Gamification in a Small Business: Does it Really Work?
by GetResponse last updated on 0

Gamification in a Small Business: Does it Really Work?

Gamification is a hot word in marketing industry – even though it sounds brand new, it’s been alluring us since the 70s, when such big players as Mc Donald’s or Procter&Gamble started implementing it for their strategies. You can find a ton of examples and case studies on it, but have you ever wondered how it could work for a small industry?

What’s this all about?

As one of the definitions goes, gamification means using the mechanics of computer or social games for increasing employees’ motivation and engagement in situations that are not commonly associated with gaming. You may use it for e.g. study assignments, team work or promotions.

To make it simpler – gamification brings elements of gaming into your everyday life situations. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

What’s in it for me?

In the growing traffic of competing brands, advertising marketing communications, fighting for your potential customer’s interest becomes a really hard thing to do. A simple product announcement or a promotion you’ve done before might not be enough to grab the client’s attention. What you need to do is engage the customer and let him interact with your brand directly. This is how gamification can help you build a good relationship with potential and actual customers.

How big brands do it

One of the most popular and widely discussed gamification ideas was held by car companies who encouraged users to collect points for eco driving. The higher miles-per-gallon rate you reached, the higher you scored – even though there was no leaderboard to compare yourself with other drivers, the very idea of implementing eco-friendly practices as a game must have proven that living your life with natural environment in mind can be fun and exciting.

Mini in Stockholm – grab your own car

Another famous gamification project also involved automotive industry: „Mini in Stockholm”. The aim of the game was to find a virtual Mini car on the streets of Stockholm, which required using a special mobile application. The first user who found Mini within a distance of 50m “took” it, winning a real Mini Countryman car! But the task wasn’t that easy – you had to avoid other users within the same close distance, as they could take the Mini away from you. That’s what you call a car search – redefined.

Apart from mobile apps, social media are often used as the environment for gamification activitiy. The aim is mostly the same: encourage users to compete against each other and create leaderboards based on various criteria.

My Marriott Hotel – gamification for careers

Have you ever wondered if you could run a hotel kitchen by yourself? Now, Marriott Hotels give you a chance to try it in a virtual hotel – and maybe even for real! The game was launched in order to recruit employees for new Marriott hotels located outside the USA and test their management skills. The app is dedicated mostly to young candidates (18-27 years old) and tests the applicant’s attitude, problem solving and management skills. The hotel corporation wishes to recruit even 50 thousand employees using the game.

My Marriott Hotel, image via
My Marriott Hotel, image via

MTV Europe Music Awards

In 2011, before the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards, MTV decided to engage fans before the event and increase the anticipation. What they did was creating a multi-layer fan game called “MegaFan Competition”.

The ways to collect points were numerous for each participants – they could vote in audience choice categories, watch past performance videos, view flip books and more. How to make the whole process more competitive? The answer is team building – every user could join different teams and compete against each other, which of course meant earning more points for the winning team.

The prizes for collected points were worth fighting for – the top price involved going to the EMA event and joining the audience of music enthusiasts.

If you’re asking about the results, you’ll be surprised – EMA-related page views on the MTV UK website grew by 530%  compared to the previous year!

Jay-Z: Decoded, Random House Publishing Group (RHPG)

How do you get people who don’t read books to gain interest in a newly released autobiography? Jay-Z knows the answer – you gamify it. For the launch of his memoir Decoded, RHPG launched a unique social game. They printed 300 pre-released pages of the memoir on various surfaces, such as wood wrappers or even a silk lining of a Gucci jacket, and hid them in 600 placements within 15 locations all around the world. The aim was to find, assemble and decode the book together online before the actual release date.

Jay-Z Decoded campaign, image via
Jay-Z Decoded campaign, image via

Big business players use gamification quite frequently and you could name dozens of examples from various industries. But running a social game that requires a huge budget is a completely different thing from implementing elements of gamification in a small business. How can you use it effectively for your brand?

Sky is the limit

By describing the gamification ideas above I wanted to show you that there are practically no limits in implementing game mechanics for marketing. They can be used equally well for on-line and real-world environments.

Everything depends on your goals. When slightly modified, all these scenarios can be used for different purposes and industries.

  • Non-standard approach to engage the participants of your trade show, conference, industry events, trainings, workshops or even in-company events. This is how you turn a typical activity into something that will leave your employees excited for weeks.
  • Joining a community to achieve a common goal. If you do a 5km run, that’s OK, but if 15, 20 or 30 do it with you – that really means something big. Using the same pattern, you can collect materials for recycling, refurbish a demolished playground or run a baking contest – all for a good cause. This scenario works perfect for local businesses and, if organized well, can significantly raise your reputation.
  • Do you have an impression that your industry is, let’s say, not so attractive for the job market and it’s hard for you to recruit new employees? Try stepping off the bitten track and watch your idea buzzing around the media, drawing attention of those who might be interested in joining your company. Sometimes a well composed riddle is all it takes – make sure that only specialists in your industry are able to solve it properly.

So, are you excited about gamification? Or maybe scared that you will never make it with the existing budget? Don’t worry – and stop thinking about the money. Think outside the box and dare to do something different.

Have you ever tried using gamification in your business? Or are you thinking of doing it in the future? We’re curious to see your comments!

Subscribe for fresh tips & top articles

GetResponse Sp. z o.o. needs data contained in this form to provide you with materials you requested. For more information, read Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up!

We'll send you an email to confirm this shortly.

Become a GetResponse Blog writer!

Write for us