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Gamification the Next Step for Clean Tech Marketing?

Gamification, which is frequently referred to as the use of game mechanics, such as points, badges, leaderboards and challenges in non-game settings, appears to be the most disruptive force to impact marketing since the arrival of social media. Gartner Analysts predict that, “by 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes”. Companies in the clean tech sector are beginning to jump on the gamification bandwagon.

SunPower Solar Discovery campaignA few years ago, SunPower, a solar manufacturer, deployed the Solar Discovery Game, which ran a Facebook contest to promote solar energy and education in the U.S. Users were rewarded with badges and bi-weekly prizes and this culminated in SunPower completing a solar energy system worth $25,000. As a result of the Solar Discovery Game, SunPower was able to harness over 22,000 likes on its Facebook page. Additionally, this new innovative path towards marketing has allowed SunPower to install 5,400 solar panels in an area as large as 60,000 square feet in San Francisco.

Most recently, Clean Currents, a Rockville, MD based Green Energy Company, implemented its own gamification contest, Green Passport DC. Participants of Green Passport DC earned cash each time they checked into any of the forty-eight participating green destinations through the Facebook “places” application. The contest also featured a $2,000 grand prize.

“Our goal with Green Passport DC was to generate buzz through social media for our business customers, increase support for our nonprofit partners, and further cement Clean Currents’ image as the area’s most innovative green energy company,” said Gary Skulnik, President and Co-Founder of Clean Currents.

ImageThe contest was an inordinate success, as over 1 million people were exposed to the promotion of Green Passport DC. As a result, ‘likes’ for Clean Currents Facebook page went up 20%, $1,115 were raised for nonprofits, and 2,214 people visited Clean Currents’ website.

In order to propel green into the mainstream, marketers will need to make their message enjoyable, accessible and rewarding. Although gamification is still in its early stage of development, it has begun to evolve and exhibit more purpose and tangible impact than most innovative marketing techniques. With the implementations of gamification by lead green innovative marketers, such as SunPower and Clean Currents, we expect to see ‘Gamifying Green’ make a push in 2013.

Jake Rozmaryn's picture

Thank Jake for the Post!

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John Miller's picture
John Miller on March 1, 2013

Jake, marketing has and will always be about exposing consumers to the positive and potentially attractive aspects of a seller’s goods or services.  It appears that many solar firms and their marketing arms are making good progress using the latest social media avenues.  Besides selling or what you refer to a gamification of the market-potential customers, the companies must also deliver on their advertised products or performance promises.  This of course includes cost-benefits, and when it comes to solar panels, returns on one’s investment over the longer term.

A word of advice from the ‘baby boomer’ generation, the term gamification could be interpreted as ‘gaming’.  Gaming one’s customers or someone you are about to do a transaction with in the business world is also often defined as ‘manipulating’.  Not necessarily perceived as a positive business practice or process.  I, however, understand you are referencing a process of engaging one’s potential customers in a positive, honest manner.

Very interesting and informative first post.  Keep up the good work.

Jake Rozmaryn's picture
Jake Rozmaryn on March 5, 2013

Thanks for the comment, John. I couldn't agree more about companies delivering on their products and performance promises. Luckily, with the some of the new bells and whistles (from geospacial mapping and monitoring to advanced racking, inverter, and optimizing technologies) available to solar installers, its becoming easier to predict performance and deliver a quality installation. However, I do believe gamification is a great way to educate the public about the benfits of switching to clean energy.

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