Things To Remember When Looking For A Gamification Service Provider!

Gamification has changed the face of sports marketing. Not only does it help you engage with your fans but also has the potential to generate revenue for your team even during off seasons and when the players are outside the stadium.

The many uses and subsequent benefits of gamification as mentioned in the previous articles are clearly evident. Gamification has changed the face of sports marketing. Not only does it help you engage with your fans but also has the potential to generate revenue for your team even during off seasons and when the players are outside the stadium. Gamification has not only improved the experience of fans but also stem the company’s positioning in the view of the audience.

Courtesy: Polygon

There are many ways to using gamification as a part of your strategy, as discussed in the previous articles in the e-book. The constantly evolving technology has in particular only made gamification more effective with time.

Gamification is all about execution!

Like you, other teams and sports marketers across the world also understand the various applications of gamification. This understanding has resulted in teams choosing to use gamification techniques. Unfortunately though, there are many among these teams who face challenges when trying to cash in on the benefits of gamification.

A look at the challenges faced by sports marketers!

There are varied type of challenges that sports marketers face when trying to use gamification techniques. A few challenges commonly faced by sports marketers are:-

  1. Lack of good content – As a marketer, not just a sports marketer, you need to always remember that content is the absolute king. If your content isn’t good enough or engaging enough then your fans are not going to be impressed. For example, if your trivia on the app of your team isn’t engaging then chances are your fans will not lap it up the way you expect them to.
  2. Lack of collaborative efforts – Partnering with other brands could actually help make the gamification efforts more effective. Imagine having rewards sponsored by reputed brands to further attract fans to be engaged with the app. Sports marketers lack in terms of understanding of this part with regards to gamification.
  3. Lack of innovation – Your fans need updates. Yes, updates! Take the creative route and present your fans with features that will have them hooked to your application regardless of it being On or Off season time. Failure to bring creativity to the table doesn’t really leave a lot of scope for gamification to ply in.

A little assistance is what Sports Marketers need…

When bogged by these challenges but with the aspiration to use gamification advance your team’s interests still intact, a sports marketer should take help from the experts. These issues and many others can easily be tackled with a tactful and resourceful partner. There are companies out there who specialize in helping companies set up and manage their fan engagement function. These are usually, technology based fan management & engagement platforms.

Having a partner of this specialty will not only help with gamification but will also open doors of possibilities for work on other things concerning the relationship between the team and its fans. But choosing a credible partner to work with in the capacity of a gamification partner isn’t an easy feat to achieve.

There are various factors that play a role each when you decide to partner with a fan engagement platform or a gamification service provider. These are factors which if ignored could, and have in the past, caused losses to a team when their marketing efforts didn’t reap benefits.

At this point, based on the assumption that you have already started to give some thoughts to the whole idea of adopting gamification as a part of your marketing machinery, we suggest you make your final call only after speaking to a gamification service provider.

To help you pick a partner who will help you make the most out of gamification and achieve marketing objectives you have set for your team, we suggest you keep in mind the following conditions and parameters. These will help you make the right decision and award yourself with better than ordinary results to say the least.

  1. Experience is critical – Go for an engagement platform that has experience, successfully achieving the type of objectives you have in mind. Choosing a partner that hasn’t had any good projects to its name in the past or doesn’t have experience in this domain could prove detrimental to the potential success of your marketing efforts.
  2. Not just any but experience with gamification – When you are looking for a partner that has done what you intend to see being done with your marketing through gamification, it is critical that you pick a platform that has experience with gamification. Only a partner with experience in handling gamification projects in the past will be of any help to you.
  3. Industry knowledge – Opt for a gamification service provider that is well aware of the technological as well as sports industry updates and developments. You need a partner who will be make only logical and sensible recommendations to you.
  4. Be careful with the pricing models – Among the companies that you review, go for one that has a variable pricing model in place of a high fixed fee cost model. Your requirements revolving around gamification could and would be highly dynamic in nature. With the changing nature of your requirements, a variable pricing model might be the best option to place bets on. This is because if one month you decide to go for fewer activities for your fans on your application and if the usage of gamification is lesser as compared to other months then you just might save your team a few bucks. A variable pricing model may also be priced based on the number of fans you wish to engage with for example. In such a case, the metrics could be well defined to measure success and to later on compare the achievements with the price initially quoted as per the model.
  5. Pick the best practices only – Now brands from varied fields have time and again undertaken activities that have stirred up controversy. You wouldn’t want to find yourself in a soup of this kind so it is best you hire a gamification service provider that is well versed with the best practices in your industry. So basically, you need a provider well versed with the sentiments of fans of the sporting industry and also practices deemed best in the same industry.

