Gamify! 4 reasons why, from my Gamification “class” homework

Professor Kevin Werbach @ The University of Pennsylvania is one of the best distance learning teachers I’ve ever had the privilege to learn from. Our Gamification class is so good that this is the 2nd time I’ve taken it. I feel pretty solid understanding the ideas behind gamification, but it’s awesome to reiterate solid principles and Werbach’s model.

Here’s the small homework assignment due today (italics), followed by my response:

You are an employee of Cereals Incorporated, a large manufacturer of breakfast food products.  Your supervisor, Madison County, approaches you because she knows you recently took a course on gamification, which she has heard will revolutionize marketing.

She tells you that Cereals Inc. is about to release a new line of ready-to-eat breakfast pastries, and she wants to know whether to use gamification as part of the marketing strategy.  The breakfast pastries will be aimed at the 18-35 age bracket. Surveys show members of this demographic often skip breakfast because they don’t want to eat the typical cereals of their youth, and they are too active to cook their own breakfasts.  Market research indicates that the pastries are likely to appeal more to women than men by a 65%-35% ratio. Cereals Inc. has a 35% share of the overall breakfast food market, but only a 10% share of the fragmented ready-to-eat segment. 

Provide as many reasons as you can why gamification could be a useful technique to apply to the situation your manager has presented to you.  Explain why these reasons address the specific scenario provided.
  At this stage, focus on the problem rather than the solution.  In other words, describe the goals of the project, not the particular game elements or other techniques you plan to use.  We strongly encourage you to watch this week’s lecture segments before attempting this assignment.

Format: Maximum of 300 words.  A normal answer will be 1-2 paragraphs of text, and/or a set of bullet points.

My response:

Gamification could be incredibly useful to compliment marketing for the new line of ready-to-eat breakfast pastries. Here are four reasons why:

1. Our message could resonate with our demo’s lifestyle better than other choices. Because the 18-35 age bracket tends to be highly tech-oriented, gamification will resonate more than “traditional” media. Because they are active they’ll prefer to “do” gamification rather than passively consume traditional media.  This will also help demonstrate that Cereals Inc. and our new product line “gets them” and is a match for who they are.

2. We can truly engage our target demographic (demo) with our brand, and unobtrusively. By making breakfast food “fun”, we capture their attention and affiliation in a novel way that’s cool and unaligned with been-there-done-that cereals of their youth. Additionally we demonstrate respect for their busy lifestyle and facilitate their engagement in a way that meets their needs by leveraging technology that already accommodates their lifestyle vis-à-vis mobile, social networking or other similar.

3. We can tailor our message to what matters most to our female-dominant demo in a way that is superior to other methods. Women tend to be highly sociable. By gamifying we can meet their needs by connecting them with others, mostly women. They’ll share a common ground of enjoyable, interesting activities centered on their mutual interest of yummy foods for people on the go.

4. Gamifying marketing of the ready-to-eat breakfast pastries can grow more of our share of the ready-to-eat segment. Gamification typically has a beginning, middle and end, where participants often progress in an experience. This easily leads to other tie-ins and offshoots, like other ready-to-eat lines and even more of the breakfast food market as a whole.

Ready-to-eat breakfast pastries are the perfect line for gamification; let’s meet soon so I can provide details.


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