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.
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…
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.