Today, becoming a marketer is quite difficult. Our audience, their expectations, the way, place, and time they want to interact with content are changing, and we are trying to adapt. On average, each person receives as many as 10,000 advertisements per day. First, how should they accept all these, and second, how should we stand out? Let’s face it, it is not only difficult but almost impossible. As marketers, we are always looking for a panacea, that is, a panacea that can solve all our problems.
We currently spend a lot of time and resources building a data-driven marketing engine, which is fine. We all know that data is the lifeblood of our business. However, in this rush to get into marketing nirvana, I can’t help but feel like we’re leaving something behind. In fact, our audience is human. Their behavior and reaction methods come from deep in their hearts. If we forget how the human brain captures, processes, and processes information, then we will not be able to influence the audience in the way marketers want.
Why does gamification work?
Gamification works because it gives people control over what they’re doing and also provides them with clear markers as to their progress to date, a map to guide them in future actions, and prizes to clearly indicate when they’ve undertaken the right behaviors. Toss in the competitive element that most gamification programs employ and it’s easy to see why it is touted as an effective engagement tool.
“Gameful design works through triggering factors of intrinsic motivation, such as our drives for social interaction, meaningful contributions, achievements, increasing challenges and self-challenges to demonstrate our competence, and giving us the ability to autonomously self-express,” Dr. Lennart Nacke, Director of the HCI Games Group at the University of Waterloo’s Games Institute in Canada, says. “Designing for successful gamification means to engage people meaningfully with interactions that would otherwise be considered bland.”
Arguably the most common form of gamification to date has been in learning and development, with 2019 research from Harvard Business School highlighting the potency of gamification on our ability to learn at work. The study found that applying gamification during the learning process had a strong impact on the willingness of employees to not only engage with learning but to complete the programs more consistently.
The power of gamification to ‘engage and motivate’
Gamification is neither a game nor a diversion, although it employs game-like elements that appeal to the desire to play, compete, and be recognized for achievement. “It’s really more of a behavioral science,” said Brian Burke, vice president of research at Gartner and author of “Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things.”
“What gamification can do is engage and motivate people digitally to achieve their own goals,” Burke told CO—, “and then the organization’s goals are achieved as a consequence.” Successful gamification finds that sweet spot between the goals of an individual and the goals of an organization.
“That is what works for gamification,” Burke added. “A lot of gamification fails because people don’t understand this is not a magic way to manipulate people into doing what you want.”
Many companies have found ways to deploy customer-facing gamification to build customer loyalty, branding, and lead generation. Examples include:
Starbucks rewards customers with freebies using gamified elements like bingo while driving repeat store visits and purchases.
Fitness gamification from Nike, Peloton, Vitality, and Fitbit offers consumers personalized feedback, social interaction, friendly competition, and discounts while brands build awareness and goodwill.
Whimsical quizzes from nonprofits Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Heifer International engage consumers on topics close to their hearts. Correct answers generate a third-party donation, making consumers feel good without spending a penny, and the organization builds its email database in the process.
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