Gamification Marketing For Dummies book cover

Gamification Marketing For Dummies

Author:
Zarrar Chishti
Published: October 6, 2020

Overview

Grow your customer base with games!

Gamification is the practice of adding elements of gameplay into marketing materials to better engage customers. In Gamification Marketing For Dummies, you’ll learn to use this proven strategy to capture the attention of your target markets and boost your results using valuable gamification data.

Games are fun! That’s why gamification is so successful—customers will jump at the chance to play and win your custom-developed marketing game. You’ll connect with your customers and create lasting memories. Whether or not you are digitally savvy, this book will teach you the basics of gamification, from choosing the right game to capturing the user behavior data that the game generates.

  • Use games to increase customer engagement and marketing results
  • Learn how to choose or commission the right games for your market
  • Plan and execute a successful gamification strategy
  • Learn from data generated inside your game for valuable market insights

From simple strategies like customer loyalty programs to complex, branded, social game apps, this book will point in the direction of gamification that works for you.

Grow your customer base with games!

Gamification is the practice of adding elements of gameplay into marketing materials to better engage customers. In Gamification Marketing For Dummies, you’ll learn to use this proven strategy to capture the attention of your target markets and boost your results using valuable gamification data.

Games are fun! That’s why gamification is so successful—customers will jump at the chance to play and win your custom-developed marketing game. You’ll connect with your customers and create lasting memories. Whether or not you are digitally

savvy, this book will teach you the basics of gamification, from choosing the right game to capturing the user behavior data that the game generates.

  • Use games to increase customer engagement and marketing results
  • Learn how to choose or commission the right games for your market
  • Plan and execute a successful gamification strategy
  • Learn from data generated inside your game for valuable market insights

From simple strategies like customer loyalty programs to complex, branded, social game apps, this book will point in the direction of gamification that works for you.

Gamification Marketing For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Gamification marketing can significantly change your marketing for the better—you just have to know how to harness it. The thing is, not all gamification marketing campaigns are created equal, so you need to know why campaigns succeed (and why they don’t). Remember that protecting your campaign from hackers is a critical part of its success. [caption id="attachment_273428" align="alignnone" width="556"] © Somjai Jathieng / Shutterstock.com[/caption]

Articles From The Book

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Marketing Articles

How to Build Seasonal Gamification Marketing Campaigns

Your gamification marketing campaign may not appeal to your audience year-round. Consider having a rebranded version of your campaign with a seasonal theme, such as for the holiday period. Holiday marketing is an exciting experience, but it’s also incredibly competitive. As other marketing teams around the world are scrambling to think of how they’re going to celebrate the festive season, you’ll have a campaign locked and loaded and ready to go. Think about rolling out holiday marketing slogans into your campaign that tap into the warm and happy feelings your audience will have at that time of the year. Your gamification reward options don’t need to change, but your designs can be instantly transformed to create the seasonal theme, as shown. For instance, your badges can have a very simple holiday makeover during the festive period.

Whatever seasonal strategy you decide on, you need to keep in mind that your campaign will be facing a lot of competition for your audience’s attention. Your audience will be distracted with family, celebrations, and every other company launching its own holiday campaign. That means that almost every one of your competitors will be looking for a way to distract your audience and grab their attention.

The key to success is to separate yourself from the rest of the noise. Try to avoid simply becoming part of the holiday collections, and instead find a way for your holiday gamification marketing campaign to connect with your audience through emotion, excitement, and experience. You can do this by connecting the festive feelings into a road map for the user’s journey. Your company will have a different experience to showcase during the holiday season than everyone else. Translate this to your team to build into the gamification model so that this uniqueness will differentiate your campaign.

Here are some strategies you should consider when developing your holiday-themed gamification marketing campaign.

Create anticipation

Building up to the event is what the holidays are all about. When you make your audience anticipate the launch of your holiday campaign, they’ll naturally feel happier when they finally get to engage with the campaign. Some of the best holiday marketing ideas focus on the buildup of excitement. The Google Santa Tracker, shown, is a great example of building excitement. By releasing new Santa content every day of December, Google got its audience noticing its brand.

