Today more than ever, consumers aim at becoming completely involved in their purchase experience as they tend to adopt a proactive approach.
How does gaming, and especially video-gaming can change the way we shape and design user interfaces and experiences ?
The rules of the game
Gamification (and by extension, interactive marketing) refers to the use of game-playing elements (design, rules of play, etc) to non-gaming areas (e.g banking, insurance, healthcare…)
It is an online marketing technique whose basic purpose is to encourage commitment with a product or service. In other words, it is the act of making tasks and boring or hard activities enjoyable.
When it comes to digital marketing, gamification enables brands to tackle several issues inherent in the customer experience.
Moreover, it allows them to be involved at every stage of the marketing funnel :
However, the game content must be based on :
- Uniqueness : it must be creative, exclusive, and reflecting the brand’s values and position statement
- Challenge : it must have a goal, specific rules, a direction in order to frame the user experience. The aim is to encourage every player to strive to do better and take up new challenges.
- Engagement/Commitment : the gameplay has to spur the user to “meet” the brand.
- Commercial awareness : Products and services must be the keystones of the game in a data-driven and user-centric way.
In addition to the unique and user-friendly game content and thanks to data collection, brands are able to develop new techniques to catch customers and retain them on a one-to-one basis.
In short, every player/customer can be entitled to a unique offer.
Data is indeed the key to a successful segmentation and a successful segmentation is the key to efficiency and relevance.
Level 1 : it’s all about UI
There is no need for brands to create an entire MMORPG to capture users attention and encourage participation.
The easiest way to adopt gamification is to go for a well-designed user interface (UI) :
- Tinder gave birth to a whole generation of swipers and revolutionized the standards of mobile browsing with a mere gesture.
- Sephora suggests customers to play several little games of chance to have access to discounts and special offers.
- Waze and its "gameplay" which involves levels, a progress bar (just like Linkedin) and several gamelike features to involve every driver.
In the end, brands must keep in mind that development is an efficient way to retain users, make them love the interface and spur them to purchase online.
Level 100 : Join the Battle Royales !
This is the ultimate goal to attain in 2019 : conquer gaming platforms such as Fornite, Apex or PUGB which proved to be data goldmines these last two years.
Streaming platforms and battle royales are the latest fashion and players are not ready (yet) to be distracted by anything else than gaming. Next challenge : developing innovative ad formats to catch the gamers eyes and blend into the background.
How can brands be part of the big picture without making a wrong move ?
First of all, it is all about learning to discover and explore the game universes, rules and codes.
The goal is to adapt every product and service to the users.
In fact, they should not rely on expediency to win the hearts and minds of gamers. Quite the opposite, actually as they have to be at one with them and the gameplay.
Several tips that may help (and a little guide to gaming glossary):
- Making special skins (Items, clothes and cosmetics) for the users to collect (and to buy) to broadcast the brand’s message in a subtle way. For instance, for the release of Avengers : End Games, Marvel gave the possibility to Fortnite players to get their favorite characters look and stuff.
- Organizing an online event such as the Marshmello concert, which was broadcasted on a massive scale during Fornite matches in February.
- Developing tie-in products inspired by the battle royales just like the Fornite Monopoly.
In conclusion, gamification should enable brands to find new ways and techniques to “meet” and get to know their prospects and customers and make them the heroes of their own user experience.