Gamification and Play:
It Makes Good Business Sense (and Dollars, too!)

Photoxpress_36051841Over the last year or so, you’ve probably heard the word “gamification” at least a few times.

It’s a new way of looking at how and why people do things online, and seeing if actions can be encouraged through a little bit of fun.

There are basic principles that go into gamification – people like challenges, surprises, competition and recognition, for starters – and if you can work one or more of those elements into something that you sell, a campaign that you’re running, or a service that you offer, then the chances that people will actually do it, and tell their friends about it too, skyrockets.

Let’s look at each of them, and then we’ll give you a list of blog posts where we look at gamification in action.

Challenges: It’s one thing to be able to place an order and receive what you purchase – no problem at all there – but there are times when it’s better to make someone work a little harder for something that they want. When something is too easy, we tend not to value it that highly, so putting obstacles in between a person and their reward – say a prize, or some points, or a bit of information – makes them really happy and excited when they do get it.

Surprises: Have you ever had a surprise birthday party? One that was really well done and you didn’t suspect a thing until a room full of people jumped up and shouted at you? While that type of surprise may not be everybody’s cup of tea, smaller surprises that are fun or interesting or just delightful make people want to continue with what they’re doing. They think, “Maybe there will be another treat around the next corner!”

Competition: Not everyone has a burning desire to be the best at something, but almost everyone wants to at least prove themselves capable – if even only to themselves. There are also those, of course, who love to see how they stack up against other people, and vying for first place can become a consuming passion – how nice would it be if that was happening with customers in your business?

Recognition: There’s no point in striving for success if no one notices. Being proclaimed good at what you do is a type of warm fuzzy we all recognize, so if you can build that kind of validation into your product or service offerings – well, that’s something pretty extraordinary.

Okay, those are the basics – now here are a bunch of examples, case studies and more information:

Gamification Can Tighten Up Relationships and Create a Close-Knit, Highly Engaged Tribe

Ready Set Go! Contests Are Awesome

Use Gamification and Play to Create a Tsunami of Traffic, Excitement and Buzz

How the Firepole Marketing Scavenger Hunt Reveals Different Marketing Styles

How Racing My Cats Got Me Thinking About Online Marketing

Let the Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt Begin