My winning Golf score card
I just learned a new card game: Four Card Golf. In less than a week I learned to play the game, played a large number of rounds, won my first match and ended up teaching three new people the game. I don’t typically learn a lot of new games, so why did this one stand out? How did I get so addicted that I became an evangelist for the game?
It all happened along a sort of ideal marketing path:
- Awareness—I saw some friends playing it in the lunch room and asked what it was called. I only offered up that I was interested.
- Promotion—A few days later, I was encouraged to play a round during lunch. I was pitched on how much fun it was and that there were bragging rights involved!
- Trial—We first played a trial hand with all cards showing. I learned the basic rules of the game without punishment or commitment.
- Experience—The game itself is fairly easy to learn, but there are lots of little strategic elements that keep it interesting and kept me learning on each round. Like an executive golf course, it’s played over nine rounds…short enough to keep me playing, but long enough for me to feel satisfied when I’m done.
- Reward—According to the friendly group rules around the lunch table, the winner must take a pic of the score sheet and tag all the players on Facebook for some friendly ribbing. Naturally, as beginner’s luck would have it, I won my first game and posted the score sheet. I then got kudos and questions from friends and family about what game I won.
- Advocate—I, of course, was more than happy to share my winning results, but was also excited to play again. The next day I recruited my neighbors for a game. Unfortunately for me, as beginner’s luck would have it, my neighbor won, and posted her score sheet on Facebook. The interaction then went viral as her friends and family interacted with her post.
I bet you see where I’m going here. It’s a concept called gamification, and it’s about bringing the most interactive, rewarding and fun elements of gameplay into marketing campaigns such as loyalty programs, nurturing campaigns and company Facebook pages. While gamification is a fairly new concept in the marketing world, it’s catching on quickly.
“By 2014, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon.”
—Gartner Group Press Release
So what did I learn from the simple game of Four Card Golf?
- Make it easy to get started, with little to no risk
- Bring your customers along slowly and teach them as they go
- Reward them for sharing their results
- And, most important, make it fun!
We can learn even more about gamified interactions from complex games that involve and drive players through their experiences for countless hours.
There is no need to reinvent the marketing wheel; the foundation is there.
It’s time to incorporate what we already know–from simple card games to complex role-playing computer games–around what motivates us, engages us, makes us advocates, and ultimately keeps us coming back for more.
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT CATALYSTINC.COM ON AUGUST 8TH, 2011