Sunday, July 15, 2012

“Playing Games with Customers”

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“Playing Games with Customers”

Ferrazzi, Keith

livepaperhelp.com



Chen, Jane

Li, Zhan

Harvard Business Review

Apr00, Vol. 81 Issue 4, p1



SUMMARY

Public loves computer gaming. Some big companies started to use games in their marketing, training, and recruiting tool kits. Car companies, for example, found that on-line games were a good tool to advertise vehicles. Fourteen percent of all orders for new Jeep were from people who played “Wrangler Rubicon” game that promoted this new model. Chrysler studied buyer’s sector of women ages 4 to 4 by “Get Up and Go”, “Cosmo Quiz” format game-test. The company also collected data, such as e-mail addresses and some demographic information, while intermittently displaying information about the company’s cars when women played. Games can help build a dialog with consumers and collect all kinds of useful information. Nike, for example, stored information about colors that children liked to wear.

The interactive games also show that employees learn more from them than from the one-way didactic delivery of information. Nowadays Jeep and Dodge dealers study nuances of different four-wheel-drive systems by using Chrysler on-line game. As a result, they show a ten-time better retention rate than from reading a manual.

The U.S. Army is a good example for using games for recruiting. The first game “America’s Army Operations” helped increase the response rate per day on their recruiting Web site to half a million. Commercial organizations such as Siemens started implementing incorporating games in recruiting tool kits.

COMMENTS

As the experience of several large companies indicates, on-line gaming can be successfully used in marketing, identifying consumer groups, and even in modernization of training possibilities. There are a number of advantages to on-line games over traditional marketing. First, on-line gaming can educate a consumer about a specific product without being too annoying or aggressive. Second, through on-line gaming managers can track consumer preferences. Third, consumers can hold their attention for new product for longer periods of time, than what they spend on watching a usual ad. In addition, game execution is relatively inexpensive.

How are all those effects achieved? A well known fact that a feeling of satisfaction a customer experiences while playing a game gets related to the company and its products. Managers should know about this effect and use it in product advertising and employee training.

In reality, there are almost no disadvantages of using on-line gaming. Managers, however, should take into consideration that due to competition the content of the games should be unique. I would suggest to combine on-line experience with real prizes or discounts. For example, if Nike promotes a new shoe design, using samples as real prizes for most successful players would solve a number of problems advertising of the actual product, tracking consumer satisfaction with the product, and advertising of the game itself. To summarize, there is a two-way process from the game to the product and from the product to the game. Unfortunately, this reciprocal relationship was not discussed in the article.



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