Eventually it all boils down to your hunch too. Pick a partner you feel will be fully committed to your cause.

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Building a Gamification Strategy

Gamification is an up and coming marketing trend that is gaining more attention in marketing, education and other industry sectors as an ideal way to create engagement with a consumer audience.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is an up and coming marketing trend that is gaining more attention in marketing, education and other industry sectors as an ideal way to create engagement with a consumer audience. With Game-like mechanics like points, countdowns, bonuses and difficulty levels, the socio-psychological concept of playing a game and possibly winning something stimulates the creative, playful and competitive spirit.

Courtesy: iMore

The goal of increasing the probability that a person repeats desired steps through games is achieved by using the scoring systems or ranking lists to reward its consumers with virtual items such as access to exclusive privileges, discounts, levels or prizes. And by using such game-like mechanics and dynamics for a non-game marketing purpose, gamification has shown promising results in increasing consumer engagement and/or influence consumer behaviour.

Why does Gamification work?

From a psychological perspective, the Prospect Theory introduced by Kahnemann and Tversky shows that small incentives enable people to take an extra effort to do things that they otherwise would not. The Prospect Theory is a behavioural economic theory that describes the way people choose probabilistic alternatives that involve risk — where the probabilities of outcomes are known. People take an effort because of their intrinsic motivation (brand commitment maybe too) in situations where they expect a reward.

In other words, people’s behaviours are being influenced by Gamification elements mentioned above, which can have a very small cost / investment for the brand. Research has shown that gamification not only increases customer commitment and loyalty, but also the motivation of the intended audience. If implemented correctly, it can have a high return on investment for companies (Dr. Städtgen, Gamification and Motivation, 2015).

How has gamification been effective in the sports industry?

From the days of gladiators fighting each other in the Colosseum, sports spectatorship has never be passive. Even today, sports teams and its players are given a celebrity status and watching them play is their way of interacting with them. The sports fans have always shown passionate involvement when watching their favourite sports persons or teams at their peak physical condition compete. To the fans, players are more than just celebrities – they are their idols, their heroes who inspire and motivate millions across the globe. Watching a sport means living the action, and fans become a part of it by rooting for their icons.

In today’s digital world, sports fans are no longer only at the receiving end of a monologue. Sports consumption has become even more interactive and captivating, thanks to the latest developments in technology. They are constantly interacting with the game through predictions, live updates, and post-match comments on second-screen platforms like Twitter or Facebook. They are engaged in every moment of the game, now more than ever, all thanks to the smartphone that lets sports fans experience rich, engrossing, immersive entertainment experiences on-the-go.

Streaming matches, checking and predicting scores, reading sports-related news and articles, or building a fantasy team – all of this is possible with a few taps on a screen. Given the popularity of instant digital access to sports, it is hardly surprising that Hotstar in India pays INR 300 crore to the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the mobile rights of a single IPL season!

The Road Ahead For Gamification in Sports…

Gamification with the direct intention of increasing engagement was first introduced by Fantasy Sports – a concept conceived in 1979 by American sportswriter Daniel Okrent that received great response from the audience over the last couple of decades. Seasonal games provided daily fantasy matches and became one of the biggest engagement tools for a sports fan. As part of the fantasy game, fans would memorise individual players’ statistics and analyse the upcoming fixture list to lock their teams before the match.

