IS Google to Blame for the Decline of Small Business in America?

Starting and running a small business has always been a risky value proposition. The Small Business Administration tells us that 60 percent of them won’t make it past their first birthday.

Historically, that failure rate was eclipsed by the sheer number of new business starts each year. More businesses opened than closed — until 2008. That year, for the first time in more than 30 years, small-to-medium size business (SMB) closings outnumbered openings — and by a big margin. That year, the country was left with a deficit of roughly 100,000 small businesses. And that trend line really hasn’t reversed course all that much since then.¹

Continue reading IS Google to Blame for the Decline of Small Business in America?

Local Search Reinvented: LuckyDiem Gamifies the Restaurant Business

Local Search Table

This article first appeared on LuckyDiem’s blog.

Supporting Local Businesses and Fighting Cancer

Imagine if Google or Yelp added unique discounts and prizes to every one of its business listings? Imagine a simple way to not only support local businesses, but help support the fight against childhood cancer as well? You might wonder how it’s possible to offer a service that helps save you money while helping so many others…that is absolutely free and fun to use.  Welcome to LuckyDiem.

 

Just go to LuckyDiem.com

There’s no need to download an app, simply go to LuckyDiem.com and search for what you’re looking for by either category or by “What’s Nearby.” Every business on LuckyDiem offers you a chance to win discounts and/or prizes.  Simply take a spin on the business’s virtual slot machine to see if it’s your lucky day.

Win discounts

Most businesses on LuckyDiem offer three levels of discounts–each one somewhat dependent upon your level of engagement. For example, the lowest level discount can be won simply off a spin of the slot machine. This discount can then be increased by answering a trivia question about the business. The third and highest level of discount is awarded to users who share their good fortune with their friends on social media. Sharing your reward is actually a three-way win on LuckyDiem because it 1) enables you to earn the highest level of discount, 2) helps get the word out about the local business you like, and 3) supports the fight against childhood cancer (more about this later).

Win prizes from every business

With LuckyDiem, you have the chance to instantly win small prizes from all of our businesses such as free drinks and gift cards, as well as entries into a business’s jackpot prize that is won by a user every three months. In fact, some of our current businesses in our Manhattan launch market have some pretty amazing prizes such as a free CoolSculpting session at SkinTheraP Medical Spa (valued at $750) or a $500 Gift Card for Invisalign services through Dr. Michelle Katz.

Win Mega Jackpots

LuckyDiem is leveling the playing field for local businesses to compete with national brands that can afford promotions with expensive prizes. Now even the smallest business on LuckyDiem can offer its customers chances to win awesome prizes such as VIP tickets to sporting events and concerts. There’s no purchase necessary, but being a good customer that makes purchases and shares with their friends, will undoubtedly increase your chances of winning. Like our businesses’ jackpots, our Mega Jackpots have winners every three months. Moreover, if you win tickets to an event that you’re not absolutely thrilled with, we will make every effort to get you to an event that you’ll love. Through our relationship with 8760, we have access to hundreds of major events throughout the year.

Leave your wallet at home

Wallet

Mobile payments are no doubt the wave of the future–super convenient for consumers, but unfortunately, expensive for small business owners to implement. LuckyDiem is introducing a revolutionary new mobile payment solution that allows users to pay with their phones at any of our businesses and immediately receive the discount they’ve earned from playing LuckyDiem. Our technology works without any new hardware or software, so businesses owners don’t have to change a thing.

Not all leaderboards are created equal

Like many of you, we used to love Foursquare (come Swarm) for its leaderboards. We liked competing with our friends to become the mayor of our favorite spots, as well as feeling the love  from being their “best customer.” But then something strange started happening; rather than being welcomed by management, Mayors were given the cold shoulder, some were in fact plainly asked to leave. It turns out, not all Mayors are created equal. Many Mayors had acquired their badge simply by checking into a business without ever spending a dime–they had gamed the system.

Enter LuckyDiem which rewards users based on their true value to a business–the purchases that not only you make, but your friends’ as well. Now a business can quickly view its leaderboard and have no doubt as to who their best customers are (Sharks and Whales in our world), and not worry about the all lame ducks mayors from the old days. And of course, the higher you are on a leaderboard, the more perks you receive such as more spins to win prizes from businesses and from us.

