Gamification is an excellent asset to business and understanding its concepts can engage customers and lead to increased customer business. In Parts 1 and 2 of this series we have reviewed what gamification is and what the specific concepts of it are that really work in driving customer behaviour. In this final part in this series we will look at some different applications of gamification.
Perhaps the most obvious application of gamification is that of driving brand loyalty, as explained by Vaughn Highfield on the Total Customer. One of the problems as Highfield sees it is that it can be difficult to engage with the millennial market, and that gamification can offer the “golden goose egg” that gets people in and interested. Vaughn Highfield argues that the already old ways are not working however, stating of clubcards used by the likes of Tesco and Boots that:
“The only incentive here is about collecting and accumulating points. The reward, your discount on the next purchase that you make, or a handful of bigger benefits if you spend stratospheric amounts”.
Vaughn argues that this concept is out of date, though of course it would be interesting to know what Tesco, Nectar and Boots have to say about that, given that at least in Tesco’s case, the clubcard has been lauded by industry pundits as one of the biggest drivers of Tesco’s success. Indeed, it is argued that these forms of gamification are so tired that they get people to switch off and that the benefits are not really good enough to draw people in.
What Vaughn Highfield votes for instead are activities that draw in the millennial market. This means giving out rewards that are actually worthwhile, in his view, and he argues strongly that it is this that will draw customers in and drive brand loyalty in the end. One factor that is particularly important is giving customers a reward that they actually want. For example, if Tesco gave a customer money off coffee when they don’t actually drink it, that would be an irritation for that customer rather than a reward. It would be an annoyance that would not lead to brand loyalty. One option that gets around this is argued by Highfield to be when customers choose their own rewards. Of course in the case of Boots customers can indeed do that. It is explained by Highfield however that a better approach still is getting customers to get feedback based on their behaviour such as sharing stories on social networking, or rewarding them for sustainable behaviour.
While brand loyalty is one practical application of gamification it is by no means the only one. Another very important application can be found in the education industry. As Rachel Jones of Create Innovate Explore points out:
“The prevalence of technologies at the fingertips of our learners has had, and will continue to have impact on the way in which we try and engage them in their learning and encourage them to make progress”.
Gamification has become increasingly achievable with the use of the internet and mobile devices, argues Jones. It is possible to build games that lead to engagement that drives progress in learning for students. Learners can get badges for rewards, and they can take roles and take risks in order to learn. These applications of gamification are equally applicable to all kinds of students, and perhaps surprisingly at all levels of education. That is because as Rachel Jones explains, people are naturally competitive and they want to succeed. Gamification in education encourages them to do exactly that, and it keeps people involved, engaged and motivated in their learning. It is perhaps easier to do this for younger children, but it is possible to achieve it at all levels with some thought and insight applied to gamification strategies.
Brand loyalty and education are two examples of where gamification can be used to get customers engaged, but there are many more. Gamification clearly has many highly relevant applications to encourage people to interact with organisations and to make progress with tasks or activities. This has led to great success in the case of many businesses. Does your business use gamification techniques yet? If not, perhaps it is time you got started.
To conclude I would like to invite you to see the following video of a TEDx talk given by Gabe Zichermann, who is an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker, a thought leader on gamification. He is the chair of the Gamification Summit and Workshops, and is co-author of the book “Game-Based Marketing, where he makes a compelling case for the use of games and game mechanics in everyday life, the web and business.