Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Is It Time to Use Gamification in Your A/E Marketing Strategy?

If you’re reading the title and saying “Gamma-what?”, then you need to catch up.  Gamification, the technique of applying game mechanics to win customer engagement and loyalty, is quickly becoming the newest and fastest-growing marketing strategy for many businesses and educational programs across the country.

How does it work?  Well, think about that game of Tetris or Super Mario Brothers you played as a child.  What was their allure?  You faced the challenge of stacking blocks, and you gained points.  You thwarted enemies and jumped up, on, and over objects and obtained gold pieces.  You advanced levels, and competed against others to see who could achieve a higher score.  Those games were addicting!  And now the methodology behind the addiction--winning challenges to get points, answering questions to get badges, playing against others to achieve advancement on a leader board—is being used to engender brand advocacy on a large scale.

Predicted to reach $2.8 billion in 2016, the gamification market is booming. The Huffington Post cautions, though, that marketers have to be careful in how they use this new trend:

“You'll need to determine from the start what it is exactly you're trying to accomplish [and], so, too, will your consumers need to understand why they should participate. There should be clear goals and rewards, like unlocking valuable content, prizes, experiences, discounts or recognition.”So, how can you use gamification to your advantage in the A/E industry?
  •        Use it to augment client engagement.  Provide trivia questions about your company on your Facebook page for points, or ask for feedback on your pictures on your Pinterest page. Provide instant polls so your users can get results immediately.
  •        Use it to on your blog to unlock content. Give valuable content away as a prize for “Liking” your Facebook page or tweeting a post from your blog.  Give badges to consumers who visit and tweet from your blog daily or weekly.
  •         Use it to promote your services.  Offer points to clients who post recommendations on your Facebook page, and eventually, discounts to “winners.”  Use Facebook to recognize your clients and prizes to promote your offerings.
If you don’t feel like using social media to integrate gamification, there are plenty of low-tech ways to amass its rewards as well.  Ford Motor Company added gamification to its learning portals for service teams to familiarize themselves with the latest car models, financing plans, and technologies, and achieved an astounding 417 percent  increase in their use.  Old-fashioned leadership boards—demonstrating who’s leading the firm in terms of sales, proposals, etc.—are also a great way to stimulate healthy competition and growth.

These days, it would seem as if the key to marketing is realizing it’s just a game.

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