WebMarCom Blog: Focus on Web Marketing Communications

New Marketing Methods - What Is Gamification Marketing?

Posted by Jody Raines

gamification marketingWith generation "C" for connected, there comes a new challenge for marketers.  That is, how to address this very video-game oriented generation along with the GenY's and GenX's.   Appealing to this generation should include marketing strategies which take into account the psychology of motivation as well as the realization that this is a generation that receives and processes information faster and better.

Take a look at any college campus.  It's unusual to see a student who doesn't have a smart phone.  The Connected generation has mastered the dexterity of texting with rapidity that has older generations astounded, and they expect to be connected at all hours and times of the day.

Breaking through the clutter of inbound information becomes a strategic challenge.  Not only must the marketing effort have 'value', but it must be perceived to be 'fun'.

Gamification marketing is the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts.  It's the wave of the future for human resources departments and organizational change initiatives as well a marketing campaigns.  Using game elements sounds simple, but it's not as easy as it appears - the challenge is defining the activities that you want to encourage and to create a program that reinforces those behaviors and encourages participation.

With the growing recognition of "gamification" as a marketing technique, comes also the realization that games that are well constructed can be powerful.  There are many examples of gamification situations that have been successful but there are many many more examples of unsuccessful attempts.  For example - GoWalla and Foursquare represented 'gamification' activities that both focus on locations.  Gowalla was touted as the better designed program and they actually landed Disney as a partner.  Eventually GoWalla was purchased by Facebook and in March of 2012, GoWalla was officially history.   Foursquare continues on, with over 20 million users.  Compare this to the 900 million plus users on Facebook, 555 million users on Twitter or the 170 million on Google+ (source - Tweetsmarter) and you can see that while it has a following, it's not one of the top three social networks.

In order for gamification to succeed and make sense, it must take into account the psychology of why people become addicted to Angry Birds or Mafia Wars.  Part of that is the engagement with others.

PopChips Klout PerkSome successful marketing campaigns are made even more successful through careful strategic engagement.  Case in point - Klout is a method of determining social influence of an individual through social media channels.  Recently, I received a Klout Perk which was surprisingly excellent.  Klout offers participants that meet certain criteria an incentive called a 'perk'. In this case, the perk was offered by Pop Chips. To promote their brand, PopChips offered a perk or gift that included a neat backpack, water bottle, samples of their chips, and a speaker.  Receiving this was a neat surprise and of course, I had to tell the world through Tweeting and posting just how neat of a gift it was!  How much this word of mouth advertising is worth to Popchips is incalculable - but I know that if someone asks me about them, I will share that I am a fan!  

In some ways, Klout represents the gamification trend - you are rated and get points based upon your participation in social media outlets.  You don't have the opportunity to independently improve your score other than being more involved in social media channels.

Have you investigated utilizing gamification in your marketing endeavors?  What have you tried and what has worked for you?  What hasn't worked?   Do you have any examples you can share and tell what you liked or disliked about them? 

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Topics: gamification marketing, marketing strategy, klout score