I’ve recently returned from Austin, Texas, having attended the world’s largest Interactive Media conference, South by South West. There’s no doubt, based on the presentations by the world’s marketing and interactive media EXPERTS, that social media platforms are here to stay … and are forever changing how we do business.
So, if there are readers of this blog who are yet to jump on board with platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, wait no more. (Contact me … or any of the other social media strategists within HerBusiness… and figure out how social media can be utilised in YOUR business.) What was most exciting about SXSW was seeing the future trends. Now that the business-world is getting used to being ‘social,’ experts are suggesting the next evolution will be based on gaming… or as Seth Priebatsch (CEO of SCVNGR) called it, the gaming layer.
If you went to school, have a loyalty program card in your wallet or have ever had your credit card ‘upgraded’ to black, gold or platinum, then you have participated in the gaming layer. Essentially, a game is where players progress up levels of status or reward in return for appropriate behaviour – and are penalised for inappropriate behaviour. What’s this got to do with business? Well, game mechanics of rewarding a purchase, or even a visit to a store, could assist a business with new customer acquisition. Or, instead of giving a customer their sixth coffee free, game-based loyalty programs could be used to reward regular customers with status and special privileges.
Such games can now be played within social media applications. For example, FourSquare allows users to ‘check-in’ at a venue (retail store, hospitality venue, public space) and receive tips or insights from other visitors. More importantly, savvy businesses can make offers to both new and returning customers via these applications. A FourSquare user can also be enticed into a store or venue near their most recent-check-in… all based on their profile history. Customised, targeted, real-time marketing… that’s fun for the consumer. Now that’s a game-changer!
Questions to spark more ideas…
How might *your* business use game mechanics to attract new customers or increase loyalty? Which game mechanics have enticed you to ‘check-in,’ visit or buy?