How do you rise above the overcrowding market to engage with a growing consumer audience?
Make a game out of it.
More and more, marketers are turning to gamification in order to drive consumer motivation and shape consumer behavior. Playing a game stimulates the creative, playful and competitive spirit in most of us, so marketers are catering to that spirit by incorporating game mechanics into their product, including point accumulation, badges, ranking systems and even prizes.
One of the earliest and most widely popular gamification’s incorporates an actual game into their service.
McDonald’s has been holding its annual Monopoly promotion since 1987, drawing larger crowds that boost their sales each year. Based on the classic board game, customers get a thrill out of the purchase in pursuit of the game tickets attached to their orders. As customers accumulate the traditional properties from the game, they can also win cash or free food, creating returning customers.
Today, we see gamification employed more often and more fluidly in digital or online products. LinkedIn has risen as a champion of integrating ranking systems in their site, making an otherwise boring idea competitive, appealing and relevant for everyone. Calling all users to complete their profile, the developers included a completeness bar for each user, bringing a sense of achievement as users build their profiles. They also added a bar measuring the strength of each profile, enticing users to keep coming back to improve their page until they’ve achieved perfection.
Waze is another product that influences users behavior. The GPS app goes beyond traditional navigation by enabling social components in order to create communities of drivers. Users are able to send updates of traffic and road conditions, police presence and other specific details through the app, and send thank you messages to other users who update traffic information. Users are also awarded points with each update.
As if finding love wasn’t a game already, social mobile app Tinder has made the online dating scene even more of a game. With nearly 50 million users, Tinder integrated a swipe system, where singles can swipe right or left to either “like” or “move” profiles they scroll through. In 2015, Tinder introduced the option to “swipe up” or tap a blue star icon on a profile to indicate a more vested interest, to “let that special someone know that they stand out from everyone else”. Boasting of 50 million users and over six billion matches since its 2012 launch, Tinder is a capstone service to the new gamified generation.
So how can you get in the game? How should you gamify what you have to offer?
Most importantly, know your audience. Don’t look to sell to any person you meet on the street; identify the ideal demographic for your product. It all begins with a targeted offensive in the right places with the right people
Do your research. See what others are doing; try their product; play the games that they’ve incorporated and see how they can fit into your strategy or work for your product. Consider incentives or rewards for your users, or even ask your target audience what they would like to receive from you. Give them a reason to play.
When you’re ready to dive into developing and implementing your gamification strategy, take baby steps. A complex game will scare your audience away. If they can’t figure it out, they’ll abandon it, so keep your gamification strategy as simple as possible.
And, of course, make it fun. It is a game, after all.