What lofty insight do time-sucking apps like Angry Birds give us mobile marketers?
Well for one thing, this: that there are few things people love more than a good, mindless game.
They hit that primal sweet spot, lighting up those serotonin receptors the same way dunking your hand into a bag of Doritos does.
Who wouldn’t want to incorporate that same dopamine-induced lust into their marketing tactics?
Gamification: A “Game-Changer” in Marketing
As we’ve seen over decades, the rise of digital and mobile marketing has made marketing an increasingly integrated endeavor.
One technique reinforces another—it has to work that way, because digital has obliterated any notion of marketing ‘silos’.
Trends in technology, as well as pop culture and media inform trends in marketing. We’re responding to what people want and learning to speak their language.
In a sense, gamification has risen out of demand.
Take, for instance, the explosion of social networking. By its very nature, social fosters engagement and encourages a sense of fun and most importantly, competition.
Have you sat on a train or waited in a movie theater line sometime in the last year or so? If so, you’ve likely noticed that everyone and their mother (or S.O., or whoever) is buried nose deep in their smartphone. Of course mobile marketing is now an ideal touch point for reaching consumers: no matter where they are, that phone is with them.
Foursquare was the first to capitalize on this opportunity, spurring user acquisition and engagement by focusing on a system of competition and rewards and later diving head first into the social sphere.
As social and mobile trends continue to evolve—quickly integrating into wearable technology (smart watches, Google Glass, and the like), gamification will play an increasing role in how marketers connect with their consumers.
Life Gamified: Redefining In-Store Marketing
As discussed in our article on tech integration , the emergence of wearable computing integrates major emerging trends like social media, mobile, and the rise of big data into one seamless user experience.
Wearable technology makes gamified marketing even more intuitive. The marketing experience further integrates into daily life, changing the way consumers engage with brands.
Since entertainment is one of our working themes here, let’s play with a hypothetical projection of where gamification might lead in a few years. (Who doesn’t love futuristic musings?)
It’s 2016 and you’re one of the 10 million people estimated to own a pair of Google glass. Unsurprisingly, Starbucks is still thriving (they now serve Irish whisky!). You make your morning round to the Starbucks on the corner on your way to work. The moment you step inside, your Starbucks rewards app (currently in existence) activates in the upper right and corner of your virtual glasses desktop.
From purchasing history to how long you stay in the store, this handy little app knows more about your coffee habits than you do. After you purchase your Venti Hazelnut Macchiato and literally watch your rewards rack up out of the corner of your eye, you sit down and whip out your computer.
Starbucks knows that some 45% of people who walk into their stores and sit down are planning to work online. So they (hypothetically, of course) launch a productivity affiliate app that monitors your productivity for you, and allows you to accumulate additional rewards for accomplishing goals. Golden marketing opportunity: they even offer reminders on an afternoon refill deal or an ad to try a new snack product after 90 minutes of productive work time.
Convenient and useful for you—ingenious for them.
In this scenario, Starbucks now has greater power over behavior modification and management, engagement, relationship building, and more.
Technology along these lines is already coming into play, with in-store mobile marketing platforms like SWIRL that offer hyper-localized marketing. It’s so specific, it can geo-target down to which area of the store a customer is standing in.
These “digital geo-spheres” create entirely new POS options.
A big evolution in gamification with wearable technology is that marketers could influence purchasing by providing instantaneous drivers. i.e. in the case of Google Glass or similar, simply by looking at a product in a store, you can see information about potential rewards you would accrued with that purchase, additional products that are sold with it, customer reviews, and the like, further influencing behavior.
Gamification will likely become the essential tool for marketing in the age of wearable smart technology.
Whether that notion excites you or leaves you shaking your head in deep consternation, one thing is certain: It’s time to put your game face on. Along with your smart goggles, of course.