Whether the term gamification connotes negativity or it’s just a word taken direct from the video game industry to entice, the trend is pulsing through social customer service, location-based marketing, and social marketing.
You need to begin now to view gamification as something that inspires, incents and motivates customers, employees, prospects, and others who engage with your brand in a variety of ways, on mobile platforms, in-person, via phone, or other.
At the core of gamification is a study in human behavior.
There is a burgeoning and nascent industry around the psychology of human connectivity which also stems from how we’re wired to compete.
Several years ago, Klout hit the social stage, and many pioneer users were up because the platform was assigning scores on “influencers” based on the number of tweets and +K awarded on a variety of irrelevant topics and levels of engagement. Was that really influence or was it selective tallying of whose on Twitter longer than most?
Flash forward. After many closed their Klout accounts in public protest, I just received last week my first Klout Perk — a free Sony Walkman. My Klout hovers around 60, and I can influence that score by three points sitting at Social Slam and tweeting and Facebooking and Instagramming all day in conference. Is a Klout perk bribery or good marketing? It’s probably good old gamification — incentivizing Klout users to tout, share, post, feel good, and compete, while sharing the good news in a blog post that a free Sony Walkman just arrived. (Yes, I felt compelled to write about that; it’s a high-quality product and I paid nada.)
Meanwhile, earning badges and becoming the mayor on Foursquare drives my competitive streak. While recently on spring break driving 2,500 miles, I was the leading scorer among my Foursquare friends until someone in the UK racked up 1,000 points literally overnight. My 11-year-old kidlet and I were not happy; so I tried to unfriend that guy to no avail. We knew he gamed the system and cheated while I diligently checked in at each Hilton hotel to earn 50 points in the Hilton Honors program.
With these two examples from one person, multiply that by Pi. I’m not even a gamer; I’m in a much older demographic, and I hardly engage with the platforms that would allow me to compete at a furious pace.
What Gamification Means To Marketers
Website magazine’s May 2013 issue has a short piece by Evan Hamilton, head of community for UserVoice, on this topic. He references Zappos, Wired magazine, and Gartner’s prediction that 50% of brands will gamify by 2015 and 70% of the largest organizations will have at least one gamification app.
What he also writes is of interest:
“Gamification is not about creating motivation, it’s about reminding people of their inspiration.”
Think about that a moment…
Hamilton says…”If you’re trying to get your users more engaged, take a deep look into what inspires them. Then try building in gamification that evokes that inspiration and reminds them of why they’re doing what they’re doing.”
Social customer service is an area ripe for gamification. The frontline ambassadors need to realize that their motivation is not about earning a badge for the most calls completed; rather, motivation needs to be satisfied customers.
I find the psychology of human behavior behind gamification fascinating. As marketers, we need to delve into the crux of customers’ competitive nature and their need to be acknowledged. Blend that core element into product marketing, customer service, and mobility programs and platforms to motivate response via winning beyond just earning a badge or free dessert.