After my last blog, you now know what gamification is and the many ways it can be used in education and business. As a marketing analyst, I am going to narrow the focus and go into detail about gamification as it relates to marketing, as well as some great case studies that you will probably recognize.
The oldest example of gamification in marketing is frequent flyer miles. The airline industry realized that people like to be rewarded for behavior and the best way to reward (and retain) customers was to give them free miles on the same airline. Customers feel like they are getting a prize, while at the same time booking flights on the same airline the next time they fly. This was the jumping off point for what has become a recognized way to appeal to potential customers’ sense of competition and to engage them in a fun way. The theory is that engaging customers through gamification will lead to a stronger brand connection and a longer relationship.
The best way to truly understand gamification in marketing, as well as all the different ways it can be utilized, is to look at some case studies involving well-known brands. Remember the McDonalds monopoly game? Every time you ordered something, the packaging had a peel off monopoly game piece. You received prizes for getting all the blue properties or railroads or any other monopoly. This was truly smart marketing because most of the prizes were free food at McDonalds; making the customer feel like they win and at the same time increase loyalty. Starbucks “My Reward” system awards the customer points for purchases and the points can be redeemed for, yes, you guessed it, food and drinks at Starbucks. It’s not just the food and beverage industry, clothing companies and car companies are getting in on gamification too. Moosejaw, a clothing company, offers low prices on their clothes at the beginning of the day with prices going up throughout the day. This creates an auction type feel, with customers feeling like they are “winning” when they get in early at the low prices. Chevrolet hosted its own website called “Home for the Holidays” and asked visitors to take a quiz on winter driving and submit an electronic postcard that included a photo and brief story. The “best” story won a new car. This contest drew over 70,000 participants which all became potential sales leads. Not to mention, each participant engaged with the brand for an average of 12 minutes, an eternity in marketing.
Bottom line, if you are not using gamification, you should consider integrating it into your marketing platforms. As you can see, more and more companies have learned that appealing to customers’ competitive nature amps up engagement and retention. I mean, who doesn’t love to win?