GET PEOPLE TO PLAY THE GAME
Games can make any aspect of an event more engaging by appealing to the same things that make them so addictive: a series of challenges to rise to, a sense of accomplishment-based gratification, and a little healthy competition. To ensure that everyone plays and enjoys what they're playing, there are a few promotional tips to keep in mind.
Design the game to be an integral part of the event experience. People who interact with the game to achieve an event objective are more likely to pick it up of their own volition later.
Education is an important part of many events. Use challenge cues throughout your sessions to reinforce the content, rewarding attention and retention. Be sure to brief your speakers on the game’s mechanics and rules, so they know exactly how to prompt the audience and what instructions to deliver. An audience who knows that (literally) prized knowledge may come up at any moment is an alert audience on the edge of its seat.
Incorporate the Game into Social Events
Making connections at events can be daunting; turning it into a game is a great way to bring people out of their shells and reinvigorate them after a day of sessions. Typically, this works by giving everyone a passcode, which they reveal as an icebreaker when someone comes to talk to them. The winner could be the person who makes the most connections, or you can double down on the incentives by rewarding the fastest networker, the most diverse networker, and having prizes for collecting passwords from everyone in a particular team or group. One client even planted “mystery minglers” in the crowd, turning networking into a numbers game as each player spoke to anyone and everyone to locate the prized conversationalists. Assign varying point values for upper-tier staff to encourage staff to get to know the management.
PROMOTE TO PLAY
Promoting the game is essential to yielding high adoption and ensuring a good ROI. Marketing early is always a good idea, and setting the right tone should start in the earliest communications. Your messaging should communicate that the event technology is integral to the event, a part of the full experience.
Champion the Game
Get executives and C-level staff onboard first, and use their buy-in to set the right example and convey endorsement to encourage everyone else to use the app and play the game. Pre-loading all the executive team’s speaker photos on the event app will set a good precedent for everyone else to follow.
Gamify the Event Promotion
To incentivize early adoption and get everyone invested, create a pre-event challenge that rewards people for engaging with the event and the app. Reward them for registering early by including a passcode in the confirmation page. Hide a passcode on the app and have people go through the app to find it.
Don’t Leave Any Tools Out of the Toolbox
Instructions for accessing and completing the challenges should be iterated over and over in the promotional materials and onsite signage. We also have a number of services to help you with this, including a promotional video and onsite support that can be added to your package.
If you do opt for onsite support, don't just leave the Support Station at the registration desk. Move it around high-traffic areas and position your support in spots where people are actually actively engaging with the app and the game.
KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM
If you get everyone excited by their initial introduction to the app and the game, don't let that excitement fizzle out! Make sure you stagger challenges throughout the game and include a mix of productivity-oriented challenges and fun social engagement challenges. Pacing is important for any game, and giving people a variety of types and difficulty will keep them interested in the long-haul game with short-term intervals.
Use alerts in the app to remind people when it's time to complete another challenge and to prompt them to attend social events and play elective games, and include instructions for joining in the gameplay with every challenge.
Reward Loudly and Often
Players can get discouraged if they think the winning spot is too far out of reach, which can happen if there is only one winner and the top player is too many points ahead. They may also lose focus if the gameplay is really long and the winner is only announced at the end. This is because a major mechanism that drives gaming motivation is gratification, both immediate and long-term. Break up the prize system so that your short-term challenge intervals have their own reward, even if the reward just makes it easier to succeed in the long-haul game. Giving people lots of opportunities to win prizes and recognition will motivate them to complete every stage of the game by assigning value to every challenge.
Your prizes don't even have to be material. One of the things that makes games such an effective stimulator is that it gives players an opportunity to achieve status and distinction. Simply recognizing the winners and turning them into champions can be enough of a motivator, particularly in professional environments that are themselves essentially ranked and competitive. Just remember to keep the competition friendly.
For more on how to market your event and your app, check out our Ultimate Guide to Event App Marketing.