5 Top Marketing Insights from Harry Potter: Wizards Unite for Marketers
Written by Sara Moulton 25 June 2019
Pokémon GO used marketing gamification and AR, and why Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will follow in its footsteps.
Until last weekend, Potter fans could only imagine the Wizarding World. Now, both Harry Potter and Pokémon fans can experience this magical world in Harry Potter GO, or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite as it’s officially called.
The player’s mission is that magical things are happening in the Muggle [non-magical] world and the player’s job is to capture these magical beings before any muggle sees. Players need to ‘catch’ Foundables [magical creatures, memories, or items] and return them to the wizard world. All in a day’s work.
How this is impacting marketing
Technological advances like AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), and trends like gamification are changing how brands interact with their audience and customers. New experiences and opportunities like using geocaching or micro moments can change how companies interact with their audience.
5 insights for marketers
1. Use psychological rewards
Humans are hardwired to feel lucky when they are in the right place at the right time. This is the backbone of the new Harry Potter: Wizards United game because of the geocaching that is central to the gameplay.
Including experiences where an audience can feel lucky is a great way for marketers to hold their audience’s attention. As AR continues to evolve, games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite add some magic into the everyday lives of players. Whereas VR puts a player into a new and unreal world, AR enhances or enchants the real world.
Other psychological rewards include relationship building and ‘epic wins’ which game designer Jane McGongial defines as an outcome or experience someone didn’t even know was possible until they tried. Marketers can ask themselves how they can incorporate psychological rewards into their next campaign or activation.
2. Embrace marketing gamification
Humans have an attention span of about eight seconds. Just to compare, the attention span of a goldfish is said to be nine seconds . Marketing gamification gives brands or businesses the chance to engage and hold their audience’s attention in an interesting and fun way.
A successful game is all about the interactive experience, with one of the main objectives being to have a ‘gamer’ totally immersed in a story, competition, role, or narrative to achieve a desired outcome. Another goal is to have users spend more time playing the game and then tell others about it.
In a sales and marketing setting, marketers can achieve similar engagement outcomes by focusing on delivering an experience that:
Captivates their attention
Offers them the chance to interact
Rewards them with a worthy incentive
By combining an interactive buyer’s journey with marketing campaigns, marketers have the chance to create several touch points and positive experiences for the customer as they move through the buyer’s journey. Marketers will also have the opportunity to achieve certain marketing objectives, such as adding new permissions to their mailing list with the intention of sending them targeted communications
3. Leverage existing platforms
Rather than ask your audience or fans to buy a new product, game console, or spend money, follow in the footsteps of development company Niantic and use existing platforms or technologies. For Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Pokémon GO, Niantic relied on smartphones and GPS. In 2019, the number of smartphones worldwide is estimated at 2.5 billion so Potterheads or gamers have easy access to begin playing.
Following the success of the mobile app, Pokémon GO, Nintendo continues to release games based on the popular Pokémon series, with the most recent announcement of two games for Nintendo Switch which can be played on TV or taken on the go.
Today there are almost 27 billion connected devices globally; this statistic is expected to triple in the next six years so that by 2025, there are 75 billion connected devices. Knowing this, marketers can take advantage of this by thinking of campaigns and ways to reach their audience where they already spend time.
4. Engage millennials, Generation Z, and Potter fans
Choose experiences that will reach lucrative age groups. Many players of games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Pokémon GO are millennials (born approximately between 1980 and 1995) and Generation Z (born from approximately 1995 to 2015). These are two powerful demographics which are difficult to market to. Millennials value experiences over physical products and Generation Zers like engaging content like video.
In addition, an AR game like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will also be played by fans of the franchise, or Potterheads as they are sometimes referred to. The big takeaway here is that marketers need to identify the right personas for the right product, just like Niantic and WB Games have done.
5. Encourage collaboration and community
Pokémon GO created a huge community with meetups around the world. Added to this is Harry Potter’s huge fanbase— an estimated 500 million books from the series have been sold— and the potential for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is massive.
Some retail businesses and startups, such as beauty company Glossier, also keep collaboration and community at the center of their business. Valued at over US$1 billion, Glossier uses community feedback as a north star for product design.
AR in marketing will continue to be more popular and push the boundaries of what is possible, and the future of marketing could be personalized experiences and interactive content.
Impressing your community and customers is important. It will help your business with customer retention, improve customer loyalty, manage brand reputation, and ultimately provide a better customer experience for your target market.
Let the magic begin.