If you’re on Facebook (and at this point, you really should be if only to understand what it’s all about) then you should have heard about FarmVille. For those who don’t know what FarmVille is, it’s an addictive online game where you grow crops on a virtual farm. But why is this important to you as a marketer?
The answer comes in the form of additional features offered within the game. Users can buy special items, virtual gifts, and game currency (used to buy things within the game) with actual money. The things you can buy have no real-world value. I liken this to buying tokens at an arcade. In an arcade, you would buy tokens to play the games, the games allow you to collect tickets, and you trade in the tickets for prizes. But in FarmVille it’s a little different, in that you buy FarmVille money to enhance your experience.
As a marketer, you can apply this formula to your current business (you don’t have to be a publisher of online games to do this). Is there something you can offer your customer (at a cost) that’s of little to no value to you (something that doesn’t require a lot of time, money or resources) that would enhance your customer’s experience when doing business with your company?
In FarmVille, there are hundreds of items one can buy. Some of them sell, some don’t. FarmVille introduces new “special” items frequently, but for limited time frames. These are market tests to see what items interest players more, so that future items will be more “valuable” to those players. The same should apply to your offers to customers. Test frequently, gather feedback, and adjust your offerings to match the research.