concepts that can help construct a campaign are:
- Games that link location to achievements. If your brand relies on foot traffic to a physical location, consider awarding achievements for completing tasks at these locations;
- Games that reward humanitarianism. Solving other people’s issues within the context of your brand can be a great evangelistic tool. You can also reward your fans for helping others, which can promote your brand in a positive way;
- Augmented reality or conventional games that require collaboration between your fans and followers to compete. Be aware that making the challenge too easy and awarding points or achievements too graciously will dilute your game and promote boredom. A balance should be struck between challenge and reward.
DID YOU KNOW? Gamers have spent a collective total of 5.93 million years playing the popular online game World of Warcraft and on average play for 17 hours a week.
Tune in next week to learn the important first steps for developing a successful game-based marketing campaign. In the meantime, please share some examples of what you believe to be noteworthy game-based marketing campaigns.