Sharing really is caring

logo.png

Finally, as mentioned earlier, LuckyDiem makes it easy for you to not only save money, but save lives. With every reward that is shared,, LuckyDiem makes a contribution to Hope & Heroes, a nonprofit that funds the life-saving work on childhood cancer and blood disorders at Columbia University Medical Center.

We hope you will try LuckyDiem. Save money, save lives and seize the play!

Continue reading Local Search Reinvented: LuckyDiem Gamifies the Restaurant Business

The Six Contextual Types of Rewards in Gamification

Gamification Rewards

Make your Gamified Experience Rewarding

Everyone wants rewards, right? But so often, companies failed to use rewards to incentivize their users or customers to take a specific action. Here I’ll cover six different types of rewards that companies are using to build their customer base and develop engaged users and customers, and we’ll look at how you can implement the same rewards in your own business.

The goal of this post is to make applying gamification and Octalysis easier. Perhaps some of you might still feel the 8 Core Drives are still too abstract, and want to jump straight into “how do I reward my users” (which is not great thinking as you would know from my work).

Keep in mind, the reward context types below are not mutually exclusive, as you can have one reward include multiple contextual types, but they are useful in being archetypes when you think about reward structures.

Gamification Reward #1: Fixed Action Rewards (Earned Lunch)

The first type of reward within gamification is the Fixed Action Reward, or Earned Lunch (Game Technique #7). This is pretty straight forward – the user knows exactly what she must do to get the reward.

Examples include anything that involves collecting points, frequent flyer miles, or punches on your card — in other words, loyalty programs of all flavors. With these rewards, the company lays out exactly what the customer has to do to earn something, and then gives the customer a way to track how far they’ve come along in their goal.

Fixed Action Rewards engage customers by building their loyalty and rewarding frequent action. For example, if a customer works near a deli shop, and that deli shop offers a free sandwich when he gets 12 punches on his loyalty card, that customer will be more motivated to grab lunch at the deli shop every day. In fact, as the customer gets closer to completing his 12 punches, he become even more frequent at the deli because he wants to finish up his card and collect his reward.

This utilizes the three Left Brain Core Drives – Development & Accomplishment (Core Drive #2), Ownership & Possession (Core Drive #4), and Scarcity & Impatience (Core Drive #6).

Gamification Reward #2: Random Rewards (Mystery Box)

The second type of reward in gamification is the Random Reward (Game Technique #72).

While fixed action rewards are great for helping companies build loyalty, they are heavily implemented and lacks some right brain core drives that gets customers really engaged. There are a few ways to spice things up, and Random Rewards is one of them.

In games, there is the concept of “loot” or “drops” which are random rewards that appear once the player achieves a win-state or defeats an enemy. Often times, this unpredictable process is what drives players in the Endgame (Experience Phase #4).

With random rewards, the participant gets a reward based on completing a required action, but they don’t necessarily know what the reward is. This actually doesn’t matter and can even enhance their engagement; the process of getting the reward is exciting because the participant knows that they will be surprised at the end by whatever they end up with.

Using random rewards makes participants feel like they did on Christmas morning as a kid. They saw the rewards under the tree, and they knew they would find out what they were getting eventually. But the anticipation of getting the reward, even though they have no idea what’s in the boxes, is part of what makes things so exciting.

Quarterly is a subscription company that offers mystery boxes to its customers every three months. They source their themes from influencers like Timothy Ferriss, bestselling author of The 4-Hour Chef/Body/Work Week.

These influencers hand select items to go in their mystery box and participants are allowed to subscribe to the box without knowing what there can end up getting.

Why would anyone spend $100 or more on objects that they don’t even know about beforehand? Because the element of surprise is a reward within itself.

Lots of companies offer random rewards in the form of mystery boxes. Woot.com’s most coveted item is something titled “Bag of Crap” which is literally just whatever they want to send you in a bag. There are actually blogposts talking about best strategies to obtain the Bag of Crap, as it is really really hard to obtain.

On top of the core drives mentioned in Fixed Action Rewards, Random Rewards add the core drive Unpredictability & Curiosity (Core Drive #7), which is an excellent way to surprise and delight your customers and engage them to become deeper fans of your offering.

Gamification Reward #3: Sudden Rewards (Easter Eggs)

Continue reading The Six Contextual Types of Rewards in Gamification

Marketing Gamification: Old Spice launches the Game DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD

New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis

Old Spice Does it Again

(Note: to play the actual game, scroll down until you find the source of the thrillingly annoying music, and then fullscreen it.)

