Why add a competitive aspect to your marketing campaign?

Jonathan Bailey

Written by Jonathan Bailey

 On 4/1/19 5:06 PM


Why is it that 59.3 million people in North America play fantasy sports? Why is a ‘game night’ one of the most cherished activities between friends and family?

Because people love to compete. Especially against others that are close to them. And in the demanding business of marketing, you can leverage people's love for competition to propel your brand above your competition.


Why people love to compete

If you grew up with a sibling, close to your age, you know the use of competition all too well. In all likelihood, your parents converted chores and tasks into contests between the two of you. They knew if they added that competitive aspect, you would, all of a sudden, go from dragging along to instantly doing your best work possible.

And guess what? Nothing's changed.

At work, you’ve been part of a monthly/yearly competition, for your employers to bring out the best in you and your coworkers. During those competitions, you wake up earlier than usual, occasionally skip lunch, and don’t take a sick day. Of course, you want the prize. Who doesn't love prizes? But you also know, deep down, that’s not the only motivation.

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Getting bragging rights is the cherry on top of the prize. Being able to say “I won” or “I’m the best” is something you, and everyone else, can’t help but desire. You desire it because one of the 6 basic human needs, significance, programs us to want to feel special and important. When you win, dopamine and testosterone are released in the brain, giving you that sweet feeling of significance.

How does competition connect to marketing?

Now on to the important part: how you can leverage competition in your marketing strategy to attract more customers, and make them happier and more loyal.

With recent developments in marketing, we've seen the growing focus on emotional appeal, and genuinely connecting with customers. Using games for marketing can provide customers with many of those 6 basic human needs, but for now, we’ll talk about how implementing competition in your marketing strategy can give your customer significance.

As we talked about, when people win games, they feel significant. And there are 2 unique elements that you get from games that you don't get from other marketing strategies: prize delivery and bragging rights.

How to effectively deliver prizes in your marketing campaign


Typical promotional campaigns do it wrong

In all of your promotional campaigns, you've given out a deal/prize, to attract customers to your store. People would receive your email or see your post on social media, informing them that they can receive a deal by just walking into your store and scanning a barcode. This strategy serves a useful purpose and often works well, but it can be optimized.

What if we told you it would be more useful to make consumers earn the deal, instead of just receiving it?

Why should consumers earn promotional prizes

When consumers receive the same award as everyone else, without having to do anything, they don't feel special. When you make the consumer earn the prize/deal, they feel a stronger connection to it and a sense of achievement- In other words, they feel significant. They had to take action, use skill, be patient; they had to differentiate from the pack. After putting all that together, they successfully earned an award and got that rush of dopamine and testosterone.

By marketing your brand through a game, you can efficiently distribute prizes/deals, while captivating the consumer's desire for competition. You’ll get a higher number and better quality of foot traffic to your store.

If you're having trouble visualizing what this would look like, we'll take you through a mobile game that does just that. This mobile game replicates a slot machine. In this type of game, you distribute prizes to players in the form of credits or free/discounted products, when they get three matching items in the row. Like Vegas slots, you don't award a prize every time. That would be too costly and take away the thrill of playing. 


When a player runs out of credits, they have to return to your store to obtain more. When a player does win a free/discounted product, they have to go into the store to claim it.

You’ll see that using a game for a promotional campaign not only gets customers but happy customers, into your store! You'll see the difference in attitudes when customers show their phones and say “I won a _____” vs. “I got this email for a free ____.”

What bragging rights do for your marketing campaign

Giving bragging rights is the most effective, under-utilized marketing technique. Why? Because people love bragging rights, and providing them that doesn’t require you to give them any discount, deal, or prize.

We talked about the importance of bragging rights in families and friend groups. There’s nothing better than when you get to message your friend and tell them you surpassed that level or high score they kept bragging about obtaining. Or when you get to post on your social media feed that you ranked the highest you ever have in one of the games you’ve been playing.

Give consumers the ability to share

Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook have all received a mass influx of this behavior because people want to share their scores and see others'. Ninja, a Fortnite gamer, has gotten 70% of his $10 million net worth from fellow players streaming his games on Twitch and Youtube. 

Adding a sharing feature into your game is very easy, and will reward you an unbelievable amount. A game that has an unlimited amount of levels or score is the best option because it encourages players to continuously get the furthest they can by using skill and persistence.

How can consumers share your content

Give them an opportunity to flaunt their skills! Once a player reaches a score they’re happy with, whether that be because it’s a personal best, beat a friend’s score, or got them on the leaderboard, give them the ability to post that score on their favorite social media site, directly from the app.


The power of sharing

The sharing aspect will increase your exposure to those in their network; and when Facebook has 1.52 billion daily users, that network can extend immensely. When the social media users consistently see your game on their screen, their competitive nature will entice them to go into your game and beat those scores!

And the best part about this whole process: the entire time players are in your game, working on getting a higher score, they’re engaging with your brand. They’ll see your logo, get to know your brand’s mission, values, etc. Using a game for your marketing isn't just an effective way of bringing people into your stores; it's also a powerful tool that delightfully educates consumers

Marketing keeps changing, and there’s an increasing importance of innovating to stick out favorably from competitors.  Give your customers the opportunity to compete with others while connecting with you and your brand. It’s an easy way to get that win-win situation.