Got Game? Why Game-Based Technology is Gaining Speed
Gamification is the concept of taking game-like experiences and applying them in non-game settings to educate, entertain, create interaction and add value. For years, game designers have employed multiple techniques to engage users. The thrill of positive feedback, rewards for progress, and a community of users are all game techniques that are popping up in business, healthcare and education.
Here are a few examples of how gamification is being used:
- Mint.com takes the dullness out of tracking your budget and expenses by creating an engaging user-experience through a variety of goal trackers and visual breakdowns.
- The traffic app Waze employs elements of gamification to create a community of drivers who are motivated to supply information by earning ranks and badges.
- The Starbucks Rewards program lets customers earn stars with every purchase and climb the ranks of ‘loyalty’, which provides rewards including free drinks and food.
- The U.S. Army has created a promotional/recruiting tool whereby users can sign up and download a free game which tests their strategic skills to see if they’re soldier material.
- One local example is Price Chopper’s Bags2Riches game, where shoppers earn stamps with purchases and unlock the ability to earn prizes.
Gamification is not necessarily about creating something new, but rather about amplifying the effect of an existing experience by applying the motivational techniques that make games so engaging. Interested in testing out gamification in your own marketing plan? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add an element of surprise to your existing loyalty program. When your customer fills up a loyalty card, they get to choose from a prize box with prizes more unique than just a free drink.
- Reward loyalty by offering your best customers the opportunity to earn points with purchases that will ‘unlock’ special privileges like private events or tastings.
- Create a scavenger hunt and hide clues on your website or in your store. Encourage customers to play the game and decode the clues.
- Allow customers to earn rewards when they purchase and share their purchase on social media tagging your brand.
Whatever game-like elements you add to your strategy, remember to keep your focus on the customer experience and your rewards will multiply.