Gamification: Is it the new way to market?

Gamification may be a word that you have heard recently. Is it just the new trend on the block or will it prove to be an effective way to market a business?

The definition of gamification is up for debate, but one accepted definition is from (Marczewski, 2015). He defines gamification as the following: “The use of game design metaphors” “to create more game-like experiences”. (Burke, 2014) has stated in his book that gamification is “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals”.

Gamification is not something that has just been made up, it is backed up by extensive academic theory. (Bartle, 2003) and his player type model was the forerunner in game theory. His four player types are a basic model in understanding how people act or react in a game based situation. (Marczewski, 2015) expands and adapts on Bartle to include intrinsic and extrinsic player types, and shows how player types can be used in business contexts. Gamification also expands far further than just marketing and “player types”, and can be used in HR, economics etc.

Many serious, overly formal, or more strict business people may think that gamification is just games, and games are a waste of time in the workplace. However, it is taking the business world by storm; the global gamification market is estimated to be worth more than 11.1 billion USD by 2020 (PR Newswire, 2016).

There are many hundreds of successful examples of gamification. One of my favorite examples is that of the “Piano stairs” which has 22 million views:

Video Source:

The piano stairs is one fun example of getting people to do things that they would not normally do, if it is challenging, different or fun. This simply was not pointless either, 66% more than normal chose the stairs compared to the escalator. That is HUGE! Imagine a 66% increase in web traffic, page views, likes or some other metric that you would like for your business. Turns out a 66% increase is pretty reasonable, looking at case studies like SAP (Enterprise, 2013), who’s community network regamified its already mature reputation system, leading to an increase in usage by 400% and community feedback by 96%. Not convinced? Okay, here’s more:

Gamification can be a double edged sword, however. If done incorrectly, it can end really badly. Take note:

“A third-grade teacher at Mill Plain Elementary school in Vancouver, WA, required students to earn $50 of Monopoly money to buy toys, popcorn or pizza or use it to go to the bathroom. Students in the class earn money by doing things, such as good deeds, being nice, and finishing school work.

Because students who had not enough money left and had to choose between a tangible reward and a bathroom break chose the reward, at least two students peed themselves. This was considered a health issue.” – Enterprise Gamification (2014).

To conclude, gamification can be very effective for any business. But gamification isn’t just adding a game or making something fun. For gamification to truly work, it needs to utilize the strong academic theory that backs it, weather than be from (Raftopoulos, 2015) Chou (Economou et al 2015), or any other of the academic names in the industry. Any business can afford to implement gamification, but not many businesses can afford to implement it incorrectly, as the incorrect example shows.




Bartle, R (2003) “Designing Virtual Worlds” New Riders; 01 edition.

Burke, B (2014) “Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things” Bibliomotion Inc

Economou; Doumanis;  Pedersen;Kathrani;  Mentzelopoulos; Bouki (2015). “Evaluation of a dynamic role-playing platform for simulations based on Octalysis gamification framework”. Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments. IOS Press. 19 (Workshop Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Intelligent Environments): 388–395

Enterprise (2013).

Enterprise Gamification (2014).

Marczewski, A. (2015) ‘Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Gamification, Game Thinking & Motivational Design.’ Lightning Source UK Ltd. Milton Keynes UK.


MarigoRaftopoulos (2015)

PR Newswire (2016).—analysis-trends–opportunities-report-2016-2020—key-vendors-leveleleven-arcaris-inc–badgeville-inc-300222904.html

What are the emerging technological trends in the restaurant market?

Technology has been at the forefront of change in business, and in life, for hundreds of years. From the creation of the combine harvester to help with farming, to the internet making everyone virtual, technology is usually the force for change. When considering how PESTLE, or any external business environmental analysis, effects businesses, technological and social change are the true drivers when it comes to change in business. Certainly some changes have more impact than others. It is unlikely that any of the changes in the next few years will be have as much of an impact as the washing machine or the internet did. However, change is important, and one universal truth is that technology will keep advancing in the years to come. The restaurant sector is no different.

So what are the emerging technologies in the restaurant sector?

Mobile phone app usage is proving to be the biggest development for food businesses.

Convenience is key

Technology has played a key role in the UK restaurants market in recent years, with significant advancements in mobile technology and the rise of social media have seen the dining out experience become increasingly virtual, convenient and accessible. Many leading brands, especially those in the quick service sector, have adopted the use of apps as a key means of widening their target audiences and opening up new avenues of growth. Companies such as Burger King, McDonald’s and Nando’s have introduced their own apps, thus enabling consumers to have an account, accumulate points, get access to deals and view detailed nutritional matters and advice.

