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Is Gaming in Your Future Marketing Plans?

How will you be reaching consumers 10 years from now? Before you mull over that question, think about how you might have answered that question 10 years ago. Would you have predicted that you’d be using Facebook, texting, or QR codes?
It’s not easy to forecast what we’ll be doing a decade, five years, or even just by the end of this year. But according to Alex Rosenblatt, regional promotions executive at SCVNGR, a Google-funded, location-based gaming company, there’s a good chance that you’ll be “leveling up” to the game layer sometime in the future.
According to Rosenblatt, who spoke Wednesday afternoon during the general session at Inman’s Real Estate Connect conference in New York, the game layer, which he defines as a virtual gaming overlay of the physical world, is “under construction” right now. Most of the game layer is presently cluttered up with overt, unsophisticated corporate retail marketing messages. “We can do better,” he said.
“Doing better,” Rosenblatt said, means really engaging consumers with location-based games instead of pushing promotions out to them. To make meaningful connections, you’ll need to be aware of the three dynamics of the game layer:
The appointment dynamic: Participants show up at at a particular time to play.
The influence-and-status dynamic: Players are motivated to go deeper into the game because of successive achievements.
The communal-discovery dynamic: A community works together to solve a challenge.
An example of this would be to have a virtual scavenger hunt, in which participants search a house, neighborhood, or community based on a set of clues, then check in with their smartphones each time they find one of the items in the game, winning prizes along the way. The benefit of this is that if the scavenger hunt is designed right, it can educate them about the features and amenities of a property and its surrounding area.
Now and for the foreseeable future, the game layer will be very fragmented. There probably won’t be a Facebook that comes along to dominate the space for a long time, if ever. While practitioners should explore and experiment with these tools, they shouldn’t try to use them them all. “Use what fits in with you and your customers,” he advised.
In addition to SCVNGR, Rosenblatt recommended looking at these tools to get a better sense of the possibilities of the game layer:
whrrl, a location-based game that participants can use to persuade their friends to try businesses they patronize
loopt, a geosocial application that shows your friends where you are and if there are business “rewards” nearby
Gowalla, a sort of virtual “passport stamping” service that provides occasional prizes for checking in

By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

How will you be reaching consumers 10 years from now? Before you mull over that question, think about how you might have answered 10 years ago. Would you have predicted Facebook, texting, or QR codes?

It’s not easy to forecast how you’ll be marketing your listings and business in a decade, five years, or even just by the end of this year. But according to Alex Rosenblatt, regional promotions executive at SCVNGR, a Google-funded, location-based gaming company, there’s a good chance that you’ll be “leveling up” to the game layer sometime in the future.

According to Rosenblatt, who spoke Wednesday afternoon during the general session at Inman’s Real Estate Connect conference in New York, the game layer, which he defines as a virtual gaming overlay of the physical world, is “under construction” right now. Additionally, most of the game layer that does exist is presently cluttered up with overt, unsophisticated corporate retail marketing messages. “We can do better,” he said.

“Doing better,” Rosenblatt said, means really engaging consumers with location-based games instead of pushing promotions out to them. To make meaningful connections, you’ll need to be aware of the three dynamics of the game layer:

  • The appointment dynamic: Participants show up at at a particular time to play.
  • The influence-and-status dynamic: Players are motivated to go deeper into the game because of successive achievements.
  • The communal-discovery dynamic: A community works together to solve a challenge.

An example of this would be to have a virtual scavenger hunt, in which participants search a house, neighborhood, or community based on a set of clues, then check in with their smartphones each time they find one of the items in the game, winning prizes along the way. The benefit of this is that if the scavenger hunt is designed right, it can educate the players about the features and amenities of a property and its surrounding area.

Now and for the foreseeable future, the game layer will be very fragmented. There probably won’t be a Facebook that comes along to dominate the space for a long time, if ever. While practitioners should explore and experiment with these tools, they shouldn’t try to implement them them all. Instead, use what fits in with you and your customers’ preferences, he advised.

In addition to SCVNGR, Rosenblatt recommended looking into these tools to get a better sense of the game layer:

  • whrrl, a location-based game that participants can use to persuade their friends to try businesses they patronize
  • loopt, a geosocial application that shows your friends where you are and if there are business “rewards” nearby
  • Gowalla, a sort of virtual “passport stamping” service that provides occasional prizes for checking in

Brian Summerfield

Brian Summerfield is Manager of Business Development and Outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services. He can be reached at bsummerfield@realtors.org.

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Comments
  1. Imagine if an entire firm got together and set up a SCVNGR hunt with all of their open houses on a particular weekend. Check in to all ten open houses and be entered to win a prize. Talk about getting people into your open houses. Get a flurry of activity and a wide range of eyes on your properties.

    I also love the idea of doing a neighborhood SCVNGR hunt. This is one way to easily help people coming to your open house discover the amenities that that community has to offer.

    Adam De Young
    Director of Marketing
    CT Statewide MLS

  2. Adam – check out this video of an event we did with Prudential Georgia, down in Atlanta: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP4Aegts0GE

    Shoot me an email if you’re interested: alex@scvngr.com

  3. Alex, I heard about this project, great idea! Would you be willing to share the logistic details of how it was put together?

  4. I heard a talk on TED about the game layer. I think this kind of thing is a natural fit for Real Estate. People are already drawn to games where they get to build or be part of a community, and I really like the idea for location based games too. @Adam De Young your idea for an Open House Scavenger Hunt is brilliant.

  5. I am working with my son who is a gamer and he recently asked me the same question. We are certainly seeing a trend toward gaming that is larger than I ever imagined. When I first started working with computers and we were able to do simple design we were amazed at the results of hours/days of work. We now do the same amount of work in minutes.

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