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.