- Contest Factory
- March 16, 2018
As a marketer, one of your top priorities is and will always be engagement. It isn’t enough to just get someone to SEE your product/service messaging and imagery. You want them to engage with it. Interact with it. You want it to get their brain functioning at a higher level so that you can instill a genuine, emotional, and earned response at the exact same time. You want to get their psychology involved.
These days, gamification – or the art of incorporating elements typical to game playing into your marketing campaigns – is one of the most powerful and effective ways to do precisely that. Not just because it’s a natural avenue for engagement, but because it also taps directly into someone’s psychology at the same time so that you can use the way their brain naturally works to your advantage.
The Psychology of Gamification
When you boil the concept of gamification down to its bare essentials, it means that you’re setting goals and tracking your progress as you work to achieve them. People do it all the time in ways that have nothing to do with literal games – it’s very effective when people try to give up a habit like smoking or improve habits such as eating healthier or working more. Weight Watchers’ system of counting points and earning rewards for dieting is a well-known and successful version of gamification.
The most important part of this is that gamification relies heavily on our own ambitions. The human body regularly releases dopamine when you experience pleasure – and rewards are nothing if not pleasurable. As you engage with some type of gamification platform (with SpinZone® being just one example), every time you “win” or make positive progress your brain releases dopamine – causing you to feel a pleasurable rush at the same time. This is also supported by the variable ratio schedule presented by B.F. Skinner in psychology. The variable ratio schedule results in the most repeatable instances of behavior the scientist is trying to reproduce. Now picture yourself, the marketer, as the scientist.
Along the same lines, gamification also taps directly into someone’s psychology because it puts the player in charge. When a person feels like they’re in charge, they tend to stay with their goals for much longer periods of time. If one of those goals just happens to be “engage longer with a marketing campaign,” then you’ve entered into a situation where everybody wins.
Gamification also works to increase someone’s motivation because the game itself (and the marketing campaign that it’s attached to) has value associated with it. Likewise, the better you get at something (like a game), the more likely you are to continue to do it.
All of this creates something of a perfect storm where people want to get better at the game you’ve given them the opportunity to play and the end result is a direct, emotional, and meaningful experience with your brand. At that point, the results begin to speak for themselves.
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