Gamification: Making Business Fun

Gamification has been tipped as the new fun marketing channel for 2012. Technology analysts Gartner predict that by 2014 over 50% of businesses will be using gamification techniques- so how can businesses use this gaming trend to their advantage and what exactly is gamification?

Put simply, gamification is the process of engaging with consumers using game design techniques.

Take Foursquare, for example; users of the application can compete against each other to earn badges and virtual awards by checking in at various places, not only that, but they also can benefit from discounts at their check-in place. Experts say that the use of gamification encourages and motivates consumers to engage with one another.

So how can gamification marketing be used by B2B organisations?

It is important to understand that the purpose of gamification is to encourage interaction between different people; this means it is not only consumer organisations which can benefit from it. The concept can be used to target anyone.

An example of B2B gamification being used is by IBM. IBM created the gaming application ‘CityOne’ with the sole purpose of reaching out to professionals to educate prospects and inform them of their services. Whilst the game is free to play, within five months of launching it had generated revenue one hundred times greater than the initial investment.

Gamification is everywhere, and is even used on professional networking site LinkedIn:

By adding a ‘quest’ to fill in the profile, they are attempting to transform the dull task of filling out a profile into something fun.

There are many benefits to using gamification; not only does it increase engagement, but when used correctly, it can also lead to increased loyalty both internally and externally to the organisation. Gamification is very easy to measure, making it easier to assess the ROI; it can be measured by amount of users, frequency as well as time spent on the game.

Here are my top tips to how to use gamification successfully within your business:

  • Determine the reward- there are millions of games out there, you need to have a USP to really motivate people to want to play your game. Whether it is a competitive element, education, training or discounts for services…you decide!
  • Don’t make it too challenging- whilst you need some element of challenge, if it is too difficult people are unlikely to remain engaged
  • Encourage engagement- the purpose of gamification is to engage with other users, perhaps provide an incentive to encourage sharing, or interaction
  • Give feedback- people want to know how they are doing, so be forthcoming, and give feedback to those who are performing well

As always, I welcome your thoughts on gamification – have you seen a business that it is effectively using it in a B2B context? Do you think it is a valuable tool?

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Katie King is the Managing Director of Zoodikers Consulting. Katie set up her first PR agency in 2002 and launched Zoodikers in December 2010. Zoodikers, which means to exclaim or vocalise, is an agency which gives companies a voice and enables them to punch above their weight. It helps companies to take advantage of social media and influence their prospects directly. Katie holds an MBA and a degree in languages, along with a Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Her marketing career spans over 20 years. During this time Katie has advised some of the world’s biggest brands including Orange, BT, Virgin and Sony.