In a highly competitive business environment having any edge is an advantage. Implemented correctly gamification will not only give your business an edge over your competitors but it will also help to make your business sustainable.
It’s a fantastic user engagement tool that has been successfully implemented across various niches for different purposes. In this article I’ll talk about areas where businesses can use gamification, successful examples of gamification and finally some tools that you can use to implement gamification.
How business can use gamification
There are numerous ways you can use gamification within a business environment. It could be to engage with customers or even to motivate your employees. Sometimes you don’t even need special tools to do this, just some creativity. Below are few things you can improve with gamification.
To introduce new things/ideas
People are usually resistant to new ideas and concepts, especially if the current setup is doing fine. So adding a gamification element to it can help people embrace the idea and even get them to go beyond their designated workload.
For example in our company the management wanted developers to learn Meteor (a platform to build web apps) for the next project. They could have planned a two week workshop and bring someone in to train the developers. Instead of doing that they did a 2 day crash course on meteor and organized a hackathon with dinner vouchers for the winning team.
The developers were obviously much more enthusiastic about the hackathon. Even the marketing teams and the designers got involved and it was a fun exercise with lot of self-learning. More importantly it got the developers excited about Meteor and its capabilities.
To encourage specific actions
Gamification is a great tool to control the user behavior and get users to do what you want. The key thing is to motivate them with a great reward.
One good example of this is the Moz community, which I’m a keen participant. Moz is search engine optimization software and Moz community is a place where you can ask and answer questions. With around four to five questions per hour it can be time consuming for one person to answer questions. Also it’s pretty much impossible for one person to know the answer to all the questions. So they have crowdsourced it and enabled people to gain points for answering questions. Then can then redeem this points for free Moz subscriptions.
To Increase User Engagement
Building an engaged user community is the dream of any business. It takes time and extremely hard to execute successfully. With gamification you can easily simplify this task.
One company that did this very successfully is Squidoo, a publishing platform that helped you to create articles about various topics. They gave you points for starting an article, logging in everyday, publishing and article and whole lot of other things. You can redeem those points for advertising and other things within the Squidoo platform.
HubPages, another self-publishing platform acquired Squidoo and they also implemented some gamification elements to it by introducing badges etc. but I personally felt they didn’t have the same effect. In short for gamification to be successful it should have a solid reward other than a badge.
To Increase social shares and comments
Social media has become an integral part of any marketing strategy. The more social shares you get more chances your post has of going viral. You can gamify this by rewarding users for sharing your content. The most common example is awarding points which the users can redeem for various prizes.
Tools to Implement Gamification
Now you know the benefits of gamification, now let’s take a look at few tools that simplify this.
Let’s start with somewhat simpler to implement solutions. MyCred is a free WordPress plugin which you can use to add gamification elements to your WordPress blogs. It’s based on modules so you can include only the needful gamification elements to your blog.
MyCred uses WordPress hooks so you need to have some knowledge of WordPress coding to implement this. They provide good documentation so any decent web developer or software engineer can implement it. If you don’t have a dedicated developer team you can always hire a WordPress developer to do this for you through their site. I guess that’s how they make money as well.
If you’re looking for enterprise level gamification then GameEffective is a popular choice. It’s a SaaS product which requires no coding, making it extremely suitable for large companies which has many distributed systems. As a SaaS product it has the benefit of scaling as well.
Another key strength of GameEffective is its integrations. We found it extremely useful when adding gamification to Atlassian, our documentation and wiki platform. Other than that it integrates with SalesForce, ZenDesk and many other collaboration platforms.
If you’re into more hands on development then the open source solution UserInfuser might be a good fit for you. This is especially suitable for tech start-ups and other open source projects because they already have the personal to integrate this seamlessly.
Similar to MyCred modules they allow some level of customization through widgets. And you control soe elements like font color, font size through the main dashboard. As with most open source projects you won’t find well document help material or implementation tips, but in the right hands it can be very powerful and fully customizable to your needs.
If you haven’t implemented gamification in your business yet I strongly suggest you give it a try now. It can give you tremendous benefits and form the foundation of a sustainable business.
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