“Maybe 2021 is the year of the double Freshers ” – key takeaways from our webinar with Domino’s

Last week, during our first Student Beans webinar, we sat down with Domino’s to talk about gamification, adaptation and Gen Z strategy. Here are some of the highlights.

If done correctly, gamification can have the same impact as on-campus marketing 

“I’ve done my fair share of helping out at Freshers fairs – I’ve seen first-hand how quickly students can move when they want to, like when they see that hot pizza being walked into the Student Union!”, says Kathy Connolly-Livings, Customer Acquisition Manager at Domino’s. Like many other key student brands, Domino’s had to rethink their usual on-campus marketing strategy in September 2020. They swapped Freshers fairs for digital gamification, working with Student Beans to develop a digital scratch card competition. It had all of the interactivity of their in-person events while being completely COVID-safe.

For Gen Zs, gaming looks different

Of course, to see success from gamification, it’s important to first understand gamers. As overachievers, Gen Zs enjoy the challenge/reward structure of interactive marketing – and 75% in the US and UK are regular gamers. But as a new generation enters the gaming sphere, there are some key differences. “Gone are the days when a gamer was someone who spent hours in front of their PC or Xbox”, says Kathy. “Now there are so many gaming apps, there are actually much more people that call themselves gamers.” As the boundaries between gaming experiences become ever more blurred, Gen Zs are more likely to equate gaming with shopping, learning, marketing and more. “When there’s an opportunity to win something, users are much more likely to interact”, says Kathy.

domino's student scratch card

Digital businesses are inherently agile

Gen Zs are digital natives – they have a unique ability to switch between online and offline worlds, often at the swipe of a touch screen. This means that any business with a strong digital presence has a significant advantage when trying to reach them. “Domino’s is a digital business that sells pizza”, says Kathy – explaining that around 90% of their business is online. Not only did this enable Domino’s to pivot to meet digital demand during lockdown, it also sets them in good stead as the world opens back up again. After all, Gen Z won’t be ditching their digital ways of living any time soon.

Gen Z will drive the release of pent-up demand post-lockdown

As the global vaccine rollout continues, brands like Domino’s are already anticipating how students will shop once the world opens up again. “I do think that students will fall into that group of people thinking, ‘I’ve not been able to spend my money as freely as possible, or go to the pub, or go out’, and they will just want to spend, spend, spend”, says Kathy. “They are going to be even more of a key demographic for brands after lockdown, because they’re going to have all of that money pent up.” If the roadmap continues as planned, this Gen Z spending boom could well coincide with Freshers 2021 – a landmark event for incoming students as well as those who missed out first time around due to COVID. Kathy suggests that in 2021, we could even see a “double-Freshers” effect – with new and existing students coming together to celebrate. 

If you missed it the first time around, catch the full webinar on-demand: Domino’s spills the beans: how to be remembered by Gen Z for all of the right reasons.

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