Believe it or not, the notion of playing games has been around for quite some time. From rudimentary Egyptian board games to the early days of electronic video games, such as PONG, the competition and desire to achieve pre-determined goals that comes with playing games is programmed in our DNA. And as childish as it sounds, marketers are looking at this ever-growing obsession to drive customer engagement and participation within their own brands.
Today, the term is commonly referred to as “gamification,” and can be defined as incorporating game elements into every-day, non-game activities. We’ve seen it before with such companies as Foursquare and Gowalla. Users are awarded badges, ribbons and points for achieving specific “check-ins,” typically when they visit a brick and mortar store or other business establishment. Participants are then able to compare their own stats with their friends and the rest of the online community, thus generating competition. But how can you leverage this element of gaming in your small business?
Boost Employee Efficiency
Keeping your employees motivated during the spring can be a bit of a challenge. With the sun shining and the temperatures warming up employees’ minds can easily wonder. Try incorporating some gamification techniques into your office’s daily routine. For example, create a point and badge system for your sales team. Once so many points have been accumulated, award the employee with the appropriate badge representing their accomplishment. Remember to make this system public, so all of the members of the sales team will be motivated to achieve the highest rank. The idea is to have fun with it. Generating a fun yet challenging game will yield you and your business the best return.
Increase Engagement at Trade Shows
Planning on attending a trade show soon? Try using gaming tactics to engage with potential customers. This could be as simple as rewarding attendees with points for listening to industry-related sessions or by completing assigned tasks once they’ve visited your booth. After the show, they can log-in to your website, deposit the points they’ve accrued and earn coupons or discounts for your products or services.
Generate Brand Advocates
Word-of-mouth marketing has never been more important than it is today. Generate your own brand advocates by tapping into your circle of fans and using gamification techniques. Before your fans start shouting your name, you have to give them a reason. For example, create a reward system for the most loyal customers. When a fan has generated so many “points” (purchases) and shares it within their social network, they will be rewarded with discounts for future products. Encouraging competition within your circle of fans is one of the best ways to increase brand loyalty.
The practice of gamification is becoming a major game-changer for many small businesses, but it’s important to keep your overall end goal in mind. Do not jump into gamification and begin implementing tactics without first listing your objectives. It’s a practice that can certainly deliver impressive returns if done properly. Have you begun experimenting with gamification for your small business? Let us know how you’ve implemented its techniques into your marketing campaign.
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