So as you may know Create Better Impact Games is my company. I design games around making the world a better place which I know will one day be worthy of winning awards from Games for Change. Right now, this is a little tiny company with a little tiny budget. Not that one day it won’t be able to hold its own with the big boys, but for now marketing is not the top priority.
As I got ready to bring Waste Not to market using an Indiegogo Campaign I had to think seriously about how to approach marketing. While I have a lot of people in my contacts I couldn’t be sure who would actually have natural interest and who might need some convincing.
Being a game designer I tried to think of ways to make liking or signing up on social media fun and engaging to the community. This process is called gamification and everyone and their mother is currently trying to apply it to their web presence. I am lucky that it is part of my natural reaction to communications.
Back to the point. There I was at the start of a campaign trying to raise money to print Waste Not. My Facebook page for both CBI Games and Waste Not were relatively new with little to now following, I had just begun a Twitter presence for Waste Not, and I had nothing on Google+. So in response I decided to give away a version of my game for free via social media. You heard me, for free.
I figured that if people got a chance to play the game, even if slightly different interactions than with having a deck of cards, that they’d be more likely to ‘like’ and engage with the marketing of the brand. In this case, I was seeking to let the game speak for itself.
Now I’ve been going forward with the understanding that this deck of cards will be able to be used in many ways. That will always happen when you give someone a flexible tool, is that they will begin to bend it and play with it. In fact many of the stories that we know from childhood have changed over the centuries. The basic story is still there to communicate the archetypal hero/ine’s journey but the details change.
Well that’s exactly what I’m seeing happening with Waste Not on Social Media. While the instructions were to share the status so that others could see what you were liking and playing people tended to comment on the Waste Not status. While this did not garner the amazing viral experience I was hoping for, I did get the benefit of seeing how people began to play the game. And let me tell you it was fun! Yes, my games are fun for me too. Especially when I get to watch others play.
While I’ve let go of the control over the rules and will continue to allow for this project to flow and grow, I’m glad that I undertook this experiment in the gamification of my own marketing. I think overall those that played did have fun and many of them played several times. What I’m seeing now is a small but committed group of people who are totally engaged. I’d prefer this any day to a large, unengaged group. My hypothesis is that as long as I follow the same theory of engagement that as the following grows it may be smaller initially but they will be more valuable relationships.