Grace Lanni, Managing Director, RSE Consulting. As kids, we pulled ourselves over broken glass, hiked in the woods without showers and toilets, and gleefully completed tasks which we will likely NEVER use again – just to get the scout badge. It is a successful finish to a stretch effort that yields psychological and physical fulfilment – including endorphins etc. etc.
Though I’m a biomedical engineer, I’m not up on the brain chemistry of such things, however, I am wildly fascinated by gamification (the inclusion of a game into a business effort) moving into businesses of all kinds. Well executed, gamification yields EXTREME results (>leads and >prospects and >sales >likes/referrals) beyond even the most well-designed inbound marketing programs. So much so, when we evaluate a business for the first time, one of the categories we evaluate is gamification in their market and geography.
Take our friends McDonalds, for instance. Remember the first Monopoly game where you ripped off badges on the front of the fry boxes? Brilliant for all parties involved – kids wanted the pieces (badges) – and parents who played Monopoly as kids wanted badges. I didn’t even eat ALL the fries. Their sales went crazy, and Monopoly sales went crazy. A win-win for all involved. The first version was paper-based. Now – McDonalds games happen offline, online and mobile. Your kid can play a McDonalds game ANYWHERE they (or you) are.
Let’s reflect on Starbucks – gamification for a coffee shop? YES! Their platinum card is a hit, and client stickiness is more trackable and inspireable as a result.
Certainly demographics are more inclined to game, of course. Games for 40yr olds look different than those for young teens – but the psychology looks the same. How about Facebook games – Farmville – a crazy number of at home Moms play this game. If this is your market – figure out a way to play and sponsor or advertise.
Geographies – FourSquare seems to be the king of geo gaming. Starbucks, McD’s are not the only ones who play here. A local bank saved themselves with FourSquare by creating awards (badges) for the mayor of their branch. They found a way to get people to stop by!
Gamification is not for sissys – and it’s NOT CHEAP. Gamification is near the peak of Gartner Hype Cycles and like most new trends and technologies, the initial hype surrounding the trend creates unrealistic expectations for success and many poor implementations follow. Like any new trend, gamification will move through the hype cycle from the peak of inflated expectations into the trough of disillusionment.
To be successful, study what is working in your market and target demographic. Play the games before you model or implement. Take the time to understand your customers. Start as small as you can, though, sometimes, smaller is not better. Get with a firm that understands your business and gamification. We partnered with gamification and mobile experts to ensure best results. Go get those badges!