Game on: 3 Ways to Make Money with Gamification

via Chris Kenny, Nashville Business, | Source Image:Link

With people spending three billion hours a week playing online games, we’ve certainly come a long way since Joshua (the computer in WarGames) ominously asked:“Shall we play a game?” From fitness to fast food to life insurance, today more brands are using online “gamification” strategies to drive participation, engagement and loyalty.

In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2015 more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation will “gamify” those processes, and more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.

But before you think about turning your brand’s website into a massive multi-player gaming console, let’s explore what gamification really means (Hint: it’s not a video game) and the benefits to brands.

What’s gamification anyway?

At the core, gamification plays upon a fundamental human desire to play games. But in life we’re often confronted with incredibly mundane activities. Gamification is the process of infusing game mechanics into otherwise non-gaming aspects of your website, online service or internal workflow to create a more engaging, fun and rewarding experience. Some common game mechanics include: competing for badges, points, or levels, and earning rewards, bonuses and virtual goods for high scores.

When you consider how games fulfill our inherent need to compete, explore, achieve and prosper, the possibilities for gamification become exponential and have the power to drive every kind of user engagement — from buying something to solving problems to sharing content.

Here are three ways brands are effectively applying gamification to their marketing mix.

Crowdsourcing: Have a business problem you want to solve? Gamify it. Harness the power of collaboration. The best example is Foldit, a crowd-work game developed at the University of Washington that unlocked the mysteries of a key protein in the fight against HIV. A problem that puzzled scientist for 15 years was solved in 10 days by 40,000 people playing an online game.

Branded experiences: Nike Running created a virtual running revolution through its social, gamified website and app, Nike Plus. With it, runners join a global community, issue challenges, set personal and team goals, get rewards and share activity across social networks. By gamifying personal fitness, Nike Plus drives loyalty with hard-core runners and newbies alike.

Recruiting and training: One of the fastest-growing uses of gamification is to better recruit, train and engage workers. Marriott developed a game similar to Farmville designed to attract Millennials with an interest in hospitality careers. The Department of Defense simulates real-world situations through a game that trains employees in projects that may be too expensive or dangerous. And the U.S. Army’s “America’s Army” is a virtual web-based environment in which young Americans can “explore an Army career.”

More than a buzzword, a well-designed gamification campaign helps customers and employees achieve their goals while simultaneously driving brand engagement, loyalty and ultimately sales. So what are you waiting for? Put on your game face and add game-changing gamification to your marketing strategy.

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