Should You Gamify Your Business?


Gamification Insights

As Jesse Schell points out, gamification is like chocolate, adding it can enhance certain foods, but there are certain objects that even chocolate can’t enhance.  Apply this concept to your business: gamification won’t improve your product, just the experience.

Consider why you want to gamify. Is it because your competitors are doing it or because it’s the latest trend? These reasons will often produce shallow gamified experiences that will not result in customer engagement or value.

If you answered because you care about your customer, and want them to have a greater experience on your site and product, you’re on the right path to gamification glory.

The following are some business situations that can benefit from applying gamification to increase customer value and engagement:

You need Participation

Stack Overflow, a crowd-sourcing site that relies on volunteers to provide content, gamified to give users value. It wouldn’t be feasible to provide the volunteers monetary incentives; the number of contributors would have to be limited, which would limit the insight and knowledge gained from the public. Therefore, Stack Overflow provides intrinsic incentives, like badges and titles, which are meaningful because they can be shared and come with real value like access to exclusive website moderating privileges.

Your Complex

Learning new interfaces and tough concepts can be challenging, but Adobe Photoshop Level-up, Microsoft Ribbon Hero 2 and Codeacademy have found a way to make it more accessible and, dare I say, fun. By gamifiying, there’s now a clear progression in the form of levels. Each challenge has a reward, like points, leveling up, and badges. Something previously intangible, like knowledge, can now be shared with friends. The examples above also make use of storytelling and graphics, making the program “friendly” to beginners and engaging.

You’ve got Physical Products

Companies with physical products need a way to create a virtual presence. Take Nike with a mostly off-line product. To advertise shoes online isn’t enough. What Nike did was give their customers a reason to download their apps and visit their websites via Nike+ – an app that makes jogging fun. Gamifying the experience with leader boards, trophies, and challenges, in a socially integrated way, gave customers value.

Finally, even if your business isn’t one of these models, gamification can be applied in creative ways to make boring tasks that your customers have to do, fun.  For example, made it fun for customers to pay their bills and reward them with ‘big cash prizes (article), and Rypple made enterprise performance reviews and goals a daily, approachable task through customized feedback badges.

What other business models gamify?

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