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Games Rise In Importance To Keep Consumers And Prospects Engaged

Trend: Smart marketers are leveraging interactive games to overcome short attention spans.

Marketing Automation PuzzleWith the anticipation of Zynga’s upcoming IPO, interactive gaming has been getting a lot of attention lately.  Unfortunately, according to Forrester Research, this attention has yet to transpire to mainstream marketing, as 84% of marketers have no plans to incorporate games into their promotional mix.  For the remaining 16%, their efforts are sparking a revolution in marketing, influencing the proliferation of gaming technologies resulting in its access by marketers and agencies of all sizes.  More importantly, games are providing the much-needed content to hold consumer and prospect attention – an extension of the bilateral conversation brands strive for.

The stereotype of gamers being fat kids eating Cheetos no longer holds, as game segmentation has transcended to every age, gender and culture.  There’s a game for everyone.  From Microsoft’s Solitaire for the Baby Boomer admin to the Tween girl world of The Sims 2, games are here to stay with big brands such as Starbucks and Nike leading the way.

Takeaway:  Using game mechanics give consumers a sense of accomplishment.

A sense of progress and accomplishment are the secrets to successful games and that’s why applying these concepts to marketing has led to higher adoption, engagement, loyalty, sharing and sales.  The silliness of Foursquare’s badges and mayors are keeping 10 million consumers engaged daily with brands. 

You don’t have to be a programmer to launch a successful marketing campaign based on gaming concepts.  There are plenty of gaming resources available where anyone with little technical skill can create a meaningful game.  The crossword puzzle above was created using a $50 program called Crossword Forge.

How To:

According to Adam Kleinberg, CEO at interactive agency Traction, there are five steps to consider when successfully applying gaming concepts to marketing:
  1. Have an objective.  This seems obvious but you would be surprised about how many times tactics get executed without a clear objective.  The objective of Gold Lasso’s above puzzle is to show you how easy it is to incorporate games and email together.
  2. Engineer a goal path.  Identify the behaviors you want to elicit (awareness, interest, consideration, purchase) then choose a gaming tactic to influence the behavior.  In the game above, the goal is to make you aware of the complexities of successful marketing automation, hence the difficult puzzle.
  3. Reward.  Incentives must have meaning and influence actions.  For those of you who actually bothered to read this, after completing the puzzle, post a screenshot of your completed puzzle on our Facebook page by July 31, 2011 to be entered into a drawing for a $50 Starbucks gift card. 
  4. Take a holistic view.  Be cognizant when applying gaming concepts.  Gaming concepts are not applicable for all campaigns.  Can drug companies get in on the gaming action?  Time will tell.
  5. Make it fun.  This is most important.  If your game isn’t fun, why bother.  For those of you who don’t like puzzles we’ll have something for you soon.



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