It’s hard to ignore the buzz currently surrounding the gaming industry, and with gamification increasing loyalty and engagement, it’s no surprise to see that B2B brands are also looking to capitalise on this trend. To that end, whether you plan to use gamification to increase staff loyalty, save money on training or to gain in-depth customer feedback, how can you make it worthwhile?
The first thing to establish are clear objectives: what do you want to get out of gamification? And what’s in it for the user? Businesses must acquire an understanding that the customer experience is the most important concern when it comes to gamification. Ultimately if it is not user-friendly, customers or staff will remain unengaged and your efforts will be left by the wayside.
Be true to your core values and content
Be realistic and don’t get caught up in the craze just for the sake of it. Despite its clear advantages, gamification can be expensive and time consuming to implement so businesses need to be practical about the level they are looking to employ, while remaining true to their objectives and ensuring the experience adds value for them as well as the user. Clear objectives to focus on could be training or education, motivation, employee engagement or customer feedback.
When it comes to gamification, your content is your best asset, so ensure to build your game mechanics around the substance of your business, while making it accessible, straightforward and easy to interact with. Just as LinkedIn has used gamification to encourage users to complete their online profiles with a simple percentage progress bar, HR departments could use gamification to motivate staff to submit details, or sales teams could be given target driven awards for their achievements via an incentive scheme.
Collect data and feedback
Gamification is a brilliant way to capture customer or staff data and feedback, for example, it can be collected through quizzes or surveys. These can help your business gain insight into your customers while at the same time giving them a voice in an original way in order to collect sufficient and honest feedback. Marketers should also look to track user interactions. How much and in what ways is the game's content being shared. Brands need to shift the importance from how long a customer spends online to how much they are sharing, how they are sharing and with whom. This not only provides insight but can also help to improve your gamification solution.
Tap into natural behavior
Humans are naturally competitive, ambitious and goal-orientated so harnessing these behaviors with gamification should be the foundation for any B2B campaign. We love to be recognised and rewarded for our accomplishments so building a reward system, such as prize draws, league tables or highlighting top achievers, will help motivate staff or customers and increase interaction. Importantly the experience should be fun and enjoyable otherwise people simply won’t use it.
Think about your target audience and which mechanics will resonate with them. Look at the types of gamers appropriate to your business or brand. These can include Achievers, Socialisers, Explorers or a combination of all three. Also think about how your gaming mechanic or solution will fit within your entire B2B campaign. To help choose the types of game mechanics you should also consider the lifecycle of your gamification experience and how to encourage longevity. Some users will be new, some will be regulars and a smaller proportion will become avid enthusiasts or brand advocates throughout the lifecycle of your campaign.
Don’t go overboard
Some are sceptical about gamification, and rightly so. Companies and brands can spend a lot of time and money developing complex games that add little to their business content by way of engagement. Planning and understanding how your game relates to the user, what benefits the user will receive and, more importantly, how the game fits in with a user’s perception of your business or brand are key to integrating game dynamics on a deeper level.
Further to this the brand or product needs to be strong and tangible enough for users to really want to interact with it in the first place, in order for the game to be more than just a gimmick. Often the simpler the game mechanic, the better the results. Don’t plan on creating the next chart topping arcade game but look to build something simple and effective around your core content. If your content is already established it shouldn’t be hard to gamify.
Keep it simple
The reason gamification works is because it can simplify otherwise lengthy processes. Surveys or training can be broken down into smaller stages with a simple reward mechanic after each stage. This approach makes it easier to respond to laborious tasks by helping to map out the process and encourage progress.
The easiest and most effective technique to use is a traffic light system. One such example is the traffic light system used when setting up a password; red equals weak; green equals strong.
Car brand Chevrolet has utilised a simple traffic light system with its well thought-through colour coded dashboard mechanic for fuel efficiency – green, you’re driving efficiently; yellow, you’re not. While some people pay attention to the miles per gallon figure, without a target there is no sense of achievement. What Chevrolet has done is to simplify the process, so by keeping it green, drivers are technically ‘winning’. B2B brands can use similar processes in their campaigns to achieve basic but very engaging gamification.