Marketing Through Games | #DSW16

During Dallas Startup Week 2016, Kevin Kirkpatrick led a panel that discussed marketing through games and games for marketing. Essentially, the gamification of marketing. The panel consisted of four entrepreneurs of Dallas startups, who spoke about using a game platform to engage consumers.

On the panel were:

  • Todd McGee, CEO of Cataboom, a SaaS platform that allows brands to build games that reward consumer behavior. The games can be used across any customer touchpoint, social, mobile and web, as well as on any devices. The key is to change consumer behavior through rewarding them.
  • Nolan Clemmons, founder and president at Wufasta, a mobile game platform to help game developers with user acquisition and retention.
  • Daniel Cocanougher, current president and CEO at, was there to discuss his past experience with Funimation, an American entertainment and anime and foreign licensing company and his sales experience with selling Dragonball Z games in the U.S.
  • Daniel Kardell, director of technology at GeoWhiz online, produces a virtual world of gaming for kids. The games are real-world based and teaches kids and parents to engage with businesses to create experiences.

Gamification marketing

The first question the group fielded touched on the core of gamification marketing and instant gratification. According to McGee, he figured out that Pavlov’s conditioning can change consumer behavior by tapping into the user’s dopamine levels by offering an experience that rewards with instant gratification. He said the positive effect makes it more likely that the consumer will return to the game and play again.

Clemmons explained that by offering a reward with the ability to download the game immediately develops loyal customers who return. Most customer pay $3 to $4 on average per game on their iPhone. He pointed to a Unity (a cross platform game engine) study that reported over 54 percent of game users prefer to pay for their games by watching rewarded video ads.

Kardell’s company GeoWhiz offers a virtual reality experience that builds user loyalty by preparing kids and their parents for an adventure when they visit a destination and then by following up to invite the user to revisit or try something new.

Cocanougher, speaking to what he called the “olden days” at Funimation, said the company built loyalty through collectability. For example, collect these characters and get another collectible free.

Demographics, engagement, content and technology

The panel spoke to their experiences with demographics, engaging the customer, developing relevant content and technology pitfalls. You may be surprised to learn that the typical gamer is a woman, 30 to 50 years old. Additionally, the panel discussed social media and how to engage the customer along with best practices when it comes to content. Not surprisingly the panel also discussed some of the technology obstacles they have experienced.

Watch the video above to see the entire panel discussion and to learn more about creating loyal customers through gaming.

Marlene den Bleyker