Lately however, fans began turning away from fantasy leagues due to lack of time and the fact that the teams would have to locked in an hour before the match – thereby putting an end to the engagement well in advance of the match. This passive aspect of fantasy sports has fans yearning for a real-time format more accessible and exciting.

With the growing use of smartphones, it didn’t take long for live sports gaming to gather momentum in the sports fan engagement market. Not only did live sports gaming attract the Fantasy sports fan base, but also the casual fans – a demographic that is far greater. Live Sports Gaming as the name suggests, is based on one of the most common behaviours observed in a sports fan’s conversation during a live sports event – Predictions.

The sheer thrill in predicting how a sports match unfolds on the field and finding glory in the success of it is what makes live sports gamification a more realistic experience. It allows users to get involved in the game from the blow of the whistle or the sound of the buzzer and remain engaged in the match till the very end. It gives the fans the chance to connect with one another and share their passion for sports across real and virtual worlds. The inclusion of chat forums, pre-match quizzes and live match prediction games allows for a sports interaction experience that is far more engrossing and riveting than any other medium.

5 Things to keep in mind when incorporating gamification into the marketing strategy

With clear evidence that the future of sports consumption lies in fans engaging digitally and sharing their insights, predictions, and analysis in real time, here are 5 key things to keep in mind when incorporating gamification into a marketing strategy.

  1. Know your Fan Base. To determine what type of game might appeal to your customers, you must first and foremost understand your target audience. Get this wrong and you may not engage them correctly to get the level of engagement you’re seeking. A young 25 year old fan would have different preferences to the type of gameplay as a 40 year-old. If a quiz format is to be used, one must consider the audience’s age so that relevant questions can be included.
  2. Research is Important. Before launching your own game, see what other games have been created for consumers. See how they work, how and what type of rewards they yield. The best gamification strategies come from evaluating what others have done to identify best practices that would fit your marketing objectives. Social sharing, scoring and rewards are the kind of games that tend to do well in the sports environment.
  3. Choose your incentives wisely. Decide what incentive you want to offer. It could be tickets to a sporting event, discounts towards merchandise, promotional coupons or unlocking access to exclusive content. The right type of incentives being offered need to be chosen in order to make the gamification work with right type of audience.
  4. Keep it Simple. Making the game too complex is only going to result in losing the interest of your audience. Gamification only works if your game is able to capture their attention quickly or else they will abandon it. Build your game assuming your audience has a short attention span and is easily distracted. This will help you design the gameplay to be relatively short.
  5. Have clear goals. Have a clear objective in place that you want the gamification strategy to help ultimately achieve. Without a goal, how can you be sure your gamification strategy is worth it? It also helps to keep monitoring the progress of the game to determine if your strategy is bringing you closer to achieving your objective. If not, revisit the design of your game to make the necessary changes.

Gamification has gathered momentum in popularity lately only because it appeals to the audiences on a deeper psychological level than just a one sided communication such as an advertisement. Implement these key principles into your gamification strategy and you’re guaranteed to capture the sports fan’s attention.  

Gamification – The Competition

The basic premise of gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing to non-game scenarios as a strategy to accelerate business performance through increased customer engagement and influence customer behavior.

As digital systems become more seamlessly integrated into our daily activities, the latest marketing trend of gamification encourages more engagement from the intended target audience. The basic premise of gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing to non-game scenarios as a strategy to accelerate business performance through increased customer engagement and influence customer behaviour.

Pic courtesy: Wacom

Although gamification has many potential applications, as one would do with other business strategies, gamification in the sports industry needs to adopt a targeted approach in its design and implementation to maximize returns. Launching the right type of game for the right type of sports fans in a controlled environment with well-defined workflows, are measurable and are willingly embraced.

