Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Drive Engagement with Gamification

Games have always scored high as a traffic- and engagement-building tactic. The reasons why are well understood. Games satisfy attendees’ innate needs to compete and win recognition. They also offer attendees the opportunity to bring home highly coveted “swag.”

But today, with the appearance of “gamification” on everyone’s hot-topic list, plus attendees’ near-universal fascination with new mobile technologies, games are undergoing a renaissance at events.

In their own way, ITN's near-field communication (NFC) event badges are contributing to the renewed enthusiasm. Event producers who use ITN have a distinct opportunity to "wow" their attendees with a game, because they can treat every attendee's badge as a "virtual swag bag."

What makes this possible is the ability to encode, as well as read, an NFC chip. That feature of the chip makes the event badge a key ingredient of a buzz-worthy and highly memorable game.
To succeed, you need to design a game aligned with your event's goals and that attendees will find alluring. Here are some design alternatives:

Skills competition. Suppose you want to increase traffic at some specific location.  You could design a game that challenges attendees’ physical or mental skills—anything from hitting a target to taking a quiz. An attendee could earn the right to play the game by completing an action (answering a simple question, for example), for which she earns a digital token that you write onto the attendee’s badge. The attendee then redeems the token to play, and earns more tokens (also written onto the badge) based on the number of points scored in the game. Afterwards, the attendee redeems all the digital tokens won for a matching-level prize by visiting your winner’s station.

Treasure hunt. Suppose you want to offer exhibitors a traffic-building sponsorship opportunity. You could design an old-fashioned treasure hunt. Attendees could earn points toward prizes by visiting a series of exhibits, where each participating sponsor rewards them with tokens written onto their badges. After the series of visits, the attendees would circle back to the lead sponsor's exhibit, where they would enter a prize drawing by redeeming their digital tokens.
Game show.
Suppose you want attendees to actively listen, while you communicate a lot of information. You could train a presenter to act as MC, and design a game show that challenges players’ knowledge. Attendees would play by using tablets that—before activating the game—capture their contact information with a touch of the show badge and prompt them to answer a quiz. Based on their game-show scores, players would be awarded variously valued digital tokens (written onto their badges), which they could redeem for the corresponding prizes.

Suppose you want to collect market research from attendees. You could send them on a “mission.” Under this scenario, attendees would earn digital tokens on their badges by visiting a series of kiosks, where they complete your research surveys, presented on tablets. Players who take part in the mission (even the ones who don’t complete it) would receive real-time recognition on a leaderboard and through social-media posts, as well as collecting digital tokens they can redeem for rewards.

Chance. Suppose you want to draw a crowd and maximize word-of-mouth throughout the event. You could design a game of chance. Attendees who play would win digital tokens worth various amounts that they could redeem for refreshments at participating concessions throughout the venue.

Want to boost attendee engagement? Consider integrating a game into your next event.