Gamification: The Fuel Behind Successful
Event Marketing

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Written by Guðfinnur Trónd Thorsteinsson 13 January 2020

gamification event marketing

For marketers, time spent with prospects can be priceless. It’s why event marketing is crucial

for businesses because it allows you to cut through the noise and spend face-to-face time with prospects.

It’s a chance to generate leads, collect permissions, and introduce prospects to your brand. Event marketing can also be tricky— it requires businesses to design an experience and execute it in a venue you may not be familiar with. 

There’s been an increase in investment for tech at event marketing. Attending companies have adapted event software and integrated their CRM or other parts of the marketing stack. A recent study by Bizzabo, Event Marketing, Benchmark and Trends Report 2019, found that the type of integrations and technology being used at events and expos can impact how to prove event ROI (return on investment). For example, 59% of those surveyed reported that integrating event software with a CRM can prove event ROI. 

Bizzabo’s report ends with a call to action: they state it’s time to innovate in how to develop a measurable and scalable event strategy. Our suggestion? Introduce gamification. 

Here are two great examples of gamification boosting the experience and ROI of event marketing.

Suomalainen booth at a Finnish Craft and Design Expo

event marketing booth

Event: A book and handicraft event in Tampere, Finland

Purpose: Collect marketing permissions 

Flow: They created a Wheel Of Fortune game. All booth visitors won something; if they won the game, they received swag, chocolate, or books. If they ‘lost’, they still received a discount code for the webshop. 

Results: They exceeded their permission number by 10%. 

Lesson: Find a vendor and test the touchscreen before renting. Build a test game and test it on the screen you intend to rent. If it works, then refine the game. 

LeadFamly booth at NextM in
Helsinki, Finland

Event: NextM, a B2B marketing event 

Purpose: Raise awareness of LeadFamly and our gamification platform and collect leads. 

Flow: We created a Wheel Of Fortune. Winners either received a chocolate bar and were entered into the grand prize drawing. 

Results: High conversion rate. Let’s just say deals were signed 🥳

The LeadFamly booth was buzzing with energy, happy visitors, and a long queue. Our colleagues found this to be a great way to start a conversation with potential customers. 

Here’s our lessons and tips for
event marketers:

First, it’s nice if everyone wins something, even if it’s a chocolate bar or discount code. Especially if you use a Luck game like a Wheel Of Fortune or a Slot Machine, rather than a Skill game like a Memory Game, Puzzle, or Drop Game. 

Here are four more tips: 

1. Begin with your end goal

Look at technology you’ll use and determine your goal or KPI (key performance indicator). Ask yourself, why are we going to this event? 

For many clients (and ourselves), we often want to collect marketing permissions or create awareness. When this is the case, it’s best to use a Luck game, or what we call a High Converter. We’ve found that they are quick and work well on a big screens that are usually used at events. 

2. Test, test, test

Speak to event organizers about regulations for screens, what can be at the booth or stand, how strong the WiFi will be, etc. Figure out if you’ll have a touch screen or keyboard and how you can ensure the game will work at the venue. 

If you are renting equipment, reach out to your vendor and test a prototype of your game on the screen. Make sure that it works, it’s responsive, and that it will reflect your brand the way you want it to. Once you’ve settled on the technology and the game concept, then build the game.

3. Have a Plan B 

We had a client who built a game and then the WiFi stopped working at the venue. We recommend you plan for tech hiccups like this. A solution could be having two games prepared: one for your big screen and one that people can play waiting in the queue. Or figuring out a solution so that you rely on your own WiFi rather than the event. 

4. Have a grand prize and then smaller prizes

It’s human nature to love games. Regardless of the event or seniority of attendees or industry, behind every decision maker is a consumer who wants to win. Therefore, if it works for your business, we think it’s a good idea to have many smaller prizes and then one grand prize. 

One way to plan this out is to have a game that can be played on mobile phones while attendees are queueing to speak to you or play the Grand Prize game. The mobile game could be a skills-based game, or what we call Content Engagers, and perhaps all players who win get a piece of swag or a discount code. 

We recently shared a great example of this: LEGOLAND built a Spot The Difference game that people could play while waiting in line for the rides at the Billund Resort. It was a beta test, but they saw such positive results that they will be implementing this concept throughout the different areas of the resort. 

Once attendees have waited in the queue at the event, then they can play the High Converter like a Wheel Of Fortune and be entered in a drawing for the grand prize. While this is happening, it can also give you and your colleagues precious time to talk to people who are interested in your product.

We call this a win-win!

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