We’ve all heard of the fantasy sports teams and the leagues that run in tandem with sporting tournaments. It is not uncommon for many sports personalities and franchises to deploy gamification strategies such as fantasy leagues as part of their higher level fan engagement activities. Gamification serves to give the sports fans an immersive fan experience which helps to build brand loyalty. It is also a good way to provide the fans with incentives which help influence customer behaviour. If the sports teams want customers to buy their merchandise or tickets to their live matches, one could leverage gamification to provide incentives as they make purchases.

Examples of gamification in the sports world

The popularity of gamification in sport is not unique to just one or two sports. With over 3.2 million players are registered on the official Barclays Premier League Fantasy Football game, being part of the fantasy league has become a huge part of the culture of being a ‘football’ fan. In the world of motorsport, as a partner of McLaren, Hilton offers the Honors Fantasy Racing challenge in Formula 1 racing, which invites fans to select four drivers, two constructors, and an engine manufacturer, and their ‘team’ is rewarded in points from actual performances at a Grand Prix weekend.

Across the globe, the Indian Premier League leveraged a fantasy cricket team to increase engagement. Fans had to create a virtual team of real cricket players and score points depending on how your chosen players perform in real life matches. To win a tournament, fans had to work towards attaining the maximum points and the No. 1 rank on the leaderboard at the end of the season.

So are you looking to add gamification to your fan engagement strategy?

Here are 5 inspiring gamification ideas to add to your marketing strategy…

  1. Trivia. A trivia quiz is one of the easiest ways to add a layer of gamification if you are new to the concept. The competitive element can be added by implementing points, a timer and leaderboards into your quizzes that enhance the experience. Trivia quizzes offers a great deal of flexibility in the frequency at which you engage with your target audience. You can choose to run your quiz daily at a specific time of the day or it can be kept open for longer time period.
  2. Gamified Predictions. Fans enjoy the thrill of predicting how a sports match unfolds on the field before or during a live game. And by communicating their predictions with other fans live through chats, messaging boards, etc, it gives the fans the chance to connect with one another and share their passion for sports across real and virtual worlds. And the joy they experience when their prediction is right is second to none!
  3. Fan-Driven Fantasy Sports. Fantasy sports have been around since 1979. It’s a tried and tested model that is vouched for by many success stories over the years. But how could you improve on this? By giving your fans more control in the gamification process! Unlike the traditional model, why not allow users to create free challenges amongst friends and other sports fans at any point during the sporting tournament. This way you are able to captivate both the fantasy player who plays regularly as well as the casual player who hasn’t been involved in fantasy sports before.
  4. Virtual Currency. Gamification serves no purpose if there is no reward for the time and effort you expect the fan to put into the game. Incentivising the fan by offering a virtual currency as a reward in the game gives the audience the feeling of achievement without the business spending any real money on it. There’ always the option of earning extra revenue from selling virtual currency to fans for money. This virtual currency can be spent in-game to upgrade teams or buy new players, for instance.
  5. Leaderboards. Displaying a list of people to recognize publicly who has earned the most achievements provides some extra motivation for people to keep participating and to do their best to stay near the top of the standings. What is particularly useful about leaderboards in gamification is that it can be applied to any type of games to give it the competitive element. The desire to appear on the leaderboards drives players to earn more achievements, in turn fuelling deep engagement.

While there are many different gamification models applicable to the sports industry, the 5 ideas listed above are what we believe the ideal entry points into gamification if you are new to it. And the beauty of it is, the 5 concepts can co-exist into one gamification model so you are free to mix and match to what best suits your needs.

5 Ways To Generate Revenue Through Gamification!

As a matter of fact, evidently, gamification made the whole process of engaging with fans so simple. It has brought so much to the table for all the stakeholders involved including the fans.

Sports Marketing Has Evolved Over The Years…

Over the years, sports marketing has gone on to evolve as a branch separate from others in the domain of marketing. With this evolution though, sports marketers have only found the lot of responsibilities on their shoulders increasing.

 

From getting the stands to fill to selling merchandise to maintaining constant engagement with the fans, there are so many areas to look at for a sports marketer. Eventually everything though boils down to generating revenue. It isn’t an alien of a concept for any establishment that the marketers in an organization are the drivers of revenue growth. In addition to the sales department doing its job, marketers too are responsible for undertaking activities which will drive revenue growth.

