Five years ago, few organizations knew what “social network” was, let alone could use it as a verb. “We need to get our social network up and running this year so we can social network with all our customers.” Now, you can’t toss around an idea for Internet marketing without hitting someone waxing philosophically about the criticality of social networking. Because the start of the year is all about making predictions that no one will remember a year from now, we’ll go out on a limb as say the same will soon be true for gamification.
Gartner, the IT research and advisory company, agrees with us (or maybe it’s the other way around). They believe gamification will be big stuff in about three years.
Gamification uses the same principles of gaming (earning points, status, rewards) to excite an audience (customers, employees) to engage in something that might normally generate low participation either because of time restraints, or it’s (dare we say it?) a bit dull. Not to say that anything that requires online registration is dull, but maybe your audience isn’t always as eager to sign up for something as quickly you’d like. Or, if the event isn’t required, maybe they don’t sign up at all.
Here’s how gamification works: Let’s say you want your employees to register online for series of elective classes. You could award points for each online registration, and then post a list of the top ten point earners throughout the year. Perhaps your employees are required to meet certain CE requirements, e.g. a minimum of 10 units a year. You could award virtual badges to the top five earners.
Like so many other things, the word “gamification” is newer than the idea, which is a proven concept. Take Amazon for example. Customer reviews are gold for any organization, and, according to one TV show, gold can be hard to find. For years, Amazon has given status to its reviewers, not just for the number of reviews, but for the quality of them. The result has been tons more reviews for products on Amazon.
Gamification might play for some aspect of your program. If you think so or already employ it, let us know. The first response earns 5 ABCpoints, the second 4 points and so on. See how we did that?