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While gamification seems to be an emerging term in the automotive vertical, it's been a stable marketing tactic in others for years now. We've seen it in social media, different location based apps on our phones to training software. If you find that your dealership is looking to employ gamification into your marketing mix there are some simple best practices you will want to review with your staff and your vendors prior to launching.
Know your business goals: Your marketing strategies need to align with your dealership's business goals. If you employ gamification as part of that strategy it has to align as well. Gamification isn't just to make your website content more interesting, clear KPAs need to be defined to ensure success. You need to define clear cut results to measure whether or not your efforts are successful or not.
Make scoring and winning straight forward: In an article published last year by Michael Brenner, it's communicated that our average attention span is now 8 seconds – 1 second less than a goldfish! Therefore on site gamification need not be complex or intricate. Make sure the mechanics of your game(s) are easy to understand and further more, easy to play. If your using skill based gaming, ensure you allow the visitor to have every opportunity to improve or "level up" with out too many hurdles. Keep the playing time short, ensure that the visitor is rewarded quickly and directed to the content you really want them engaging in.
Apply the K.I.S.S rule - Keep parameters simple: Make sure the core rules aren't so complicated or lengthy that they interfere with the goals of the business needs. They don't need to read "War & Peace" before engaging with a simple Instant Win mechanism. If extra information or explanations of the rules need to be communicated you can always offer that content to site visitors if they choose to review through additional linking.
Use Social Media to promote and drive traffic. While most gamification has been targeted solely at the social media channels, start to think about your desired destination for the customer. If it's your dealership's website, have the gamification reside there and use Social Media for promotion (organic/paid). Social media channels are offering more robust advertising options try leveraging those channels to drive traffic to your website. While some may disagree with me here I feel we relied to much on social media to drive traffic to our desired destination through gamification on those platforms and the results weren't always achieved. It's much easier for your vendor or internal development team to continue enhancing their own environments than to keep up with the never ending changes to APIs on the social platforms.
Measure everything. Measurement of not just the ROI but of the customer's behavior are paramount. Ensure that every aspects of your visitor's experience can be measured in order to gain deeper learning to evolve your tactics. It's great that your campaign drove the right business into the store in the form of leads or prize fulfillment but where else can we gain additional information? If you can include surveying and page tracking into your environments there is valuable behavior insights that can be leveraged moving forward.
Keeping your efforts aligned with these simple guidelines will ensure you are building the right foundation on which gamification strategies will thrive. Remember to keep your execution simple, your measurements tight and your dealership will begin to see the fruits of it's labor!