Have you heard of gamification? It’s not a new trend, and it has been sweeping creative marketing professionals all over the world for several years now. If you’re new to the world of gamification, it’s basically the use of video games and the elements of playing a game with scoring points, competition and rules in an online marketing technique. It’s designed to put more fun into marketing, and it has the ability to develop strong and loyal followers to your product or brand.

Perhaps the biggest example of the use of gamification in marketing now is through the mega-hit app Pokémon Go. It was quickly released as the most popular mobile application of all time, slaughtering all previous records and finding its way onto the cell phones of users ages eight to 80. You can go outside at nearly any time of the day, head to any cultural landmark in your city and find people there, eagerly seeking out the augmented reality Pocket Monsters as they whip the Pokémon balls and try to catch them all. Now, marketers are taking note of this massive hit, and there are many ways you can use Pokémon Go to help attract new customers to your business. It’s just one example of how video games can be used to help bring your marketing to a new, more modern world.



Pokémon Go gets customers

One of the quickest and easiest ways to put Pokémon Go to work for you is through the use of lures. You can purchase them for a nominal fee on the app itself, usually for less than $10. Then you simply set a lure around your business. That lure will help draw the little creatures to you, which then, in turn, draws all the creature hunters to you as well. As people are out seeking a Pokémon, the game directs them to the nearest monster, which, in this case, will be your business. Some businesses are offering coupons and discounts for customers who show up with one specific monster on their phone or just for showing up when a lure is out. Put out a power strip, and let customers charge their phones after they arrive, and you can turn a brief battery-charging-stop into a new customer for life.


Who are the influencers?

The best thing about using gamification as a marketing tool is that it uses real people, just like your customers, as the influencers for your business. People love games. They love winning games, and they love showing off their impressive statistics and all those points they’ve racked up. The truth is that any new potential customer will be swayed if they hear about how great you are through one of their friends, and gamification is the way to ensure that your new customers are hearing about it often.


Mutually beneficial

Keep in mind that in order for gamification to be effective, it needs to be mutually beneficial. That means, you need to find a way to reward your customers and clients for taking the time to play whatever game you’ve come up with. Another trend that’s still hitting marketers around the country is geocaching. It is a type of scavenger hunt with tiny things hidden all over your city for people to find. You can easily get in on the geocaching movement to find some fun ways to bring in more customers. Then, when someone has done the job of finding all those hidden objects, make sure to reward that customer with a discount, coupon, free gift or something to show to their friends.



This article was written by Deborah Flomberg of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.