In 2010, Old Spice swept across all media channels with their “Hello Ladies…” campaign. That was shared and spread on every platform possible, and was one of the most common conversation starters during the time (Of course, those conversation starters later moved on into Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and the wonderful Korean dance Gangnam Style).

Old Spice got men here and there to smell good for some time, but men being men, got back to their good old habits of NOT smelling like an adventure, baking gourmet cakes with the kitchens they made with their own hands,  and definitely NOT swan diving.

Old Spice needed to come up with something more epic for the manly men, not just for the women’s men, and so they again put together the smart minds of Wieden+Kennedy Portland to figure out something that would spread like wildfire again.

The WK folks thought….so what do men like? They like basketball, they like to be the hero and save the world, they like random humor….and, they like video games.

Mix Basketball, a World-saving Hero, Random Humor, and Video Games together, and what comes out of the blender is their newest masterpiece: DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD (yes, it has to be all caps).

Marketing Gamification through a game to save the world

DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD is a 8-Bit styled game where users control the Basketball Legend Dikimbe Mutombo to prevent the 2012 end of the world (according to the Mayan’s calendar) from happening by accomplishing small quests that eventually leads to carving up more dates on the Mayan calendar so we can delay humanity’s extinction. At least until the day we invent self-combing hair.

Actually, I’m not sure how the small quests have anything to do with carving the Mayan calendar, but those quests are always relevant to the times: from getting people to stop dancing Gangnam Style so they can vote (with the boss fight being the State of Ohio), to getting rid of a fluffy toy called Blurgies while playing It’s Thanksgiving by Nicole Westbrook, a successor of Rebecca Black).

Of course, we don’t know what will happen next because each stage only unlocks one week at a time (explained later).

Running Octalysis on DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD

Below is the analysis of the campaign through my Complete Gamification Framework called Octalysis:

Dikimbe Mutombo Gamification from Old Spice

 

As you can see, DM4.5WTSTW (this is my new abbreviation) has a strange rocket shape, as it scores incredibly high in Epic Meaning & Calling, Unpredictability & Curiosity, and Scarcity & Impatience, but very low on most others. Because of that, it earns itself an Octalysis score of 260 (which is almost as high as Twitter!) Continue reading Marketing Gamification: Old Spice launches the Game DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD

Marketing Gamification: Toyota turns Charging your iPhone into an Epic Game

*New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis*

Toyota and Marketing Gamification

I’ve talked a lot about Product Gamification – how to make your product winning & addicting – as well as some Workplace Gamification. Many of you asked, “But how do we do Marketing Gamification? What does that even mean?”

Well, Toyota is here to show you with its all new Plug-In Champion App!

Toyota Plug-in Championship shows you who’s the best at charging your phones

The Toyota Plug-in is a new hybrid car they are pushing out, and they’re looking for ways to make their car stand out.

What they’ve come up with is sad and brilliant at the same time – they made an iPhone app that turns charging your phone into a game.

Introducing the Plug-In Championship, where people compete in charging their phones at just the right second!

This is how it works:

You open the app, and it shows some slick Tron-like designs with a meter bar that goes up and down. You need to plug the charger into your phone at just the right moment where the meter bar is full (or as full as you can accurately do).

Once you plug in the charger into your phone (lol, I feel so pathetic writing about this), an epic graphic will load, such as a lightning bolt striking, a rocket taking off, or a corkscrew gets popped. Woohoo!! I just charged my phone with electric power!!

It then shows you a leaderboard of all the people charging their phones at the “right time”….as well as “medals” that I have not earned yet.

To make things even more strangely epic, if you go to their Plug-In Championship website and click on “Ranking” it will show you a global view of all the people who are charging their phones with the app on, with very fancy lightning bolt animations, as if we are fulfilling a calling like Captain Planet and the Planeteers to save the earth. This is also similar to what Smule did with their Ocarina App, except they actually did have something exciting to tout to the world (a new song you are playing).

So was this Marketing Gamification Technique Effective?

Lets just say this: not only did this silly app get viewed on Youtube over 15,000 times in 2 weeks, it led to people like me mentioning about the Toyota brand and telling you about their new Toyota Plug-in (I’ve never talked about a car brand before on my blog!). If this campaign caused at least ONE extra person to buy the car now or later, I would say its pretty effective.