I’m going to take a quick, unofficial poll — if you have played some sort of game on your phone today, raise your hand.
Why did you pull your phone out and start playing that game? I’m guessing because it was fun. If it wasn’t fun, you probably wouldn’t do it unless you wanted to get past a level, which is the other side of gamification: competition. People will do things to win, even when it isn’t as much fun as it was in the beginning.
Those two factors, fun and competition, are effective in marketing because they create engagement. The fact that you are doing something because it’s rewarding in some way goes past “playing a game” and into areas like education and marketing. The rewards that motivate us aren’t always tangible prizes but they are always something we want.
What Do People Want?
Here’s where knowing your customers really helps, because you should have an idea about what they want already. If you haven’t developed an empathy map and buyer personas, your marketing doesn’t have a focus. But this is a general idea:
- People want to feel important enough to have a choice — let them customize the experience in some fashion
- People want to feel rewarded for their behavior — let them win somehow
- People want to feel connected to their tribe — let them see how they fit in the big picture
Your customers may not be the kind of people who play games on their phones. But they are people who want to have fun somehow and be rewarded with a “win” when they put some effort into engagement. Your marketing may use games, or it may be something entirely new. The kind of gamification that works for your marketing won’t be exactly like what works for everybody, but it will work for your business because you know your people.