Building anticipation isn’t just about building excitement for the big day; it’s also about building excitement for your campaign.

Giving back

At the holidays, people feel compelled to give back. Your holiday gamification marketing campaign can take advantage of this feeling, by offering your audience an experience so valuable that they feel compelled to give you something back. If your campaign delivers a rewarding and engaging experience, your audience will
  • Come back next year because they’ll feel a sense of loyalty to your holiday campaign
  • Share it on all their social media platforms and advocate for it personally in their posts
  • Feel compelled to engage with your company’s products and services

Make 'em feel festive

When designing your holiday-themed campaign, make sure you leave your audience feeling happy and festive. If you do this, the audience will be more likely to engage with your campaign and go on to purchase your company’s products or services.

Capitalize on the seasonal sentiment. For most people, the holiday season is a joyous time of year. After all, the end of December means more time off work, memories made with family, and of course, giving and receiving presents. People feel more uplifted and excited in general, so your campaign should amplify these feelings.

Create urgency

Your holiday-themed campaign should leave your audience feeling as though they’re missing out on something special if they don’t immediately engage with it. You can do this by displaying a very visible countdown timer that displays when your campaign will come to an end. The timer will prompt people to stop dithering over decisions and start taking action. If you can design your holiday strategy with a clear expiration date, you can appeal to your audience’s sense of urgency, which will inspire them to engage and purchase. The best holiday-themed gamification marketing campaigns are the ones that recognize the finite state of the festive period and make sure the audience appreciates the urgency of engaging immediately.

Personalize your content

When building your holiday-themed gamification campaign, think about how you can create content that your audience will want to share with their network. Typically, people will place a larger sense of value on things that they can personalize. Office Depot/OfficeMax’s ElfYourself, shown, is a great example of this. Office Depot/OfficeMax gave its audience the chance to create a completely customized experience, which could then be shared easily on all social media platforms. This helps your company to develop a stronger emotional connection between your brand and your audience. Another popular example is the Oreo Design a Pack campaign, which tweeted out an invitation to design and personalize a pack of Oreos for friends and family members.

Marketing Articles

Build Loyalty Rewards into Your Gamification Model

When you are designing a gamification marketing campaign, you need to build loyalty rewards into the gameplay. After you’ve designed on the perfect game for your audience, you’ll need to keep them coming back and playing the game. You certainly want them to play your game more than once, and not just leave the campaign at the start of their gaming journey. By designing desirable loyalty rewards into your game, you’ll find that these players will be the ones who become your campaign’s best advocates, who will fuel your word-of-mouth marketing and ultimately attract other loyal players to your game.

Gamification marketing reward options

Rewards are the building blocks of all
gamification marketing campaigns. Your audience will play your game so that they can win something, competing against themselves or others. Their naturally competitive game-playing instincts will be invoked, so you can motivate them further into your campaign using clever reward options, like the following:
  • Points: Your audience wins redeemable points in the game. You can award points for positive actions and experiences within the game, as well as for things like providing feedback and sharing the campaign on social media. Starbucks uses multiple options, including points, to motivate and award its audience.
  • Badges: Badges are visual representations that confirm your audience’s achievements in the game. Think of badges as visual status symbols. Interestingly, badges can lead your audience to participate in certain challenges just so they can earn the associated badges. Makes sure the challenges are designed to fit your marketing objectives.
  • Leader boards: Allow your audience to see how their own success in the game ranks compared with everyone else with the use of leader boards. Leader boards can inspire more competition and show people which players have unlocked the most achievements. The desire to appear at the top, or even just be featured in the top ten, will drive your audience to earn more points, which will in turn drive them into deeper engagement.
  • Performance charts: A performance chart is a graphical view of the audience’s historical representation in the game. This will motivate a much longer playing term for each user because he’ll be shown his performance over time. Your audience will be motivated to keep playing new levels as they look to improve their chart.
  • Avatars: Avatars can be powerful for engagement. In more traditional platforms, users are encouraged to upload photo of themselves, but in gamification your audience will likely prefer to use an alter ego. Avatars are usually customizable cartoon models that represent a player in the game. Avatars can play a very critical role in the audience’s overall engagement because they become a part of a community, which can trigger more interest.

