Have you ever watched someone play Candy Crush, Angry Birds, or World of Warcraft? They’re totally transfixed.
You might ask: Why are they playing? Usually, it is just for the sense of individual achievement in reaching a new level. Why can’t you harness this same level of engagement and apply it to critical issues, in order to create innovative new products and services, or learn new skills at your company?
You may be thinking: “What the heck does gaming have to do with marketing?” However, after closely testing and observing the various aspects of gamification and social gaming, I am not only captivated by the psychology and engaging schemes related to gaming, but also by the fact that gamification and social gaming are increasingly becoming important protagonists in how corporations attract, foster, and maintain brand enthusiasts.
In some ways, rewarding people with points statuses and badges by using addictive methods is a trend. Gamification and social gaming are the most effective ways to make dull things seem exciting. Gamification is the course of using game methods in a non-gaming environment; the benefits of this can range anywhere from B2C activities in engaging online consumers with a brand, to internal employee stimulus and motivational activities within corporations.
Often, the terms “social gaming” and “gamification” are used interchangeably; however their functions, underlying mechanics and user motive base differ widely. While it’s true that gamification borrows its game mechanics from social gaming, there are many real-world situations where it makes more sense to apply gamification instead of building an entire game. In this first part of the web wisdom special, we will look at the application of gamification in consumers’ everyday lives, in their engagement with brands and even in their
loyalty to corporations as employees. Let’s think for a moment about how games are subliminally integrated into our day-to-day life; you earn points for flying, get some money back when you buy groceries and reclaim fuel points when you buy gas. Gamification feeds this hunger with amusing and addictive tactics that feed a fun illusion within reality.
On the other hand, when used for B2C approaches, gamification is then a consumer-oriented, rewardbased gaming system that can be enabled into a customer engagement strategy. The best two examples of gamification would be Foursquare and Mint.com, which rely on status rewards, such as badgification and poinstification.
As customers pursue novel and fun goods, products, and experiences, brands can use games to insert in these experiences a sense of fun, which, in turn, better engages audiences, as well as attracting and rewarding loyal customers. With gamification, brands and businesses can tempt a consumer through a reward, status, or leader boards, and insert prizing, brand messaging and, ultimately, a sale on a product or service. Current examples are “My Starbucks Rewards” or “My Coke Rewards”, whereby buying the product, consumers get to play against each other for a chance to accumulate loyalty points. The appeal of this model has almost limitless geographical boundaries: I can buy a Coca-Cola in Mexico and compete with other participants in India. Another example is Ford, which recently implemented a digital tree-like element on the dashboard of its hybrid cars that grows leaves when customers save gas.
A third example, Samsung Nation, is a social loyalty program remunerating users for engaging with content; Samsung’s gamification plan is intended to reward, in between big purchases, brand supporters and customers who want to engage with their community. The brand’s fans are now surfacing and there’s an increase in participation across their broad communities.
With 70 percent of Forbes Global 2000 companies planning to use gamification for the purpose of marketing and customer retention, we can deduce how crucial gamification has become for core business approaches.
Indeed, solid statistics reveal just how big corporations have gone on gamification for the past few years; corporations spent $100 million on gamification last year – an amount that is expected to rise to $2.8 billion by 2016, thanks to the fact that 25 percent of businesses will undertake and undergo a redesign process. Additionally, the Deloitte Review found, in 2012, that 70 percent of Global 2000 businesses would be managing at least one gamified application or system by 2014. Moreover, multi-billion-dollar corporations such as Nike Plus – through Nike Fuel – and Apple are already gamifying some of their platforms.
According to the Pew Research Center, gamification refers to taking the gaming skills that make use of people’s determination for winning and employing them for teaching, marketing and scientific research. While some experts say they believe the tactics will slowly lose their effectiveness, neuroscientists are finding that earning rewards for completing tasks can cause chemical reactions in the brain that encourage people to continue on to the next mission.
Consumers are hungry for reward, status, accomplishments, competition and expression, and they’ll go out of their way to engage with businesses that give it to them. Again, gamification is about magnifying the effect of a current experience by adding incentivized techniques that make games engaging, by increasing high-value interactions with customers, growing sales, strengthening collaborations, improving ROI, deepening loyalty, and enhancing customer satisfaction.
So, how would you introduce gamification to your company, if you could? Once you’ve decided to take on gamification or social gaming, you’ll need to look at these three pillars:
How can we marketers benefit from gamification in its premature stages in the Middle East region? It will be really interesting to see what progress is made in the next few years if big spenders with the guts focus budgets on gamification and social gaming. What industries do you think will be the first proponents of this modern-day method of marketing?