This Marketing Technique Has Worked for 100+ Years

This Marketing Technique Has Worked for 100+ Years

June 22, 2016 | 2 min to read

Long before the first game store, retailers were leveraging the elements of gaming to drive their businesses.

In 1896, Sperry & Hutchinson began selling "green stamps." Department stores, gas stations, and other retailers purchased the stamps and issued them to shoppers, who collected them in complementary booklets, and redeemed the filled booklets for rewards. By the 1960s, the company was printing three times as many stamps as the US postal service.

It was the blueprint for an incredibly powerful marketing tool that has since become ubiquitous: gamification.

Gamification is the application of game elements (points, levels) to non-game contexts (shopping, work).

First, note the caveat: non-game contexts. Points and levels don't make a game. But while "gamification" may be something of a misnomer, it's proven effective.

Modern gamification programs usually incentivize desired behaviors with digital rewards like badges or trophies—the 21st century equivalent of green stamps—often redeemable for a reward.

With the proliferation of smartphones, gamification has become ubiquitous. Gamification apps help people live heathy, manage their personal finances, expand their vocabularies—you name it.

So why is gamification so effective?

Embedded in every game is an architecture for engagement.

The defining features of a game—clear objectives, clear rules, a network of rewards and penalties—have an attention-capturing power that taps into the natural desire for achievement and closure.

Today, many WPN members are leveraging that power to help drive their businesses.

Big Daddy Games bakes game elements into their learn-to-play events. Gryphon Games uses it to demystify Magic , rewarding players for achievements like "play Two-Headed Giant" or "resolve a rules dispute."

With Eldritch Moon coming up, could gamification help you drive preregistration? Fire more Booster Drafts? Up your Game Day turn out?

There are dozens of low to no-cost gamification platforms that might help.

Here are just three:

1. Captain Up

If you have fewer than 1,000 users, Captain Up offers a free version that includes ten badges and eight levels, plus analytics, a leaderboard, and more.

2. Mambo.IO

Mambo.IO is a relatively new gamification platform with a huge list of features. The commercial version is available by request, with an open-source edition to follow soon.

3. NextBee

NextBee is a loyalty program software that includes a gamification platform with widgets to create quizzes, galleries, and more.

Whatever the behavior you want to drive, one of these tools could help accomplish it. Why not give it a try?

By Matt Neubert


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