Have you ever done something that you later look back at and wonder “why did I do that?” I know I have. In fact, I’ve probably done that a few more times than I care or even dare to remember.
And a good number of them are probably not suitable for sharing in a family-friendly newsletter. Those stories will have to save for another day I’m afraid.
Anyway, I was about to share with you something that I experienced recently, and it’s something that I’ve found to be personally valuable and hopefully you will too.
Not sure If I’ve mentioned this before, but these days I reside in Nottinghamshire, and as we reach autumn, something big happens. There’s a particularly famous show that comes to town; The Goose Fair.
Every year one of Europe’s largest travelling fairs comes to Nottingham city centre and brings with it a frenzied cavalcade of lights, sights, sounds and sugary snacks, specially designed to attract excitable children (and adults for that matter) in their droves.
My wife Hannah won’t mind me saying that she loves this event. She’s got particularly happy childhood memories of fun trips with her siblings to enjoy the rides and candyfloss, and generally disperse her father’s hard-earned money through whatever means possible.
Needless to say, attendance in our family is non-negotiable, and to be fair (pun intended), I do kind of like eating hotdogs and winning oversized cuddly hedgehogs (mind that was a few years ago now).
So off we set, making our way to the fair, along with the huge crowds of revellers also looking to indulge.
It wasn’t too long before I found myself sat amid 12 equally optimistic contenders at the Arabian Derby. With a brace of balls in hand, I eagerly awaited the starting bell. You could cut the tension with a knife.
If you’re not familiar with the Arabian Derby (I’m sure it also has other names too), it’s a game where you roll balls in your alley with the aim of getting them into one of a series of holes which each represent a score. The higher the number, the further your camel progresses towards the winning line. The first camel over the line wins the prize.
It turns out, I was a little rusty. My camel reminded me of a ‘stalled’ formula one car, still sat on the starting grid as everyone else raced off into the distance.
No sooner had I got going, the bell had rung and the chap in lane nine was already proudly basking in his impressive victory.
Not to worry I thought. I’ll just have one more go… Yeah right!
Considering my addictive personality and a competitive streak, AND I MUST ADD after a string of 2nd and 3rd place finishes, I was finally able to see sense and peel myself away.
Feeling £6 lighter and somewhat graceful in defeat, we moved on.
But it got me thinking. Why do people do that? Why did I just do that?
It certainly wasn’t the value of the prizes available, it wasn’t even the desire to get the prize. In fact, if I’d walked into a shop and they were selling these prizes at £2 I wouldn’t have given it a second glance.
It’s because it’s a game! Games are fun. Winning is fun.
Fun, exciting and competitive things can motivate people to take actions they wouldn’t have ordinarily taken.
One example of marketing game which springs to mind and has been running literally since I can remember (not sure if it has run consistently, but it’s certainly been around for a while) is McDonald’s Monopoly promotion.
Every time a customer buys a qualifying product, they are given a little Monopoly board property. When they collect a full set, they’re able to claim a prize. They also shake it up further by offering random chances to win instantly too.
The challenge of collecting these and the thrill of seeing if you are a winner, in some cases will motivate their customers to do things they wouldn’t have ordinarily done. Like go to McDonald’s three times in a week.
How can you apply games to your marketing or business?
The important rules when thinking up a game to use in your business are as follows.
The game must be:
- Easy to understand
- Exciting to play (and win)
- Believable (the contestant must feel like it’s at least possible to win)
Here are 5 ways you can use games to your advantage:
1) To get more leads
Offer a scorecard to new prospects where they can grade their current performance. Not only will the prospect want to find out their score and see how they compare to everyone else, but it will also help you to pre-qualify leads.
2) To get more repeat business
Develop a loyalty scheme where the customer collects stamps (or their equivalent) every time they purchase to win a prize. Add an end date for extra motivation.
3) To increase productivity from your staff
Maintain a leaderboard for the most productive members of your team that complete successful projects. This technique is probably most used in sales, however, it can apply to any area of your business if you give it enough thought.
4) To improve work quality
This is something we’ve done here at Go Websites, where we’ve turned quality control into a game. Randomly selected tasks are quality checked and the resulting score is tracked for the team member who submitted it. We’re able to track personal performance, monthly winners and annual winners.
5) To increase customer satisfaction
Create a game to incentivise your customers or staff to provide/collect feedback. The end result is the same; more comprehensive customer feedback = issue resolution and happier customers.