The Dopamine Effect in Marketing: Why You Need to Make Customers Feel Good
You know what it feels like to get the “rush” that comes after an exciting experience or awe-inspiring moment. You feel aroused and moved, thrilled and awakened.
The rush is real. It’s not just a figure of speech.
It’s a chemical release within our body, a flow of internal signals that passes through us and flushes us with uplifting emotions.
This experience is often referred to as the dopamine effect.
And, this dopamine effect is one of the most powerful outputs of a good marketing campaign or branded experience.
What Is Dopamine?Without getting too technical, let’s look at the scientific definition of dopamine.
“Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.” -- Psychology TodayDopamine is our body’s way of teaching and rewarding us. It teaches us which activities to repeat by rewarding us with pleasurable feelings.
What Causes a Dopamine Release?When we engage in habits or tasks that benefit us, dopamine is released. It tells our body that this is the right thing to do, and sends signals that tell us this is something we should do again.
Dopamine isn’t just a by-product of a situation. It’s also often released before we have an experience. In the anticipation of an event, dopamine is also triggered.
There are many other factors that control the production and release of dopamine. Food, exercise, vitamins, drugs, stress, illnesses, and other conditions create both increases and decreases in a person’s dopamine levels.
But when we talk about dopamine’s role in marketing, we aren’t talking about these type of dopamine releases.
What's The Dopamine Effect In Marketing?When we talk about the dopamine effect in marketing -- we are talking about the biochemical reaction when a person has a positive, uplifting experience.
We are talking about how a brand can “wow” a customer or audience to the point that they have a dopamine wave of satisfaction and happiness.
The dopamine effect in marketing has to do with creating experiences that trigger a positive reaction in customers. It’s about creating an uplifting moment that reinforces behavior and leaves the audience wanting to come back for more.
So, how do we position marketing and branding messages to create this effect?
Branded Experiences That Trigger a Dopamine ReleaseThere are a few ways that brands can set up experiences that trigger a dopamine release. But one of the most powerful tools for trigger the dopamine effect in marketing is through gamification.
The core elements of gamification include many of the factors that are tied to dopamine releases.
These experiences both teach and reward us. They teach us that these activities are positive by rewarding us with good feelings.
- Winning a prize. Victory and prizes tell us we’ve done something right. Our brains reward us for our accomplishment by triggering a hit of dopamine.
- The anticipation of the possibility of winning a prize. It’s not always the act of winning that causes dopamine levels to rise. Because dopamine is also released in anticipation for an experience, it could just be the thought of winning that triggers the effect.
- Making progress. We are also satisfied even if we don’t win. We can have a dopamine release when we have made progress. Accolades such as badges, points, or small awards also send internal reward signals.
- Sharing our experiences. Showing others that we’ve had a positive experience also makes that experience even better. Social media triggers the dopamine effect in marketing when we share what we have experienced with others.
This connection is a powerful output for marketers as they can use it to provide an audience with an enjoyable experience -- and a reason to come back for more.
How Priatek Uses Gamification to Create a Dopamine Effect
At Priatek, we created a system that uses all of the experiences that trigger dopamine through marketing.
Our patented, in2win prize kiosks and mobile apps give audiences an exciting, engaging experience that also:
The in2win system triggers the dopamine effect in marketing by giving a “wow” experience that leads audiences to have a wave of satisfaction and happiness.
- Gives audiences a prize each time. Players step up to our life-size, high-definition prize kiosks. They select which promotion they want and then play a premium game to win one of the prizes. Players are guaranteed to win every time they play.
- Gives audiences the anticipation of winning. Players know they are about to win with each play.
- Allows audiences to see their progress. The new version of our in2win system allows users to create profiles, track their progress, and win badges and bonus points.
It leverages the power of dopamine by causing the audience to develop an internal connection with the experience, a lasting positive opinion of a brand, and a strong desire to go back and play again and again.
Learn More About Dopamine, Marketing & GamificationGamification is a powerful tool for triggering the dopamine effect in marketing. Learn more about how you can utilize good feelings, games, and great experiences to build deeper connections with your audiences, by contacting us today.
Priatek is a pioneer in using gamification and compelling experiences to engage audiences, and we'd love to see how we can help your brand expand into this exciting new marketing arena.