Gamification rewards and recognition

Think about interactive ways to use rewards for the game option you’ve selected so that your audience will have a positive experience while playing. Here are some rewards you’ll want to consider:
  • Fun: You want to introduce an element of fun into your gamification marketing campaign. This is especially true if your company or industry is not usually associated with fun and engaging campaigns. When done properly, your campaign can create a disruptive, fun, and engaging experience for your audience.
  • Competitiveness: You can easily do this by adding a competitive element such as a leaderboard. Another way is to award badges that rank their audience’s abilities. This is a great way to engage with your audience and provide good fun into your campaign.
  • Exclusivity: Who doesn’t love earning her way into an elite club? Giving a VIP experience as a reward makes your audience feel like they have a special relationship with your campaign and brand overall. This goes a long way toward building brand loyalty. A good way to achieve the goal of exclusivity is to encourage your audience to achieve particular goals (as in the Starbucks green or gold stars program).
  • Rewarding experience: Encouraging your audience to earn more rewards for a chance to redeem them against actual products or services can be a very powerful reason for them to keep coming back to your game. A lot of companies will, understandably, make scoring points difficult, which can potentially turn your audience off playing. However, you can counter this problem by making the process of redeeming rewards easy and attractive.
  • Added value: One of the disincentives of a loyalty program is the difficulty in obtaining reward points. You may find that many of your players will abandon the game just because it takes too long to earn rewards. With this in mind, you need to be more creative and reward nearly everything in your game. This should be done on a sliding scale, matching the value of the points with the value of the audience’s input. Also, keep in mind that with gamification, it’s possible to have different types of rewards for each action, ensuring that everybody wins.
  • Giving random rewards: By adding random rewards into your game, you’ll delight your audience and keep them engaged in the anticipation of more. Because everyone likes to win something, the fact that your audience is present and participating in your gamification marketing campaign is valuable enough to be rewarded.

Marketing Articles

Gamification Models

The success of your gamification marketing campaign will depend on whether the gamification model you’ve selected appeals to your core audience. Not every gamification model will be suitable to your audience. In fact, you may find that only one or two really resonate with them. Before deciding which model is right for you, you need understand how gamification models perform with various audiences. Learn how to match the right model with your intended audience. If more than one appeals to you for your campaign, you may want to consider jotting down the alternatives for future campaigns. Here’s a rundown of the various models:

  • Action: The key factor with action games is that everything has to be quick. These campaigns can be quick to develop, too, especially if you grab a white-labeled game already developed and tested. This means less development time and less cost overall.

The game itself should allow your audience to easily learn the controls, quickly get into the playing screen, and start collecting rewards. However, if you don’t provide these things quickly enough, your audience will be just as quick to leave your game.

To counter this high bounce rate, consider adding a leaderboard so you can create a competitive environment. In addition, when designing the game, make sure that the game’s mechanics aren’t too complicated and, instead, are intuitive for your audience.

  • Simulation: In development terms, simulation is almost the opposite of an action game. It takes much longer to design and develop, and it costs a lot more, too. But before you dismiss this option, think about the many success stories for simulation games! If you can create a niche virtual world for your campaign, a dedicated army of players will find their way to your game, eager to invest their time.

Audiences will invest their time in playing a good simulation game. You just need to make sure the game is designed with plenty of rewards and objectives so your users will keep playing. Simulation games require a lot of time during the storyboarding phase, to make sure you keep your audience interested.

  • Interactive storytelling: Interactive storytelling an exceptional option because it gives everyone a unique story experience, centered around your brand. The audience becomes hugely invested as they customize their experience. Typically, an interactive storytelling campaign will leave a more lasting impression than action games do. Of course, this all comes at a huge expense in terms of staff, development time, and ultimately cost.