– KeyNote (2016)

KeyNote suggests that advancements in apps and social media are the big current technological changes. This is evident to see, with rewards systems such as Nando’s Chilli Collection (Nandos, 2017) taking full advantage of the advancing gamification trend, i.e. using apps and games as a platform to reward repeat purchase and customer loyalty. Quick service sector brands are becoming increasingly tech savvy, with McDonald’s  as the clear example of “self-service” machines popping up around the globe (PCmag, 2016), although this is likely an attempt to reduce staff overheads, rather than embracing change. However, a lesser known feature of this self service is that Mcdonald’s have devised an app, essentially working as an online menu, similar to self service machines, except you don’t have to leave your seat. Convenience really is key!

However, self service and increased “technologicalization” of businesses will see less and less friendly staff, which is really a key USP of more “restaurant-like” restaurants. It is unlikely that many mid-to-high tier establishments will introduce self service any time soon.

What technological changes are effecting all restaurants?

The biggest change that technology has had on the market is that it allows untold convenience for consumers. But what is more convenient than not leaving your seat in a restaurant? Not leaving your bed, that’s what.

Apps have resulted in a rise in the number of consumers ordering food for delivery. This seems like a relatively old trend, but the truth is that it has started booming further than ever before. Apps such as Deliveroo and UberEATS have driven sales across the market by delivering hot restaurant meals to consumers doors with the click of a button. This is no over-exaggeration, with JustEat you can get food to your door in less than four clicks if you have used the app in the past.

Here is an example, Domino’s recently announced the launch of a gamer-oriented application, which is open to UK consumers and utilises Microsoft’s latest console: the Xbox One. Gamers can bring up the Dominos menu through the use of hand gestures or by saying ‘Domino’s, feed me’ to the console, thereby using its voice recognition capabilities; the application also features an on-screen order tracker, providing customers with a clearer indication of when their food will arrive. (Telegraph, 2014).

Make no mistake though, eat in restaurants are still the dominant sector by far, but the delivery market is taking out more of a chunk every year. (Keynote, 2015)


Technology can change the face of many businesses. Realistically though, the restaurant sector is currently coming off quite lightly. With things like automation in driving waiting in the wings – which is likely to put tens of thousands of drivers out of jobs – restaurants aren’t seeing too much of a change. But comparisons can often be misleading. The restaurant market is changing as much as most other sectors, and if companies do not begin to adapt, they will die with the generations. Large companies are always ahead of the curve when it comes to expensive technology, but how will smaller companies fare? Only time will tell.





Keynote (2016). Online at: Last accessed 17.09 06/04/17

Keynote (2015). Online at: Last accessed: 18.49 06/04/17

Nandos (2017). Online at: accessed 18.19 06/04/17

PCmag, (2016). Online at: Last accessed 17.43 06/04/17

Telegraph (2014). Online at: Last Accessed 18.41 06.04.17

Deliveroo (2017).

JustEat (2017).

McDonalds (2017).

UberEATS (2017).

Is Tripadvisor still useful for companies – Or is Facebook taking over?

TripAdvisor is the biggest travel reviews website in the world. It makes nearly $1 billion in revenue a year and boasts more than 60 million members (Tripadvisor, 2016).  According to Business Insider (2015), TripAdvisor is powerful enough to have a large effect on economies. They state that TripAdvisor was “directly related to £1.7 billion of tourism spending in the UK. In 2012, that figure made up around 2.2% of all tourist spending.

TripAdvisor also invests heavily in SEO & SEM. With a simple search: “Hotels in Venice”, TripAdvisor appear at the top of the first page. It appears once in GoogleAds SEM and once through good SEO implementation. This is true of virtually any search with similar characteristics.

TripAdvisor is so popular because it makes so much economic sense. Basic economics tells us that the more information a consumer has, the better decision they can make (OECD, 2010), and Tripadvisor is in the market of information. People trust Tripadvisor because it is from the point of view of the consumer; the consumer goes to a location and posts the best or worst review of that location. There is no imperative or conflicts of interest, a consumers review on Tripadvisor is inherently trustworthy because it comes from a similar point of view of the reader.

