Games for Marketing: Engage, Educate, and Entertain
All work and no play makes customers run far away! 2020 was a year that made companies rethink how they do business…
They couldn’t engage with new prospective customers in person. They could see and mingle with existing customers via web conferencing, workforces transitioned from office buildings to remote home-based offices. The world, and business, changed for good – and good came out of it.
The saying that keeps ringing in my head is that “necessity is the mother of invention”. In our industry, many employees managing events were either released from their positions or moved into a new marketing role. With the $325B global trade show industry essentially shutting down for a year, many companies shifted their budget dollars from live events to traditional channels such as digital marketing.
The problem is that marketers are just doing more of the same. They’re running paid advertising, sending email blasts, and flooding social media. Amidst all this, Captello has introduced a novel (dare I use that word) idea: games for marketing!
And, we’re definitely not playing around here. Games can be used in marketing for what we call the three Es: engagement, education, and entertainment. In the outline below, we list ways businesses can use games to liven up their marketing:
Use Games in Marketing to Drive Engagement
- Collecting data – keep and grow your customer database. Marketing games have the option to collect data before or after game play. This data is specific and relevant to your business, helping marketers build a database of valuable information they can use to segment and further nurture against. There’s not a more valuable asset in a company aside from its customer database. Asking for data and doing it in an intelligent way (e.g. using conditional questions) engages your audience.
- Interaction with a brand or advertisers. Marketing games can be branded from the ground up with company colors, logos, and advertisers. Merely seeing your brand across unique and exciting new experiences can create associations or “anchors” between your audience and your brand. Alternatively, use branding opportunities as revenue line item drivers. Display a partner or vendor’s content within your game.
- Leaderboards bringing them back. Just like major league sports with their standings, they keep their fans coming back. Is my team in first place? Will we make the playoffs? Leaderboards offer business games the same experience. Create branded leaderboards to draw customers or potential clients back into an experience.
- Team competitions. Competition drives engagement, especially when people are part of a team. It drives everyone to want to push harder to win – pulling others along with them. Have players randomly join a team or be assigned to pre-created teams.
- Gift cards and rewards. People tend to be more engaged when they know they can win something. I think of that big claw at the amusement park that always picks up the stuffed animal, then drops it, leaving you feeling robbed; but still wanting to play again. The lure of winning something is a euphoric feeling and ideal for marketing games. Captello offers over 250 gift cards that can be automatically sent when someone wins a game. This is yet another way to drive engagement.
- Custom prizes. If standard gift cards aren’t exciting enough, then create custom prizes. Business games have the ability to offer players unique prizes. Maybe you’ve got some left over t-shirts or hats from your last event? Use custom prizes to drive increased engagement.
Use Games in Marketing to Entertain
- Something different from the norm. A high entertainment factor will draw in a crowd. The more entertaining something is the more likely people will try it. Perhaps your business game will be “catchy” and shared on social media – creating a viral effect. Instead of repeating standard marketing tactics, add some variety with marketing games to switch it up a bit. We’re not saying you should stray from the status quo and/or disrupt your entire marketing strategy, but in times like these something unique, that brings a smile to someone’s face, will be received with open arms. Break the monotony of traditional marketing and use business games as part of your marketing mix.
- Digital signage / ads. Marketing games can be placed and played anywhere; online, in a physical location, on mobile devices, etc. Another feature of these games is to show a screensaver-like feature that displays images in optional rotation prior to game play. When the game launches, digital signage/ads are displayed. Touching the screen removes the screensaver and opens the game. This is a great opportunity to showcase additional content, provide another layer of entertainment, or drive ad sales via other vendors/partners.
Use Games in Marketing to Educate
Some companies immediately think games are not for them. They might think their brand tries to uphold a certain standard, when games create a different perception of the brand. If you’re a marketer and reading this article, I encourage you to expand your thinking.
It’s understandable though, what game comes to your mind if I were to ask you to play a game with me? Pac-man, space invaders, what is it? Conversely, games don’t have to be just for fun. Games used for marketing can help teach your audience something. Maybe you’d like to educate your audience on a new product offering, introduce a new brand, or explain your company’s history. Games for business are a great way to do that. Trivia, Guess the Word, Jeopardy, are all examples of games that have the ability to educate players (a.k.a. target audience). I encourage you to not think about games as something a 5 year old plays. The average gamer is 36 years old, with demographics split pretty equally (48% female to 52% male). Surprisingly, this might match your target persona too! Marketers need to think outside the box. Considering games for marketing is the quintessential opportunity to do so.
Other Reasons We Love Using Games in Marketing
There are a handful of other reasons why we love using games in our own marketing:
- Customizable QR codes. Marketing games can be launched with customized QR codes. The QR codes can have a brand’s color, logo, and other styling options to create a unique experience. We love using QR codes as a way to launch a game as QR codes can be placed anywhere, in digital marketing or at live events. When players scan a QR code it launches the game experience.
- Treasure hunting! Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt. Use the concepts mentioned above to create a cool treasure hunt experience. Branded QR codes are placed in different locations (physical or online). When scanned players earn points it moves them up the leaderboard. Encouraging messages, such as “keep it going!” can be delivered as they progress higher up the leaderboard. Award gift cards or custom prizes to winners.
- Integrations. Games for marketing should have the ability to take any data collected and send it to a CRM or marketing automation system. For example, with Captello – we have native integrations with systems such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, Adobe Marketo, Oracle Eloqua, and more. Marketers can seamlessly send their data into their existing systems. Don’t change what you do, complement it.
- Universal use! One of the major advantages of marketing games is their cross-platform use. When a game is created, it can be deployed online in any browser, at virtual events, in store windows, in a booth – anywhere! This universal operation preserves a marketer’s investment in business games.
We hope this article helps you understand that games can be a very valuable marketing asset used to engage, educate, and entertain your audience. Consider using games for marketing in your next campaign! Visit www.captello.com to learn more about games, and for a test drive of some of our top played games!