#Consumer4Sight No. 9: Wants to play

by John Mahaffie on January 12, 2012

For more in this series, see #Consumer4sight

Domino's makes pizza buying fun with an iPad game, Pizza Hero

The future consumer wants to play: with you and with her friends. That means having more options, choices, new experiences, and interaction with you, your products, systems, and services. It means variety and fun in the course of using a product or service and engaging with a company. We have come to talk about “gamification” in this context. That means that a system or user experience is made more like a game, with interaction, puzzles to solve, players to compete with, rewards and “levels” along the way.

A key driver of this new consumer expectation is digitally-enabled interactivity. We’ve already set new standards for engagement with technology, e.g. with i-devices and even with Siri, the voice recognizing iPhone agent. Technology is also making this possible with non-electronic products, since any product or brand can have associated apps. More consumers will look for the chance to interact and play.

The bottom line for business  – Interactivity and engagement are essential for consumers. There will always be products that are used without much thought, e.g. trash bags, but the sense of fun and the positive possibilities for it for business can come just about anywhere. If a product cannot be interactive and fun, maybe the buying experience, or the ads for it can be. Consumers increasingly crave variety and interest, and reward the companies that offer it.

Here’s a nice example: Dodge, to promote its Journey model, hid cars around the world, offering clues for people to find them. The first to find one of the cars got to keep it.

i-device enabled consumer life is more and more app-driven. That means with a service or access to a product, such as through a store’s app, there are ways to build in fun. The goal is to enchant the consumer and build interest and loyalty. And there’s plenty of room for more fun in the consumer marketplace.

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