A negative review provides business owners with an imperative and an actionable way to improve. A positive review shows business owners what area of business they can focus on to create a USP. TripAdvisor is also a useful platform for business to build relationships, increase repeat customer visits by replying to comments and gain exposure. The gamified aspects of TripAdvisors website means it is easy to understand and navigate. In many ways, TripAdvisor does it best, and is certainly very useful for companies.

Needless to say, Tripadvisor has a pretty powerful effect on the hospitality industry, but is it beginning to be overshadowed by Social media?

Facebook Inc. (Facebook, Messenger, Watsapp, Instagram) dominates the social media landscape (Image, Statista (2016)). If TripAdvisor was on this list, it would be second-to-last. This shows the mammoth that Tripadvisor must face. Is it being pushed into obscurity?

TripAdvisor is a specialist website, i.e. social media such a Facebook is a generic social media platform, whilst TripAdvisor has a specific purpose. This means that making comparisons to companies such as Facebook is moot, as it has a different purpose. However, Facebook has a habit of expanding its platform as far as it can go. “The Marketplace”, which is Facebooks attempt to codify and profit off of the many “buy and sell” pages on Facebook, is an example of this. Facebook already offers page support for businesses, allowing them to easily view and increase their reach. On these pages, there is a rating system which could easily replace Tripadvisor’s system. Facebook has more than 3ox the membership, and if anything has been shown by technology in the last 20 years, its shown that convenience sells. Facebook already has the groundwork to replicate TripAdvisor, if they improved it and placed it in one easy package (the Facebook App), by making it easier for people to compare local businesses in a specific area, and add helpful features to make it more “Tripadvisor like”, it could end badly for Tripadvisor.

Still, for now, TripAdvisor is here to stay. Take it from Lyle (2015):

“Great hotel rankings on TripAdvisor is more than for show. In reality, hotels with good rankings enjoy higher booking, higher average daily rate, and revenue. Hotels ranked number one on TripAdvisor earn a staggering 56% more direct bookings each month compared to hotels ranked 40th in their respective city.”

TripAdvisor needs to diversify to survive. This is the story of every company. TripAdvisor is at risk from massive competitors. Again, this is the story of many companies. Yet, something feels like TripAdvisor is in danger. Going up against the largest tech firms in the world is no easy feat. Will Facebook simply compete TripAdvisor out of the market, or will it follow the story of Instagram (where Facebook purchased it for $1B)? Perhaps the story for TripAdvisor is one of massive success. Only time will tell.



Bighospitality (2012). Online: […/TripAdvisor-boosts-UK-tourism-and-raises-industry-standards-finds-study]. Accessed 18/02/2017

Business Insider (2015). Online: []. Accessed 18/02/2017/

Lyle, T (2015). Online: []. Accessed 18/02/2017

OECD (2010). Online: []. Accessed 18/02/2017

Statista (2017). Online: []. Accessed 18/02/2017

TripAdvisor (2016). Online: []. Accessed 17/02/2017

How Effective are Unidays Email Campaigns

  unidays1What is Unidays?

UniDays is an entirely free online system with no sign-up cost, no membership card and it’s entirely for students! All you have to do is enter your email and verify your student status. Registration is quick and easy so you will be saving within a matter of minutes.

UniDays provide an incredible variety of discounts for stores like Hobbycraft, New Look and Apple. Additionally, with the free mobile app (available to download from both Android and the Apple Store) you can redeem discount codes in store using photo identification on your phone – so there is no easily-misplaced card to carry around!

How effective are Unidays emails?

There is no doubt that large companies know how to capture its customer’s attention. From appealing imagery to good calls to action, or consistent personalisation, companies have funnelled huge amounts of time and money into email marketing campaigns, and for good reason. Unidays is no different. How does it stack up?


  1. Appealing/Bold Imagery with Calls to Action
    Unidays know their target audience. Because their target audience is very exclusive and specific, there is a general target market in which they can effectively pander to. One way in which they do this is their bold and appealing imagery. Whilst imagery is effective for most target groups, as imagery is by definition more appealing than text, it depends what imagery you use.
    Unidays very effectively use strong brand imagery combined with calls to action to appeal to the student target group. It actually GIVES their target audience something, whilst drawing their eyes to what they want to GIVE them. When this is combined with good colours relevant to their brand, and a strong brand logo, they create a coherent and strong image which is effective on an email.
  2. Social Media Tagsunidays3
    Social media tags of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are featured right at the top of the email in plain sight. This is effective as there is nothing more that students love to do than to post stuff on their social media. They also have a good social media selection, as shown above. They could perhaps include Youtube and consider working on short ‘vine’ videos, or slightly longer but more captivating 0.30-2.00 videos. Students love to be in the know, so by making their social media packed with trendy but relevant information, then it will inevitably correlate with a higher engagement in their email marketing. Marketing is holistic and is best done from numerous channels at once. For more information on this, social media company called Buffer does a great article on this:
  3. Free Stuff
    Unidays’ business model is based solely on providing big brand names at a discounted price for a certain target market. Therefore, providing free stuff to captivate students and put them in the right mind-set to continue buying is crucial. When you combine this with the beautiful aesthetics of the email itself, Unidays have made it a pleasurable process for the reader. Creating positivity for the reader decreases bounce rate, which is crucial for a House-List campaign.


