Gamified Groupies: Driving Audience Attendance in New Ways

Posted by Taylor Haney on Wed, Dec 18, 2013

Another great read for everyone this week by Nancy Liberman, Chief Marketing Officer at Dailybreak Media looks into gamification and how it can be used to boost attendance and some ways it was used at FutureM. MITX members, if you are interested in guest blogging e-mail taylor [at] mitx [dot] org to get involved!

Nancy LibermanNancy Liberman is Chief Marketing Officer for Dailybreak Media. She has extensive experience in branding, corporate identity and awareness initiatives, marketing communications, demand generation and sales support efforts, and budget management. Follow Dailybreak Media on Twitter @DailybreakMedia, or follow Nancy @nancy02129.

A local organization, MITX, recently held its annual (and spectacular) event showcasing innovation, emerging technology and the brightest minds in New England. Its goal for the 2013 conference was to attract the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, those filling the top notch bastions of New England higher education. This challenge resulted in an interesting quandary: innovation begets innovators, so how can you attract the fickle Millennial to a technology event focused on innovation?

We’ve moved beyond the transactional heyday of Evite and Eventbrite and need something new. With goals of educating students about the event and building excitement for attending, the organizers of FutureM were tasked with driving registrations from a narrow target through an innovative approach that would not only heighten awareness, but maintain their attention through event commencement. In a world were attention spans grow shorter by the tweet, a mere Facebook fan page was not the solution.

Millennials have grown up in an era of game play, so why not leverage a gamified experience to attract and entice participants? In collaboration with Boston-based Dailybreak Media, MITX created an immersive experience designed to increase awareness among college students. The team behind the campaign realized this would require more than a sign-up page – it needed to draw the target audience in, create an experience, capitalize on relevant trends, and simultaneously educate them about the companies and individuals making the FutureM Challenge a must-attend event.

As a speaker at this year’s conference, Dailybreak Media understood intimately how important it was to engage MITX’s target market of attendees. The “Leveraging Games as a Powerful Marketing Medium” panel was chock-full of solutions and strategy for deploying web game platforms effectively. By partnering with MITX to create the necessary buzz, Dailybreak Media brought its speaking experience to life, enhancing a memorable and valuable presentation by driving overall awareness of the entire confernece.

To do so, Dailybreak Media distributed the campaign across platforms and networks to reach the identified segment in addition to an aggressive email marketing strategy to promote the unique FutureM Challenge. Students were alerted to the prospect of winning an all-access pass to the conference by participating in a challenge that tested their brand awareness and social media knowledge of the big-name brands involved in the conference, including Hasbro, GE, and Scholastic. At the heart of this strategy was the Dailybreak Media special sauce: make it fun. By doing so, students shared their experience in the contest, thus encouraging their cohorts to join in.

The results? Over 15,000 students reached, and a hugely successful FutureM conference convened.

But there is more to the story than the numbers. MITX partnered with Dailybreak Media to create a campaign that “gamified” the interaction experience – in other words, students were challenged to do more than just fill out an admission form. In addition, the content within the contest was topical, ensuring that students learned why MITX’s FutureM conference was best of breed, both in content and the high-grade speakers who would deliver that information. Last, it was viral: Dailybreak Media’s viral strategy created substantial growth in FutureM’s audience by motivating participants to take one action (playing the game) that led to another action (encouraging their friends to play) -- and extended the campaign’s reach sequentially.

“Innovation is the lifeblood of the MITX FutureM event, and it underpins the goals our speakers have when they step on that stage: engage, excite and inspire,” said Debi Kleiman, president of MITX. “Likewise, our campaign with Dailybreak Media excited our targeted audiences and drove them to not only attend the FutureM conference, but to become involved in inventive ways that increased awareness of our impressive panelist lineup and challenged attendees to learn more.”

If you’re planning an event, think about new strategies for attracting your key audience:
• Create a unique experience
• Make the experience viral
• Integrate fun into the process