3 Steps to Implement Gamification for Your Digital Consumer
Couple of Months ago, I asked my wife's nephew (who is 8 years old) what he would like to be when he grows up. The answer was: "A YouTube Game blogger". I asked him why and he said: "What not to like: playing games all the time is amazing fun, people love to watch other people play not only because it is also fun but also its a way they get knowledge in how to progress quicker in a specific game, reach higher levels and points and become one of the top players on the respective leader board." Of course he also mentioned that he will become "famous" on YouTube.
The above is a real life example of how the new "born-digital" millennial generation have completely different attitudes and expectations than their previous generations and also confirms why gamification is growing in popularity across all companies and markets to engage and motivate their digital consumers, understand their behaviors and drive business performance.
Gamification, in simple terms, is the use of game mechanics to engage audiences, solve problems and provide users with incentives to behave in a desired way. Gamification uses mechanisms like points, badges, progress bars, and leaderboard to improve user engagement on a topic.
Most commonly, companies are turning to gamification techniques to: 1- Increase customer engagement and improve sales 2- Boost customer loyalty and nurture the brand 3- Enhance employee motivation & retention 4- Drive Employee learning & knowledge sharing 5- Encourage organisational behavior change 6- Obtain continuous & real-time customer and employee feedback
While companies acknowledge the benefits of gamification, companies are reporting back that it is difficult to maintain sustained digital consumer engagement over time. Companies are seeing great spikes in digital consumer interests with even the most basic elements they implement, however engagements is short lived.
Based on my experience, in which I had few successes and failings with gamification, and best practice I have seen in the market, applying gamification should be a planned, concrete and considered campaign with a specific concept and mechanics that deals with a clear defined business goal.
So what are the key pillars of such campaign?
1- The Business Goal:
The key for any gamification implementation is understanding what your business is trying to achieve, solve or even capture. The business goal needs to be simple, specific, and measurable . For example, I see many companies implementing gamification with the goal of "improve consumer satisfaction" as business goal and the fact that they are struggling. This is due to the fact that consumer satisfaction is a very wide topic with various aspects and many measurements. A better Business goal can be for example: Improve consumer satisfaction by implementing gamification techniques to increase consumer feedback. Another example is companies implementing gamification to "Drive Innovation" as a business goal. Again, by making the business goal more specific and measurable such as "drive innovation but increasing the number of ideas submitted".
2- The Gamification Concept incl. Mechanics & Dynamics:
The gamification concept need to be "individualised" for each business goal. The concept should target the digital consumer needs, the game mechanics & dynamics. Target areas you need to think of that will influence your concept are:
A- Behavioral vs Emotional: Do you want the digital consumer to physically get involved in doing the particular activity or you want their state of mind be impacted positively by their engagement?
B- Short term vs Long Term: Do you want the business goal to be achieved short term or long term?
C- Individual level vs Group Level: Do you want the engagement on an individual, a group or collective level?
Based on your answers above, the following is my recommendations:
i- For behavioural oriented concepts, the following types of gamification mechanics are most effective:
- Points - Badges - Levels
ii- For Emotional oriented concepts, the following types of gamification mechanics are most effective:
- Challenges/Quest - Ratings
iii- Based on the timeline of your goal, the use of rewards will need to be chosen:
- For short term goals, use physical and virtual goods as well as achievement recognition. - For long term goals, use special/exclusive interactions and status recognition.
iv- Based on the level of engagement, use leaderboards for individual level and progress bars for group level.
3- Data Analytics
Of course, as the saying goes: "If you can't measure it you can't manage it". Therefore, in any gamification implementation, the key is to ensure you capture the consumer data at every possible interaction point (where possible).
Whether you are improving your digital consumer satisfaction, increasing your understanding of them or even driving innovative solutions, gamification is a very strong concept to use.
For the next 100 days,
- identify the business goals that are digital consumer engagement oriented
- re-assess the goals to ensure they are simple, specific and measurable,
- work on your gamification concept to ensure it covers the right dynamics, mechanics and target the needs.
- As always, run a small pilot first before you do a full blown rollout