Gamified marketing can help you grow and maintain loyal customers by providing a fun experience for them to engage with your brand and products. In this guide, we will explain gamified marketing and how you can apply it to grow your brand.
What is Gamified Marketing?
Gamified marketing is a unique approach that involves infusing gaming elements like competitions, scoring systems, and ranking into a non-game context to attract or retain customers.
Simply put, it’s turning your marketing into a game-like environment to achieve a specific objective. Customers engage in a game that allows them to win something, and you get to promote your brand. Common gaming elements like earning in-game cryptocurrency, loyalty points, and ranking based on points increase user engagement and boost sales conversions.
Gamified marketing goes beyond getting consumer attention to gaining valuable data on your audience. You can offer exciting rewards to users in exchange for providing details, like names and email addresses, which you can then use in your lead-generation process.
Gamified marketing allows brands to access user-generated content. A customer using social media to share their gamified experience while using a branded product is an effective form of verbal marketing.
Best Gamified Marketing Trends
Let’s take a look at three gamified marketing trends you can consider for your brand marketing strategy.
Loyalty reward programs are gamified by design. They are a unique way to retain your customers by offering them incentives. The more money customers spend buying your products, the more points, stars, or rewards they can earn. They can then use these rewards to claim discounts on future purchases or cash out for special offers.
Web and Mobile App Games
Web games are popular and come in many forms. From simple ‘spin-the-wheel’ games to virtual scratch cards, you can have them pop up whenever customers access your site or click through to your products. The spin-to-win discount wheel rewards customers with coupons for providing their names and email addresses. On the other hand, you can cash in virtual cards for discounts and special offers.
Mobile app games can offer options to participate in challenges with friends, earn badges, and more. The apps incorporate social features that allow you to share your progress and achievements on social media.
Digital badges can bring back users to your brand with the promise of unlocking new levels and earning trophies. The trophies can be tied to a discount or some other benefit.
How to Create a Gamification Marketing Strategy for Your Brand
Integrating gamified marketing into your product requires you to have a well-thought-out strategy. Below, we go through the essential steps to successfully implement gamification for your brand.
Define Your Objectives
The first step to formulating any marketing strategy is in identifying your goals. You must be clear if gamified marketing will help you achieve these business goals. Some of the goals you may be looking to achieve include improving user engagement, generating leads, increasing sales conversions, higher brand visibility, customer retention, and more.
By knowing your goals beforehand, you can ensure that your gamification approach is deliberate and is designed to have the most impact.
Know Your Target Audience
Understanding your audience’s needs, preferences, motivations, and challenges is crucial when designing a gamification marketing strategy. You can derive this information from social media listening to gain valuable insights into customer sentiment, behavior, and demographics.
Once you have a profile of your target customer, you can craft a gamification experience that fulfills their needs and desires. A proper gamification experience will undoubtedly lead to brand recognition, increased user engagement, and loyal customers.
Select the Right Gaming Elements
Gaming elements include virtual badges, loyalty points, virtual tokens, quests, puzzles, and challenges. Ensure the gaming elements align with your audience’s preferences.
If your audience spends most of their time on social media, then virtual badges will be popular since they can share them on social media. If your audience is crypto savvy, they probably use gaming elements that give digital tokens as rewards.
Incorporate Gamification Into Your Marketing Channels
This process involves adding gaming elements into your marketing channels like websites, mobile apps, social media, email campaigns, newsletters, product pages, and more. Gaming elements can be integrated into your marketing channels and in a way that does not compromise your brand.
Measure Your Results
Ensure you continuously monitor your performance metrics, such as engagement rates, conversions, customer bounce rates, social shares, and customer retention. These metrics will provide valuable insights into your gamified marketing strategy and help you identify what works and what needs improvement.
Benefits of Gamification Marketing
We will break down the top five benefits of gamification marketing for your brand.
Increases User Engagement
Customers appreciate exciting brands and will tend to associate with them more. Gamification gives them a sense of achievement and results in higher engagement rates than previous campaigns. User engagement is the first step in winning customer loyalty for the long term.
Increases Brand Awareness and Loyalty
Gamification marketing makes your audience think more about your brand and influences their buying behavior. Since most customers don’t necessarily tie gaming to marketing, introducing game elements makes them subconsciously receptive to your brand. Chances are high that they will become emotionally attached, leading to customer loyalty to your brand. Besides, people who enjoy the gamification experience will talk to others about their experience and increase your brand visibility.
Higher Conversion Rates
Users engaging with gamified elements are more likely to respond to a call to action (CAT) than traditional marketing methods. Making rewards a part of your game elements increases conversion rates as users try to claim the rewards from your interactive session.
Test New Products Before Launching
Gamification marketing is a useful way to test a new product pre-launch. Offering limited access to game elements in your brand can allow you to test your product’s reception from your customers.
Educate Your Customers
Gamification allows customers to learn about your product in a fun way. You can incorporate rewards such as loyalty points, virtual tokens, and digital badges for customers who access certain features in a product to motivate them to learn more about the product. This can also be an exciting way to highlight the benefits of your product.
3 Examples of Gamification in Marketing
Now, let’s look at some real-life successful gamification marketing examples.
Starbucks Rewards Program
Starbucks Rewards App incorporates gamification into real-life purchases. You can earn a ‘Star’ for every $1 you spend by scanning the barcode in-app before paying at the counter. Making payments through the app, doing pre-payments via the digital Starbucks card, or using physical Starbucks cards also earns you stars. You can redeem the stars for free coffee, food items, and other exclusive merchandise.
Nike Run Club
The Nike Run Club App uses gamification marketing to promote fitness among its users and brand awareness for Nike. The running and fitness tracking app uses several gaming elements to engage and motivate users. Users can participate in challenges with the wider Nike running community group and track their progress via the in-app leaderboard. You can also set personal goals, earn achievement budgets, and share your progress on social media.
McDonald’s Monopoly Campaign
McDonald’s has run an annual multi-million dollar gamified marketing contest for over 30 years. The campaign invites customers to participate in a Monopoly game and win prizes like free food and drinks, cash prizes, cars, and trips. The annual event has raised massive brand awareness for McDonald’s and is open to everyone if they purchase at a McDonald’s outlet and gather the game pieces.
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Leveraging a smart gamified marketing strategy can improve brand awareness and drive user engagement to record levels. Gamification marketing can effectively convince your audience to overcome their aversion to orthodox marketing methods and try your product.