Recently as technology has made way for online and mobile game platforms, businesses have seized the opportunity to really use games to their advantage. This trend has come to be known as “gamification.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines gamification as the application of typical elements of game to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.
This growing trend has emerged in many businesses marketing campaigns including Verizon, Samsung, and SanDisk.
One company that has latched on to this trend is Contest Factory.
Contest Factory, a company founded in 1999, creates sweepstakes, instant-win, and user-generated contests housed across social media, mobile, and web-based platforms.
As a company that works to help clients engage customers via contests, gamification is an ideal fit.
“Everything we do is to support gamification,” said Christian Brantley, the marketing director for Contest Factory. “What we’re doing that’s different than in the past is we’re working on developing systems for developing gamification at a much lower price point and providing a self-service engine so that smaller businesses can afford to log on and create a contest without the typical cost of a large campaign.”
But why has this marketing method become so prevalent in recent years? Brantley offered his opinion on the reasons behind this growth.
“One is technology. People are able to enter on mobile phones, scan QR codes, and engage with contests via channels like Facebook very quickly easily and seamlessly. They are also able to share and disseminate those contests and games quickly to their friends and family.”
“Another element that is more societal is that with a down economy, living in the fantasy that we could all take a Disneyland Cruise for free is really powerful.”
From the business side of things, Brantley explained, “The third reason would be lead generation and opening up avenues of communication for companies. It’s very difficult to get opt-in email addresses, and contests and games are a brilliant way to do it. And of course the fun factor is there too.”
Moreover, Brantley said that gamification is an effective way to build customer loyalty with brands, “It gets companies into a mode of communication and helps change the general consumer into an evangelist. And every brand on the planet wants to have brand evangelists.”
While this may currently be a great method for business-consumer engagement, it is no secret that technology trends are often fleeting. However, many business and tech analysts believe this trend will not disappear soon.
According to analysts at the consulting company Deloitte, this trend will be in, “25 percent of redesigned business processes by 2015, will grow to more than a $2.8 billion business by 2016, and will have 70 percent of Global 2000 businesses managing at least one ‘gamified’ application or system by 2014.”
Brantley agrees that the trend is not transient, and will continue to help businesses in the future. “I think gamification is here to stay and it’s only going to grow. As the technology supports a lower financial barrier of entry, it’s only going to help grow the amount of people engaging in it.”
“I like to think back to the first really big sweepstakes in this country- the Publisher’s Clearing House. It’s [contests and gaming] only grown since then and it will continue. I cannot think of something that will come along that will stop that growth.”