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Gamification as a marketing tool

Gamification and marketing

Gamification as a marketing tool

It sounds like a typical marketing buzzword: gamification. As the name suggests, it is about using game mechanisms within your marketing campaigns and strategies. The phenomenon has existed for a while and really took off from the beginning of this decade. It is still seen as an emerging trend that is in development. We constantly look for new applications and new ways to effectively deploy gamification.

What is gamification?

If you put this question to a number of different people, you probably get answers that differ widely. For example, experts have a very narrow definition. According to them, gamification is the use of game elements in a non-game context. They explicitly emphasize that there must be separate game elements. A fully-featured game is definitely not included in their definition, even when such a game is applied for marketing or within another non-entertainment context. A full game is officially named under the denominator serious game.
Yet, you see that managers and marketers have a slightly broader definition. Everything in a game or gaming matters in practice appears to be associated and counted into gamification.

How does it work?

The use of game elements ensures the audience a number of effects. First of all, it gives fun, but also establishes commitment and engagement. Gamification is therefore particularly interesting in areas of application where engagement plays an important role. Two major sectors that can benefit from this are marketing and education. As for the game elements that are used for this, you can think of scores and specific missions, but extended also into lots of competitions or quizzes. In a social sharing strategy, ranking and reward are mechanisms that are important to make the game element attractive and motivating. Promoting sharing also provides the necessary word-of-mouth advertising.

The power of gamification in marketing lies in creating an intrinsic motivation to promote bonding with your brand. You can also think of using extrinsic motivation, such as a reward in the form of a discount code. But the great thing about gamification is that it’s really not necessary. It is based on the human competitive drive, and the desire for status. In addition, the playful character causes the audience to feel that they perform certain actions without coercion. This gives a positive attitude towards your brand.

Tips to get started with gamification

  • Always start by formulating goals. It’s tempting to come up with game elements right away because it’s fun. But no matter how much fun it is, gamification must lead somewhere and is not an end goal in itself.
  • From your general goals (for example, increasing brand awareness) you formulate concrete and measurable behaviours which needs to be triggered by the public (for example, sharing your messages via social media).
  • Determine who the target audience. Of course, the target group influences the type of game or game elements that can be used most effectively.
  • Keep it concise. Gamification is a marketing tool that mainly takes place online, and the attention span of your visitors is very limited. So do not try to set up a whole game world with a long story. Go for short, crisp challenges and concentrate on the repeatability of these challenges. For example, by keeping a track of scores and ranking you make sure players return to defend and improve their position.
  • Grow in your strategy, especially move with the times. First of all, technology is constantly changing, but also your audience changes and continues to search for more and more new incentives. Keep an eye on these developments and adjust your strategy to stay innovative and ahead of the game!
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