Cash in on Gamification.
It was an excellent marketing move for the band and their label, Side One Dummy Records. This tactic was unique, and it played on a number of factors for their niche audience: nostalgia, creativity, and a form of marketing becoming increasingly popular called “gamification.” Gamification, as put by Small Biz Trends, is “a process for integrating game mechanics into something that already exists to motivate participation, engagement and loyalty.”
Despite decries from baby boomers saying video games were evil, kept kids from going outside, made people lazy and were responsible for all sorts of atrocities, they have persisted and become a relevant, important part of our culture. You would be hard pressed to find anyone from Generation X or later who didn’t grow up on videogames, or hasn’t spent considerable time playing them.
Good marketers know how to use the tools culture gives them to portray messages to the masses. Videogames are not just for children anymore and the things they’ve brought our culture are at our disposal to use in product marketing and advertorial creativity. Pay attention to how gamification has made its way into society, and brainstorm some ideas with us on how to incorporate this into your marketing plan.
Gamification in the World
Gaming has made its way into all sorts of different practices, hobbies, professions, and activities. Game-based learning is becoming increasingly popular in grade schools as well as colleges. Bartenders, truck drivers and forklift operators, astronauts, and nurses have all been trained with video games or video game technology. Movies and television shows even are beginning to be created with “choose your own ending” scenarios, creating interactive storylines. And don’t forget flight and driving simulators making their way into the world of actually training drivers and pilots!
The concept of virtualizing real world scenarios has received some backlash. The US military has been heavily critiqued for their use of video game-esque technology to train drone operators, with soldiers (drone operators) even comparing the two practices themselves.The military use video games to train soldiers in several other ways, such as virtual reality combat training. The main argument against gamifying military operations is that it dehumanizes killing and the real life effects of war. Proponents argue that it’s practical preparation for the battlefield.
There is plenty we can learn from the marketing tools of the gaming and broader entertainment industry in general. Reading a room and speaking to your consumers in their own language is something the entertainment business does particularly well that marketers struggle with. Gamification of your campaign is definitely one way to speak the language of an audience, especially younger audiences.
Convince & Convert reported in 2014 that more than 70% of the world’s largest 2,000 companies were expected to use at least one gamified application by the end of the year, citing a report from Gartner. They also cited Dominos’ phone order app as a concrete example of gamification, in which the app chooses toppings for a pizza by random if the person ordering shakes their phone. Companies like Starbucks convince people to get their app by trying to get free things progressing through “levels” and “points” accumulated and achieved through buying things from the coffee company’s storefronts.
2018 and Forward
These trends are bound to continue, but the next thing marketers will have to do is predict the focus of consumers and gamify it before anyone else. Primarily, gamification has made its way into app development as far as marketing goes, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see our movies and television shows become more interactive if gamification became a new norm in live advertisements.
How do you think gamification will change the marketing game from here and beyond? Let us know in the comments below!
Devin prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zigzag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.