Sounds like a tough job, doesn’t it?

It sure is too but then if you are a sports marketer and if you too agree that to maintain consistency you have to constantly evolve and develop then it isn’t so difficult after all. Over the years, sports marketers have been trying varied means of communication to better engage with fans. From the hard sell approach, sports marketers have evolved to taking the soft and subtle approach whenever and wherever needed. They have come to understood the importance of engaging with fans, building a community and taking them gradually from the need stage to the buy stage. This evolution has furthermore been assisted by technological developments. Gamification is one such development.

Gamification making a place of its own…

Once met with rife concerns, today gamification is a widely adopted and trusted practice in the domain of marketing, especially in the sports industry. Gamification has changed the manner in which teams used to interact and engage with their fans.

As a matter of fact, evidently, gamification made the whole process of engaging with fans so simple. It has brought so much to the table for all the stakeholders involved including the fans. Fans find their experiences interacting with their favorite teams now far more fulfilling and interesting. Teams are even employing reward mechanisms as a part of their gamification process to keep their fans engaged.

Gamification giving a boost to revenue growth…

Now what if you could use gamification to generate more revenue. Gamification has been adopted by teams across the world and they have witnessed spectacular results. Gamification is a way of making sure that your engagement with your fans yields money for your team. Gamification has the power to enable you to generate revenue for your team even during Off seasons. Gamification helps you convince your fans to contribute to your team’s growing revenue stream even if they are not inside the stadium.

There are multiple ways of using gamification to generate revenue. All you need to do is find the one that your fans are most expected to lap up. Some of the ways we feel gamification could be used to generate revenue are as follows:

  1. The Freemium model – Let the application of your team be based on a Freemium model. Meaning, though your application will be available for use to all your fans, classifying certain features are prime features would be a smart thing to do. For instance, a feature that would allow the fans to watch live streaming of the team’s practice sessions could be classified as prime. Your freely available features will be enough to attract your fans to want more from your app and that alone will be enough to see your prime features finding takers.
  2. Let them bargain – Come on, who on this earth doesn’t like to bargain? And most importantly who doesn’t like a good bargain? Fans, as is evidenced, go gaga over merchandises. Imagine selling your merchandise through your app but only in a different way now. Imagine your fans bargaining to get their hands on a merchandise. They would for example click on a button that would say BARGAIN and then once they have clicked on it, the price of the item would decrease. Now here’s the fun part, the fans would share the link of the item with the lessened price with their friends too who use the app and these friends too would bargain on behalf of the original sender of the link. This way eventually, the fans would be able to get their hands on team merchandises for a far lesser cost.
  3. Further gamify your fantasy leagues – Just because it is off season, doesn’t mean your fans aren’t looking for some sporting action. Get them hooked onto your fantasy league games on your app by introducing new and improved interactive features to them. Fantasy leagues are an amazing and effective way to generate revenue. If you could allow only a set of players as freely available and pitch the more qualified and experienced or in-form players are premium, i.e. available at a cost, then it could too serve as a stream of revenue.
  4. Product placement for advertisers – Advertising is undoubtedly a supreme means of generating revenue for a sports team. As a marketer if you could bank on this fact and gamify the advertising experience by introducing product placements then it could really seal it for you. Imagine placing the products of your advertisers in a way that they don’t obstruct the experience of fans and still manage to deliver what is promised to the advertisers. An example could be a gaming app that had the names of advertisers on the hoardings seen inside the stadium in the game itself.
  5. Trivia – Now there’s so much you could do with trivia. From asking questions concerning teams or players to the game itself, only sky’s the limit here. A good and easy way to monetize Trivia could be having them sponsored by your advertisers. Your winners could get free tickets or merchandise sponsored exclusively by your sponsors.

Like an engine needs fuel to run, any business needs money to function. Being a sports marketer, you have to be tactful and innovative in your approach.