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Gamification & The Brussels Sprouts Dynamic

Did you hate brussels sprouts as a kid? I sure did. How did my parent’s get me to eat them? That’s right, we played Here Comes the Airplane.

It’s a time tested solution to an age old problem: Make it fun and people are more likely to participate.

Now, let’s fast forward to the age of social media and pervasive mobile connectivity. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon hear digital marketing enthusiasts using the term Gamification to describe this phenomena.

Gamification (a term borrowed from behavioral economics) is the practice of utilizing gameplay mechanics in non-game scenarios to change behaviors or incentivize users perform otherwise mundane tasks.

While there is some merit to the adage that “there is nothing new under the sun”, social and mobile technologies have certainly given this concept fresh legs and new possibilities for engaging customers to participate with your brand. Whether your goal is to get customers to use their loyalty cards more often, to visit your bricks and mortar locations, or simply to participate in your survey, applying the principles of gamification to your marketing programs may be a great way to generate lift.

So what are some simple ways to make a marketing program more game-like?

Let’s look at that program to incentivize loyalty card usage:

  • Make the incentives simple and attainable: Use your loyalty card 4 times this month and get 20% off your next order
  • Let participants track their progress and encourage them to keep playing: Mobile App with a progress bar with SMS reminders
  • Give it legs via social media: Let users share their progress to social media friends and followers, make it easy for those friends to get involved as well.
  • Make rewards easy to redeem: Send your 20% Discount coupon via SMS to their mobile device

While this is a simplified scenario, there are endless gamification techniques that could be applicable to this case including:

  • Location based check-ins: Check in (via foursquare or other location based service) at any of our bricks and mortar location and receive points, badges, discounts or other benefit.
  • Badges for achievement: Rewarding brand interaction with small tokens of appreciation is a strong motivator considering the game-like engagement channel. i.e. Reward users for using the loyalty card 4x, 8x, 12x in a month.
  • Virtual currency: Points programs that can be “spent” as rewards. This could be on real world or virtual merchandise depending on your brand and your goals. Providing clear point totals and easy redemption of those points is key. Farmville dollars is a great example.
  • Head-to-head challenges: Allow users to engage their friends by issuing challenges or other competitions, i.e. Who can check into the most locations in a month?
  • Leaderboards: Who has the most points? Where do I rank? People play games to win, capitalize on this.

Employing some of these concepts may just help you bring that plane in for a landing.
Interested in chatting about how social media, mobile, or gamification might help you reach your business and marketing goals?

Feel free to drop us a line.

About Trellist

Trellist is a professional services firm delivering performance-driven business solutions that are flexible, innovative and optimized to maximize efficiency and return. The firm consults on, and integrates, data with marketing, design, technology and digital services for clients at the global, national and regional level. Trellist utilizes a unique approach to business—from the firm’s employee-shared structure, to how it partners with its clients. 

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