Interactive storytelling campaigns can be extremely expensive and take many months to develop. The main costs will come from the custom and multilevel designs along with the expert advice required during the story-building development phase. However, your gamification marketing campaign can last for an entire quarter.

  • Adventure: I find adventure games to be an excellent hybrid of action, simulation, and interactive storytelling. They require your audience to be willing to invest a lot of their time. But if you execute the game correctly, the experience can be extremely rewarding for both the audience and your campaign.

Apart from the costs, the game usually requires your audience to invest their time to advance in the game and at the same time expose your branding. This can be done with consistent goals and objectives for the audience to continually achieve and aim for.

  • Puzzles: These types of games are used in gamification marketing campaigns that want to associate puzzle solving around their campaign. These types of games involve some form of problem-solving skill for your audience where your campaign’s message can be embedded into the logic, pattern recognition, or sequence solving. I find that it’s usually easier to source a white label solution due to the vast number of puzzle games available to buy from good developers.

To give the audience a reason to come back, it’s better to give a slightly unrealistic amount of time or attempts to solve the puzzle. Your campaign won’t be very effective if your audience manages to complete the game in one sitting.

  • Skill based: This is my personal favorite type of game option to use in a gamification marketing campaign. With skill-based games, the outcome is determined by the audience’s reactions, mental abilities, strategic thinking, or trivia knowledge. This type of game is easy to fit into almost any campaign because there is no rigid formula. This means that you can develop one of these types of games to suit most budgets. Spot the Ball (shown) is a good example of a skill-based game; players have to use their skill of looking at where all the players are looking to determine the location of the ball.

One favorable aspect of skill-based games is that there doesn’t necessarily need to be a right or wrong answer (as opposed to puzzles). Although this type of game mechanics falls into the “game of chance” category, players won’t see it as “gambling” as long as your campaign isn’t asking them to pay to play. With gambling or lotto-type games, users typically play a game that they have no control over. An example is a card-based game like blackjack. On the other hand, a skill-based game gives the user control by allowing him to use his skill to increase his chances of winning.

  • Multi-player: As the name suggests, a multi-player game allows more than one person to play in the same game environment at the same time. The game should allow your audience to compete against one or more human contestants as well as the computer.

I find it important to develop a multi-player game to allow audiences to partner up with other individuals instead of just competing against them. This provides the social communication element that’s missing from single-player games.

Interestingly, by using the latest HTML5 technology, this kind of game can be developed to be played locally (over a local network like an office). This allows your audience to create competitive environments without having to constantly open their connections to the Internet (a security concern for professional environments).

  • Educational: Usually dismissed as a game for educational establishments, this type of game is an extremely effective tool for any gamification marketing campaign. An educational game provides a useful way for your audience to learn something valuable about your product or business, all in an entertaining platform. The game should be educating your audience while they’re playing. At the end of the game, the audience should leave more educated on your business or product.

This type of game is especially successful if there is some aspect of your product or service that is being used wrongly or is being queried by your customers. Also, educational games can help educate audiences in instances where there is some service or value that your company provides that isn’t widely known.

  • Role playing: A role-playing game (RPG) is the least common type of game selected for gamification marketing campaigns. The audience controls the actions of a character immersed in a branded world. This world should be full of elements that are centered around your campaign’s objectives.
Many RPGs come from tabletop games, such as Dungeons & Dragons. Try to emulate and use much of the same game mechanics to create an engaging game. Depending on your budget, you can develop a game as simple as a text-based console entry game, all the way up to a 3D version that can be played on a virtual reality (VR) device. The table lists the strengths and weaknesses of various game models when used in gamification marketing campaigns.

Many companies discover that their marketing budget won’t cover the type of game they want to use. If that’s where you find yourself, don’t scale down the game to fit your budget. Instead, go for a cheaper game option and scale that game up with the remaining budget you have. If a game is scaled down, audiences will be able to tell right away. On the other hand, a less expensive game that has been upgraded in terms of design and development is more likely to be championed by audiences through social media channels.