In “Wonderland – How play made the modern world”, the New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson argued that many of humanity’s breakthroughs are the product of people wanting more play. Problem solving is often solving the problem of jadedness.
And jadedness is precisely why getting through to consumers are increasingly difficult. There are simply too much choice and contents in the physical and digital world. Consumers are bored and irritated with conventional marketing. Spam and ad-blockers are existential threats to outbound marketing. Some softwares that used to enable mass spamming have now switched sides to ward off bombardment. The only way forward, as most marketers have realized, is to earn voluntary interest from consumers.
But voluntary interest could be even harder to come by. While large companies with big marketing budgets can generate viral contents and resort to computer science & psychoanalysis for elaborate strategies, how can SMEs compete to get attention?
Luckily, gamification could save the day. Gamification applies fun and play into a non-gaming context, such as marketing and sales, to attract voluntary interaction. The beauty of gamification is that it works on very simple as well as exceedingly complex levels – therefore businesses of all sizes & budgets can find ways to gamify their marketing efforts. Consider how enduring and universally loved simple card games can be, and playing cards hardly need to be “revamped” to renew people’s interest or refresh its image. Yet on the other end of the spectrum, an arms race is going on among Google, Facebook, Apple and others to dominate virtual reality in order to offer us the next generation of amusements and ways to part with our money.
Gamification can be simple and enduring, if it creates anticipation, competition and indeterminable outcome, which could attract people to participate time and again. One simple example is prize competitions. Of course, this is not new at all, but marketers need to realize that consumers are now demanding better user experience to engage in gamification. It is a common fallacy that prize competitions come with a formidable set of strings attached: consumers are asked to surrender personal details, fill in skull-numbing surveys, collect tedious coupons or spam their friends on the merchant’s behalf (follow, like & share to get a slim chance of winning XYZ!), totally defeating the notion of gamification in the process. Worse still, those who are willing to jump through all the hoops are usually not the sort of people who will convert to paying or loyal consumers, rendering the whole scheme a total misfit. That’s why gamification are often poorly designed in marketing. Merchants are worried about brand image while consumers are skeptical.
Leading marketers are catching on to this. The trend for “hassle-lite” gamified marketing is coming. Several big brands are leading the way with consumer retention schemes that adopt gaming features with prizes, gifts, virtual badges/points in exchange for physical benefits. The aim of the game is to “drip feed” brand awareness & messages, fostering good-will and continued interaction, which will nurture voluntary loyalty and advocacy for the long term. But so far, the trend serves mainly to strengthen large and established brands. How can SMEs get on the act without the budget to integrate gaming features and suitably designed interfaces into their marketing & sales funnel?
Dipsta was born precisely to empower businesses of any size or marketing budget to adopt gamified marketing. Dipsta gives consumers a simple “win or buy” model, with zero hassle, spam-free, “one touch” participation in prize competitions and special offers. Dipsta also run game-like incentives to encourage sharing, referrals and feedback, using enticement, not obligation to attract engagement and build relationships. For businesses, Dipsta offers an even playing field and “budget agnostic” approach to visibility – every campaign gets maximized display; search and rank are based on relevance to each individual consumer, without consideration to marketing budget (unlike conventional paid search). In this way, Dipsta empowers brand discovery, not merely enforcing known brands.
In future blogs, I will showcase some more “low threshold” gamification features and tips about how to run gamified marketing effectively, with marginal incremental costs to your existing marketing strategies.
In the meantime, you are most welcome to sign up for free as a Dipsta Merchant and try all the features without payment or obligation during our Beta phase (during this period in Q1 2017 we are growing our merchant and consumer communities and tweaking features based on user feedback). Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your marketing challenges!
Dipsta.com is a new generation “Win or Buy” marketing & e-commerce platform. We offer game-like discovery of prizes & promotions based on categories or geo-location to suit both e-commerce and physical stores. Dipsta’s aim is to entice voluntary consumer interest and elevate marketers out of the need to spam.
We are particularly passionate about empowering independent & local businesses to achieve “budget agnostic” visibility and effectiveness in their marketing efforts.
Dipsta is a member of Barclays Eagle Tech and founded by a Cambridge alumni team.
Dipsta is now in beta launch. If you are a B2C business, please take advantage of the free trial beta period and sign up for a free Dipsta Merchant account. Please feel free to comment or get in touch to discuss your marketing challenges & needs.