If you’re thinking about a gamification strategy, Darren Steele‘s four steps could help with your next marketing campaign. The strategic director of Mindspace and co-author of the gamification book gives marketers the following advices:
1. Decide on the right opacity
Do you want this to actually feel like a game for your customers or do you want game mechanics buried deep enough that your target may not realize why the experience is so compelling? Many game mechanics are those hidden hooks in video games that tap into psychological triggers that drive behavior. You can apply these same hooks to a marketing campaign for any audience, whether they are into traditional video games or not.
2. Break up information into smaller pieces
The way complex games draw you into an experience without a 50-page manual is by giving you the minimal amount of information you need to proceed to the next clear step. Marketers could apply this to their over-done emails or portal-heavy websites by giving consumers only a bite-sized amount of information. This is the gaming mechanic known as cascading information theory.
3. Do something with Likes and Followers
Social media hit like a tidal wave a few years back and left virtually every business trying to quickly figure out how to leverage new tools before getting left behind. Now that the hype has subsided, brands are saying, “I accomplished my goal of 100,000 Facebook likes and now what?”
When applying gamification to social media, marketers shouldn’t limit themselves to badges and leader board, but more sophisticated levels of gamification instead. Actually, social channels should be used as the starting point to realize certain desired behaviors from consumers, like e.g. opting into email or making a purchase. As a starting point, experiment with a creative dashboard that rewards desired social and purchase behaviors, as it provides your target with recognition, the satisfaction of accomplishment, and a fun form of feedback. Again, this doesn’t have to be expensive or take a long time to implement, and it’s a great way to start taking social followers and getting them into your funnel.
4. Match incentives with engagement
Games and research into human psychology have taught us that people are happier when they earn something, rather than when it is given to them. Instead of giving your customers rewards, make them earn them. The more they engage, the bigger the rewards. For instance, watching a one-minute video earns them a 5% discount you might have given away without requiring any action. Following the call to action at the end of the video earns them a 10% discount. If you combine these rewards with the creative dashboard example above, you have introduced a meta-game. A meta-game is an umbrella that ties mini-games or game mechanics together.
So instead of exchanging a white paper for an email address in isolation, consider asking for three behaviors, having three rewards, and measuring them all in a dashboard featured prominently on the site. This also works beautifully with customer retention and loyalty campaigns. As your gamification gets more sophisticated, you can introduce economies, where your target earns points, coins, or some other currency by performing desired behaviors. Then let them use that currency to unlock a variety of rewards.
Last but not least, Darren Steele reminds us that gamification isn’t just video games with our logo in the corner, and it isn’t just for people who play games. Like any good marketing effort, we have to define the reaction we want to achieve from customers and the measurable end result.