What is gamification?

We explore what gamification is and how it can be applied to small business marketing.

Gamification can seem like a foreign word to some. It might sound like it’s a complicated marketing technique that is unobtainable to most small businesses, but it really isn’t. Have you got a reward card for your local supermarket? Have you admired the top contributor in a LinkedIn group? Do you have a health and fitness app on your smartphone? These are all examples of gamification, which in some cases are developed by small businesses.

Gamification offers a technique for marketers to target the younger generation or ‘millennials’ as they are now known. This demographic of individuals have been raised with technology, so many businesses have turned this in their favour by applying game fundamentals to non-game contexts.

Engagement is key

Engaging customers by gamification isn’t a new thing. The frequent flier miles reward programme is a great use of gamification that is still in use today. It adds the reward process that we like from a game and incorporates it into a marketing strategy – to motivate customers to stick with their airline when they fly.

Appealing to people’s competitive streak and love of rewards is what businesses want to achieve with gamification. Leaderboards, levels, unlocks, points and new challenges all appeal in this context. Small businesses can try to add some of these aspects into their marketing campaigns by:

  • Having set goals and rewards.
  • Encouraging competitiveness with a points system.
  • Designing welcoming graphics.
  • Creating a sense of accomplishment.

Using gamification in a marketing campaign

The aim of gamification should always be to motivate and engage people. Games are usually meant to entertain, but businesses have found ways to give consumers goals that attracts them to an action. Customers who are deeply involved in these efforts often share their positive experiences on social media, which is another reason why small businesses should think about gamified marketing.

Read and comment on the original Small Business Computing article.