May 17th, 2013
Have you ever received a gold star, or a token in my case, in elementary school for good behavior or producing good work in class? The star system is an effective incentive mechanism in which teachers have implemented a reward system to promote achievement and encourage positive behavior. Students would work hard to achieve the most stars in order to be listed the highest on the ladder; I sure did.
Similarly, marketers are implementing these game mechanics to encourage more customer engagement and influence behavior. Businesses are also finding this strategy effective in the work place for driving employee productivity, personal development and innovation. This psychological motivation is exactly what the “Gamification” trend aims to succeed in a non-gaming context. So is this strategy worth the investment?
Industry analyst firm Gartner says that it is a highly significant trend and predicts more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one “gamified” application by 2014. Agreeing with Gartner, if implemented correctly, Gamification can be more than just a buzzword. It has the potential to develop a positive interactive experience for customers and transform work into an enjoyable environment for employees. Especially with consumers today increasingly online and on social channels, this presents a new opportunity to engage on another level.
What is needed to implement a Gamification design?
It’s important to remember that Gamification does not mean converting your website into a game of Angry Birds or Tetris, but rather an interactive website that motivates customers to use and engage with your products. This can be done by offering rewards and driving competition among consumers. Some good Gamification design elements and implementations from organizations include:
- Adding a leaderboard: With IActionable Engage engine, Salesforce employees were able to manage their own performance and view the performance of other team members. This drove direct competition and motivation to increase lead generation, customer support and sales numbers.
- Offering badges: Foursquare incorporated game-like tactics by allowing its users to claim mayorships, unlock badges and receive discounts to specific retailers while tracking against friends through a leaderboard.
- Incorporating challenges: Scvngr and Buffalo Wild Wings created an engaging app that allowed users to complete online challenges and unlock rewards.
- Tacking progress: American Airlines developed a progress bar that allowed its users to track their Elite Status Qualification. The more flights purchased the higher the bar increased for users to earn more points and miles. People are often driven to reach the 100 percent completion mark; I sure felt this drive when I was developing my LinkedIn profile.
These are many more Gamification examples begin implemented by businesses, and I anticipate seeing new implementations in the coming months. For marketers considering implementing a Gamification strategy, it’s important to define first business objectives as well as a strong design. Industry analyst, Brian Burke of Gartner wrote an article that validates this point in his article titled “The Gamification of Business,” saying “We predict that by 2014, 80 percent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives, primarily due to poor design. This design includes defining business objectives, as well as application definition, deployment and adoption. In the longer term, as design practices improve and organizations focus on defining clear business objectives, Gamification will have a significant business impact and become an important means for organizations to engage audiences at a deeper level.”
If there is an opportunity to incorporate Gamification into your marketing strategy, take the risk and test this approach. If implemented, companies should be innovative and think about how this benefits the company and its consumers. The opportunities in the end may be rewarding.
- Raquel Prieto