The word “gamification” is fast catching the imagination of marketers and decision makers in organizations and being termed as the next ‘big thing’ in web and mobile world. As organizations gravitate towards the concept and embrace it, we found it fit to introduce our readers with the Gamification concept, discuss its business value, and understand its various elements and its applicability. In the first part of the Gamification series, we will get introduced to the concept-
Gamification is a technique where gaming mechanics are utilized in non-gaming activities to engage and influence consumer behavior and earn customer loyalty. However, Gamification as a concept is not new. In the real-world, businesses especially the hospitality industry, for some time, has been using a similar version of the concept to boost customer loyalty. Frequent flyer programs, earning and redeeming points in credit and debit card transactions etc., have become a popular way to make customer use products or services again and again. In the online world, the concept is in its nascent stage but, is expected to throw up a world of possibilities for organizations to reach out to their target audience, engage them with their brands and ultimately realize the desired goal. And, with everything going mobile, mobile phones are expected to become a potent medium for application of gamification.
What is Gamification?
Gamification, in business context, can be defined as a technique that employs game mechanics such as points, levels, virtual or real goods and game dynamics like reward, status, competition and achievement etc., into non-gaming activities like website, social media and other marketing campaigns so as to encourage user participation and engagement.
Many leading brands are gamifying the customer experience so as to drive customer participation. Some good examples are:
Gamification vs. Loyalty Programs-
While gamification and loyalty programs are similar in concept, loyalty programs whereas reward people with what Gabe Zichermann, the author of Game-Based Marketing, calls “stuff-based benefits” like discounts and goodies, gamification rewards people with status, access and power. He explains that people value status, access and power above stuff. So, gamification is more than putting people into a competitive grid and rewarding. It’s about making them feel good and boost his/her image in the social circle.
To sum up, Gamification comes across as a potent tool for businesses to engage their existing and prospective customers and impact fundamental business objectives. It promotes fun among customers and adds flare to marketing. With organizations, which have deployed gamification, tasting early success, we are sure to see a wider acceptance of the concept in future.
The article is a part of Gamification series. In the next post, we will discuss on the various elements of gamification. Stay tuned!