Game Theory for Marketing Automation

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If you are a B2B marketer, you’ve probably heard the terms “game theory” or “gamification” in regards to advertising a few times. But what does gamification mean and what does game theory have anything to do with marketing?

Game theory is a method for analyzing calculated circumstances, such as in games, where a person’s success is based upon choices. Gamification is the use of game design dynamics and mechanics to solve problems and engage people involved in non-game activities.

With those two short, sweet definitions, it should be easy to see how game theory could be applied to B2B marketing, particularly through the use of marketing automation. Interactive, B2B and content marketers can use game theory and gamification to motivate action and drive engagement with prospects, customers, partners, sales and more through automated marketing channels.

Game theory in advertising campaigns begins with motivation: Incentives are what trigger people’s interest in playing the game. Motivations drive actions that are fulfilled by fun challenges, elevation of social status, recognition from peers, feedback from the community and more. These rewards give customers (players) a sense of achievement. This feeling is what reinforces motivation to keep them interested in the game.

Some places to start with the gamification of a marketing campaign include:

  • Entertain. Many styles of video games tell a story as people work their way through them. Content marketing can be used to create a story line to pique consumer interest and curiosity to find out how the story unfolds.
  • Challenge. People that tackle a challenge feel a sense of accomplishment that keeps them engaged. Gamification trials should tie back to rewards as well as achievement of levels that become increasingly difficult. To keep people coming back, there should be short-term and long-term goals to be reached.
  • Reward. Rewards should match level of difficulty so target users gain a sense of accomplishment with their achievements. Incentives can have a monetary value, but doesn’t have to. Non-monetary rewards could include exclusive information, access or acknowledgment.
  • Status. Leaderboards can be great helps for displaying status for marketing gamification. Leaderboards provide a recognition mechanism, while simultaneously ranking prospective leads.  An automated marketing analytics platform can be configured to support reward systems.
  • Community. The problem with solitaire is even if you win, you only proved you reigned supreme over a deck of inanimate cards. Social interaction is a key component of true gamification. Players (customers) should be able to connect, share and reach out to other people.

B2B marketers can really use game theory and gamification to enhance their advertising campaigns. These ideas can be used to motivate action and drive engagement through automated marketing channels like no other technique. Now, it is time to put on your game face and prepare the marketing field for play!

For information on how to start automating your marketing efforts, check out our marketing automation software page.

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