As far as industry buzzwords go, gamification is the most misconstrued buzzword ever!!
GAMIFICATION: noun gam·i·fi·ca·tion \ˌgā-mə-fə-ˈkā-shən\
Gamification is a long, awkward word, and some pundits mock it as somewhat deceiving and inaccurate. However, despite the popularity and misuse of the term by anyone who wants to sound cool (hint: it doesn’t mean “fun”), there is a specific meaning and powerful industry around gamification.
Most people think of gamification as games created for a business purpose, but the reality is that gamification is about maximizing the effect of an existing experience, by applying the recognition and motivation techniques that make digital games so engaging.
Gamification is attractive to B2B marketers for many reasons:
- It appeals to millennials who understand digital games
- Can be applied as a SaaS layer on top of an existing enablement or incentive program
- Is less costly than building out a full game-like App or simulation
However, while video games are fun and have tapped into what motivates people: Clear objectives, immediate rewards, and easily identifiable progression; gamification is not about games in the B2B environment.
In B2B gamification is all about driving and rewarding activity and or behavior completion
Gamified UX in B2B is visually actionable, interactive and interesting – empowering participants to see their progress within a program in real time, which allows participants to translate their efforts into real value, and to understand their impact on the business. For the most part a gamified enablement or incentive program should be:
- Actionable and Interactive
- Simple, and show recognizable signs for next actions
- Clear, and provide instant feedback for actions taken
- Easy, and communicate identifiable markers for ranking and performance
- Efficient, and provide accessible paths to further achievement
These days, you can gamify pretty much every boring aspect of your B2B enablement or incentive program, with the ultimate goal of driving simplicity, motivating participation, engagement, and driving loyalty.
B2B marketers have long understood the value of competition as a motivator. Performance leaderboards hold a prominent place in sales offices, call centers, and other business environments. And gamification relies heavily on tools like leaderboards and badges to motivate participants by challenging them to keep up with peers.
Think about it, your predominant goal is to generate as much revenue as you possibly can…
In pursuit of the goal you recognize that a successful sale is the result of a string of productive activities, that when combined, result in a sale: You provide training, you generate demand and then send MQL’s to partners to convert to SQL, you provide for opportunity registration, you reward specific “sales stages”, and so on. In a gamified model, you’d get points for all those things.
Just SQL’d a lead? Regardless of the outcome, ding! You win points. Was that your third Deal Reg of the month? DING! You just earned yourself a badge, you social maniac – and everyone on your team knows it. Even your boss knows it. Just closed your biggest deal ever? DING! DING! DING! You’re a top performer, and rewards are for top performers. You can share that reward or badge on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram so that all your peers know what a fabulous butt-kicker you are.
The key to B2B gamification is turning extrinsic rewards to intrinsic rewards.
Top vendors today are delivering a simpler user experience by showing users their progress towards different types of training and certification programs, sales incentive goals, and/or for driving and rewarding completion of courses and/or reaching or exceeding objectives.
Yet, whichever type of dashboard, gauge, or progress bar is used, it must by visually actionable, and it must show participants where they are on their journey. Additionally, if your focus is training – progressive learning quizzes keep the user from feeling overwhelmed while ensuring the program stays fresh with new quizzes. This gives your partner participants a reason to keep logging into the site, while increasing their engagement with the program.
Gamification is currently being applied to customer/partner engagement, employee performance, enablement and education, innovation management, and health and wellness. In a recent Perks sponsored survey about 65% of respondents welcomed the idea of gamification and only 11% felt it was a deterrent to their work.
If you would like to see gamification in action, and learn more about a framework for implementing a Gamification Strategy into your enterprise enablement and/or incentive environment, let me know.
About the Author
Chief Strategy Officer Claudio Ayub brings over 20 years of global channel marketing experience to Perks.He has executed major go-to-market programs for a variety of vendors, including Bing, Cisco, Dell, EMC, IBM, Kaspersky, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Seagate, Symantec, and VMware among others.More Content by Claudio Ayub