A How-To on Converting Hospitality to Sales
Gamification (noun): the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.
Recently this concept has exploded in the world of sports business. NFL Franchises including the Jets, Texans, Panthers, Lions, Titans, and Ravens followed the NBA’s Kings and the MLB’s Dodgers by working with the Silicon Valley company Xperiel in developing prediction-based games around their on-field content. The Minnesota Vikings stayed local by signing Minneapolis’s SportsHub to develop a fantasy focused game for their team’s mobile app.
SportsTechie’s Senior Reporter Jen Booton is accurate in her assessment that teams are planning for the continued trend towards legalization of gambling by using the free-to-play gamification as “training wheels” for the next generation. It is a smart business move for franchises looking to embrace the second screen phenomena in sports and fight against at-home viewing options.
What these teams do with the data they collect varies greatly. Some share it with the corporate partners that sponsor the event, much like MGM Resorts’ branding of the New York Jets’ app-based gamification dubbed “I Called It”, while almost all others repurpose the contact details for their inside sales’ teams lead generation list.
But there is something all these initiatives are missing: gamification’s ability to drive sales at the premium level.
Premium is by definition, different. The guest experience needs to be elevated, more intimate, exclusive. Teams and leagues have subscribed to the idea of premium sales and then doubled down on it due to their ability to exclude premium proceeds from revenue sharing agreements while simultaneously pledging future proceeds to banks and lenders that facilitate the construction of new stadiums.
In turn, corporate brands and organizations use these premium experiences to reward their top clients, build relationships with prospects, and cut attrition rates amongst their valued employees.
So, where does gamification fit in? When the users of an engagement product are targets you are looking to build an intimate relationship with, the gamification needs to represent that.
The contests will still drive a competitive atmosphere, but the parameters need to be smaller to instill a sense of community. The reward needs to be personal, preconceived, and deliver against the guests’ “wins” or internalized hopes and dreams. When those goals are executed, the favor bank is built, and relationships are built on enjoyment, trust, and shared experiences; key ingredients for long-lasting business.
For example, Best.Day.Ever. recently worked with a professional football team to host an event filled with qualified prospects for premium seating packages. We utilized our in-house research team to analyze the prospects, their companies, the industries they were in, and any latest initiatives or newsworthy releases put out. All this pre-event intel was furnished to the team in advance of the event and utilized by our hosts to be more impactful at the point of attack.
On gameday, Best.Day.Ever.’s proprietary gamification software ran the prospects through a series of games and contests – including Super Bowl Squares and 21 Questions. Through this participation-based programming the event went from observatory to participatory, conversations took place throughout, and despite an uneven matchup on the field, all guests stayed past the final buzzer. With guests winning marquee prizes throughout the event such as a signed copy of the new NFL Madden game or a free use of the stadium’s club area on a non-gameday for a business meeting, Best.Day.Ever. aligned participants with items that delivered against their “wins”.
Additionally, by spending time with them in person, Best.Day.Ever.’s event hosts pulled valuable insights from the prospects and were able to load them into the team’s CRM using our technology’s two-way sync. The end result is our Who-Why-What report that combines our pregame intelligence with our in-event insights to detail Who was in attendance, Why they were there, and What action items should be taken to advance the relationship towards business dealings.
The Best.Day.Ever. Solution is gamification done differently for the premium space. It takes the concept of corporate hospitality and executes on it through pre-event preparation, in-event activation, and post-event reporting with sales follow-up. It is industry agnostic having been replicated with teams and corporate clients across various sectors and sports.
Gamification is at its core, fun. It has true potential in capturing attention and data on potential customers to drive their affinity and build a relationship for future product and service offerings. But when your product or service offering carries a big price tag and is purchased less frequently, the gamification needs to be altered and augmented with the right tools and human capital. That is why we created the Best.Day.Ever. Solution.