I’ve done a number of posts already about my experiences with Professor Kevin Werbach’s excellent (and free!) Gamification course on the Coursera MOOC system. Professor Werbach has given me permission to share my work on the course assignments, so here is the first of three. I will post the other two in subsequent weeks. If you read all three of the posts coming in this series, you’ll get at least a sense of the arc of the course. I can’t recommend it highly enough. And I believe Professor Werbach plans to offer it again this fall.
Assignment #1 Details:
We were presented with a scenario where a cereal company is introducing a new line of breakfast pastries. The assignment was simply to determine why gamification could represent a smart element to add to their marketing campaign. We were not asked to recommend elements of gamification for this assignment; only to demonstrate why gamification could be beneficial to the company’s marketing plan, based on what we learned in the course lectures. The length was limited to 300 words or less. We were given the following facts:
- Target audience: 18-35 year-olds
- They don’t want to eat kiddie cereals.
- They don’t have time to cook their own breakfasts.
- Market research indicates the pastries are more likely to appeal to women than men, by 65% to 35%.
- The fictitious company has a 35% share of the breakfast food market, but only 10% share of the ready-to-eat segment.
We were tasked with providing as many reasons as possible for why gamification would be a good addition to their marketing, including as many specifics relating to the scenario facts as possible within the word limit.
Why gamification could help sales:
Engagement gap: The target audience (18-35 years) represents a demographic already strongly engaged with gaming and social media. Adding social gamification to the marketing campaign would be a natural, compelling way to engage this new audience voluntarily.
Choices: Allowing players to make autonomous choices within the game-like environment could mirror and introduce the audience to different product choices (flavors, ways to enjoy them). Players end up exploring more of the product line while exploring more of the game, and in doing so, discover for themselves a solution to their desire for something ready-made that isn’t kid’s food.
Progression: A game-like environment could tap into the human psychological desire for progression by including a progression mechanism driven in part by demonstration of product purchase volume or product knowledge, deepening the player’s investment in the product and brand.
Social: We learned in Professor Werbach’s lectures that female players favor more social/casual gaming experiences, and since they are 65% of this target audience, emphasizing the social element in the game-like environment would have strong appeal. It could even be expanded to include earning donations to popular altruistic social causes, to further enhance engagement and product/brand loyalty.
Habit: If the game-like environment is appealing enough to keep bringing players back out of habit, we are also directly and indirectly encouraging them to keep buying the product as part of that habit, which is the primary business objective.
Fun: The game-like element of the campaign can help associate the new product with having fun, making both purchasing and playing more likely to become habit for the players, and also more likely to spread by positive word of mouth to even more players (i.e. more potential customers).
Peer Feedback on My Submission:
Each homework assignment is graded by five anonymous peer students in the course, chosen completely at random. I received a top score of “5” from each of my five graders. Here is the written feedback I received from them on this assignment: