Using Gamification to Make Experiential Fun


A good customer experience means their expectations have been met, right? While this thought is seductive, it’s a briar patch that catches even the best experiential marketers. Experts suggest that the rapidly growing customer expectations for experience means that very soon even an “average” experience will be considered a negative. So, reworking your strategy should be on your list to tackle ASAP.

Like miss Mary Poppins suggested, even the largest, most daunting tasks become doable, dare I say fun if you turn them into a game. Gamification can be used to engage, influence, and improve customer experiences without tearing your hair out during every activation.

Here’s the point in the conversation that I must warn you, these experiences don’t happen if you add points or badges and expect to see a large jump in sales. Developing better experiences require in-depth investigations and identification of specific business goals, before you can gamify your touchpoints or the entire experiential campaign.

Lets look at 2 ways incorporating gamification can make experiential marketing more fun.

Product Recommendations

The amount of information available to consumers today can be overwhelming, and providing too many options can drastically increase your chances of losing business. For ecommerce that translates to abandoned shopping carts, for experiential marketing, it means sacrificing quantity for quality.

Developing a fun quiz or interactive game for product selection in your business is a vast improvement over personal recommendations. Reframing product exploration and recommendations as a game is much more fun, and takes out all the man-hours associated with searching for and recommending relevant products. Not to mention, with a platform like that, everything the “player” sees is tailored to their own personal experience.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing campaigns are a huge part of brand management and how people experience your brand. They shape and influence customer decisions to use your website, visit your store, or purchase your offerings. So, a great deal of thought and care should be put into how your market will interact with your marketing messages.

The thing about games is, they’re not fun if you force someone else to play. The best way to enjoy a game is if both people want to play, and both get some benefit out of playing. Marketing is no different. Traditional campaigns focus on broadcasting sales messages at customers. Whether they like it or not.

When you take a gamification approach, the tactics are different. This kind of strategy offers value to customers in the form of fun games, prizes, or a mutually beneficial interaction. Customers get to choose to engage, and you don’t have to shove your message down their throat. In addition to improving the overall experience, gamification strategy also has the added benefit of weeding out customers that really aren’t interested in your offering, and you don’t have to waste valuable time pitching a lost cause.

If you take away one piece of knowledge from the post it should be this: Gamification isn’t a points system that you can tack onto your existing experiential strategy. You must take a holistic look at your customer’s journey and use gamification to make your events convenient, simple, and enjoyable.

It’s not simple. It won’t be easy. But, if you do it right, it will be extra fun!