This is a good example email, but Unidays are far from perfect. Although it has an aesthetically pleasing look with lots of imagery and minimal text, it has a vast number of big brand images and numerous calls to action. Whilst this is essentially the point on Unidays, there is only so much information that the reader can process at one time. By opening an email containing over 10 deals and offers, its likely something that the reader will not open or fully digest unless they have lots of time and are in the right mind-set.unidays2

Furthermore, there are a total of 12 offers on the email, but the reader can click on a button at the top of the page saying “plus 11 unmissable offers”. That is if the reader actually sees it. The text is so small and does not catch the eye in the slightest. It will most certainly be brushed over. These deals clearly are not “unmissable”. Besides, even the least-busy students will have a hard time looking through 23 different companies’ deals.

Unidays are an effective company who are based solely online and therefore have an advanced social media and email strategy. Their emails are a benchmark that other companies should look to reach, because they are effective, but can still be improved. If other companies can bring their own twist, taking inspiration from Unidays, then they will inevitably have an effective House-list style email.



Buffer. (2013). 6 Creative Ways to Integrate Social Media and Email Marketing. Available: Last accessed 03/11/2016.

Ellis-Chadwick, F., & Doherty, N. F. (2012). Web advertising: The role of e-mail marketing. Journal of Business Research, 65(6), 843-848.

Hernandez, A., & Resnick, M. L. (2013, September). Placement of Call to Action Buttons for Higher Website Conversion and Acquisition An Eye Tracking Study. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting (Vol. 57, No. 1, pp. 1042-1046). SAGE Publications.

Mohammadi, M., Malekian, K., Nosrati, M., & Karimi, R. (2013). Email Marketing as a Popular Type of Small Business Advertisement: A Short Review. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 7(4), 786-790


Argos and Brandwatch

Argos used Brandwatch to find out the much needed answers of its customers

“As a well established name on the UK high street with over 40 years of trading behind them, Argos knew its customers held certain expectations when entering stores. Would changing the look and feel of the familiar Argos store surroundings affect consumers? Would customers embrace the change or oppose it?”

Argos managed to use Brandwatch to find out what its customers wanted. Brandwatch proved to be a handy tool for Argos, but how?

Argos mainly used categories and rules to segment its market and manage the data. This allowed them to filter the data and work out what was happening in each individual store. It even helped Argos find out that location alone doesn’t reveal the precise stores people were talking about, and quickly amended this by adding a tag for each of their digital stores. Furthermore, Argos decided to break down this information and look into demographics. The yfound that Males tended to like the different aspects of their digital stores, whilst females focued on the new approach to customer service.

But what does this all mean in relation to companies and their handlings of data?

It was clear to Argos that they had an issue with knowing what was in store for them when it came to knowing what the customer wanted. By shaking up current store layouts – by modernising them – there will always be important opinions that customers form. Argos wanted to know those opinions. By knowing these opinions, by digesting large amounts of information in an efficient way using Brandwatch, they were able to use social insights to understand which stores were performing well for customers and which ones needed improvement. This is huge for the modern company.

Every large company are going to have stores that perform well, and stores that perform not so well. This is because in each area, there are different cultural and social dynamics such as prevalence of a multicultural-ness, prevailence of social groups like wealthy AB areas or less developed CD groups, and each area and each of these groups are going to react differently to the new stores. By using advanced analytics, Argos were able to understand these needs and cater to them. This is crucial for a modernised PR campaign and happy customer experience.


Hello world!

Welcome to your brand new blog at University of Brighton Blog Network.

To get started, simply log in, edit or delete this post and check out all the other options available to you.

For assistance, visit our comprehensive support site and check out our Edublogs User Guide guide.

You can also subscribe to our brilliant free publication, The Edublogger, which is jammed with helpful tips, ideas and more.