Even before I actually played it myself, I could foresee the moment when somebody tries to highjack HQ Trivia’s popularity for marketing purposes.
I first became aware of this ridiculously addictive iPhone game in much the same way that I learned about Pokemon Go more than a year ago: a sort of social media osmosis where there were vague references in my Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn feeds from people I knew who were talking about all the fun they’re having. If you haven’t succumbed (yet), here’s the rundown from Time magazine, which described it as less of a traditional app and more like an old-timey TV game show:
Once an HQ Trivia game starts, you’ll be presented with a series of multiple choice questions. You’ll only have 10 seconds to answer each one, which essentially rules out the possibility of cheating with search engines . . . If you answer a question incorrectly or run out of time, you’re eliminated from the game. That is, unless you have an Extra Life, which allows you to keep playing after you’ve been disqualified. You can earn Extra Lives by inviting new users to sign up for HQ Trivia with your referral code.
To the best of my knowledge, HQ Trivia has so far been unsullied by attempts to replicate its game mechanics by enterprise SaaS firms, but just give it time.
It is all too easy for me to imagine someone creating a branded version of HQ Trivia that helps IT professionals learn more about the various flavors of cloud computing, for instance. An HQ Trivia knockoff could also be a much more accessible way to give decision-makers just enough tidbits about artificial intelligence to make a business case for actually deploying something. An HQ Trivia-like game you can play via chatbot? Content marketers, come on down!
Usually, these kinds of tactics fail to come anywhere close to matching the success of games or other content that went suddenly viral. That’s because it’s hard to make a business objective mesh with something that was intended purely for entertainment purposes. That said, it’s worth studying something like HQ Trivia before you design your next online calculator, survey or other, more traditional content marketing vehicle.
The objective here should not be to intimate viral hits as though it were some sort of get-leads-quick scheme. It’s about looking for the factors that drive voluntary, enthusiastic engagement and adapting your marketing strategy accordingly. At the end of the day, HQ Trivia may not have long-term staying power, and there’s nothing trivial about helping B2B buyers make a smart decision.