The success of apps such as Angry Birds, Candy Crush, and Heads Up proves that people of all ages can enjoy–and become addicted to–games. Many marketers have paid close attention to the success of gaming apps and have started to incorporate gaming into their marketing strategies as a result.

Because playing a game is an interactive experience, incorporating gamification into an experiential marketing event makes perfect sense. Here’s how it can be done:

Consider the Event

Before you start brainstorming ways to incorporate gamification into your plans, it’s important to think about whether or not this idea is a good fit for your event. For example, if your guests will not have access to Wi-Fi at your venue, this could limit your gaming options. It’s also important to think about the guests’ expectations. Tech-savvy consumers who are expecting a high energy and entertaining event will probably be thrilled to play a branded game. However, it may not be appropriate for other events or audiences. The lesson here is that marketers should not assume that gamification should be incorporated into their event simply because it is a trendy tactic–it should only be used when it is a good fit.

Offer Exciting Rewards

Encourage guests at your event to play your game by offering rewards that excite them. Sometimes, all it takes to get guests to play is a little public recognition. For instance, if you have a large screen that displays the current leaders in the game, guests may want to play so they can see their name in lights.

Guests are motivated by exclusive experiences as well. If you have a VIP area at your event, let the winner go behind the velvet ropes and enjoy VIP perks for the rest of the event. Tangible rewards such as promotional items, discounts, or free products also work well.

Create A Sense of Urgency

Marketers often create a sense of urgency to motivate consumers to act fast before a deal or discount is no longer available. This same tactic can be applied in this situation. Create a sense of urgency by using a game timer or reminding guests there are only a few minutes left to beat the record held by someone else. Even if the guests are already playing the game, creating a sense of urgency is still useful because it keeps them engaged with your brand.

Encourage Social Shares

Make it easy for people who play your game to share their experience on their social media pages. Offer guests additional points or free lives if they post something about your brand on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. There are more subtle ways to ask for social shares as well. For instance, at the end of the game, give players the option of logging into their accounts and sharing their results directly with their followers.

Players are also more likely to share pictures and videos of the game if there are good photo opportunities. For example, if players are required to wear a certain headset to play the game, they may want to snap a silly selfie to post on social media. A leadership board can also be a good photo opportunity since players will be eager to share a photo of their ranking.

Keep it Simple

Marketers must remember to keep the game as simple as possible. No one wants to stop and read a thick book of instructions before playing a game at an event. The game should be so simple that it can be quickly explained by the brand ambassador working in that area. This way, people will understand how to play so they actually enjoy the experience. It also ensures that everyone gets a chance to play the game. If the game is confusing, it could take a long time for each player to figure out what to do. As a result, fewer people will get to play and interact with your brand.

Don’t Go Over Budget

Incorporating gamification into your experiential marketing event may sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re working with a small budget, there’s no need to spend more than you can afford in order to capitalize on this trend. Some gaming strategies, such as trivia games, cost almost nothing to implement. Ask guests to compete against each other to see who knows the most about a certain topic related to your brand. For example, a beauty brand could ask questions about hair and makeup trends and techniques. You can even throw in a few questions about your products to incorporate your brand into the game. This is one of many ways that small-sized brands can incorporate gaming into their events.

Tie the Game to Marketing Goals

The purpose of the game should be to entertain your guests, but it should also help you reach your marketing goals. Before you start planning your game, you must identify your marketing goals. If you want to teach consumers about a certain product or service, the game should be somewhat informational so guests learn about your brand while playing. If you want to raise awareness about your brand, offer rewards to guests who refer friends or promote your brand on social media. These are just a few of the ways that games can be connected to marketing goals. Keep your marketing goals in mind when planning the game so you can make sure you are creating an experience that helps you reach them.

If you’re interested in creating a unique gaming strategy for your next experiential marketing event, contact Factory 360 today. Let our team of experiential marketing experts plan and implement a unique strategy to help you reach your target audience.

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