We live in a world where people send a billion tweets a month, where there are more than one trillion mobile devices and more than 600 million online social gamers. One of the biggest challenges facing B2B marketers today is how to integrate the consumer-based expectations and technologies of this increasingly mobile, social and ‘always-on’ era into their marketing programs to achieve better results. Today, engaging customers and delivering results takes a new kind of marketing approach.
That’s where gamification comes in. Experts predict that by 2014, 70 percent of companies will have at least one gamified app and that a gamified service for customer retention will be as important as having a Facebook page. Yet until recently, nearly 84 percent of marketers had no plans to use games or gamification in their marketing mix.
What is gamification and how can you use it to deliver results? Here are five gamification facts to get you started:
Fact #1: Gamification is the application of gaming concepts to non-gaming experiences—in this case marketing. Game mechanics and dynamics—like rewards and feedback loops, badges, points and leaderboards—drive action, improve participation and motivation, and are gaining ground in marketing. For example, I recently joined Box, the cloud-based file sharing service, and within hours I had received feedback on my level of collaboration, including number of downloads, uploads, previews and comments. This gave me a clear feedback loop on the value of the service.
Fact #2: Who are gamers anyway, and why do they matter? The answer may not be what you think. 53 percent of social gamers are female and 49 percent are between the age of 18 and 49. They are wired, social and mobile and spend lots of time online. In other words, it’s not just Millenials and Gen Y’ers who are in on the games. Playing can be fun for everyone and embedding it into learning, work, and marketing can help drive brand value, improved experience and achievement of business objectives.
Fact #3: Why does it work? Games and gaming functionality are proven to help achieve higher levels of engagement, change behaviors and drive a deeper more compelling experience, all of which are a must to consider for tangible business results from your marketing efforts. They can even help people to understand complex topics faster and easier. While at IBM, my marketing team used a game to help close a skill gap in business process management with IBM Innov8.
Fact #4: Who is using it? Companies large and small and everywhere in between are incorporating gamification into their mix. Salesforce.com, Deloitte, American Express, Box, Evernote, Ford, Eloqua, USA Network and others. Lots of companies are getting in on the game.
Fact #5. Getting started is easy. As with any successful marketing campaign, you need to understand your objectives, develop a strategy to meet those objectives, measure your results and reward your participants. There are lots of great resources today to help you on the path to success including SCVNGR, Bunchball, Badgeville and more.
You too can have fun with games!
Amy J. Lipton is senior vice president of marketing for Sepaton, where she leads the development and execution of its marketing and communications strategy, including efforts related to brand awareness, product marketing, channel enablement, promotion, press and analyst relations, interactive media, and new social media initiatives.