Gamification, simply put, is the use of game-like environments to engage audiences. Now, I know what you’re going to say: “Isn’t that definition a little vague?” Yes, it is vague…Partially because this industry captures a wide variety of uses; but, also because gamification hasn’t matured enough to define.
In this immature industry, there are still amazingly intelligent marketing advances. If you want…
- build your own car (Mini)
- remodel your kitchen online (IKEA)
- paint a room in colors you choose (Sherwin Williams)
- vote for your favorite crayon (Crayola)
- try on sunglasses (Warby Parker)
- help your kids learn math (Khan Academy)
… a gamified experience trumps a non-game one for increased loyalty and satisfaction. If you’ve lost the mayorship of your favorite hot-dog stand, it’s a safe bet you’ll be coming back again tomorrow. While many people think of gamification as giving out virtual badges, it has the opportunity to turn into so much more. It’s not as much competition as it is rewarding our sense of play with something we value: status, learning, a high score, a picture of the future. These are some of the innovators who are proving that to us:
Bunchball is a leader in the development and implementation of gamification “products.” Many would consider Bunchball as being the initiators of gamification as they were the first company to provide game mechanics as a service (it was for NBC’s hit show “The Office”). Since then, Bunchball has not only been backed by Adobe, but they have also helped clients such as Comcast, USA Network, and Hasbro. Due to their early entry into the field, they have been ahead of much of the competition; although, others are not far behind.
Kiip (pronounced “keep”), is a gamification software developer focused on the mobile market. Their philosophy involves taking the games that we all know and love on our mobile devices, and rewarding us with discounts, coupons and samples, right after we’ve achieved something within the game. You know when you’re stuck with all vowels in Words with Friends? Well, as soon as you’ve found a corner of that board to place your letters, Kiip can reward you. As if these games weren’t already addicting!
Kris Duggan is the CEO of Badgeville, one of the most well know gamification sites around. Badgeville’s main goal is to increase engagement and loyalty to their client, whether it is a social platform or a business in need. Kris Duggan is labeled on Badgeville’s site as a “serial entrepreneur” with an interest in building innovative, fast-growing, SaaS companies. Prior to Badgeville, Kris was part of the leadership team at WebEx, another game-changing (pun intended) player in its respective industry.
Featured on TechCrunch and Mashable (among others), DevHub has taken an interesting spin on gamification. DevHub is a website that allows you (or your business) to create its own website. Much like any other website development, DevHub gives you all the bells and whistles you need to give your users a real snazzy appearance. However, they have realized that many websites are abandoned during creation due to the frustrating hurtles that you will encounter. “Do I really need to know how to put a JAVA tag here?” “I don’t feel like looking up this code.” There are countless excuses to not finish a website. DevHub has implemented gamification into its development to give you achievements as you move through the creation of your website.
Keith Smith is the CEO and Co-Founder of Big Door, another big player in the gamification mechanics development industry. Big Door uses a four-step approach to using their solutions: define your goals, create and configure, integrate, analyze and optimize. That being said, it is amazing that Keith has been able to lead Big Door to a methodological approach to gamification adoption with its clients. To bring this full-circle, DevHub is actually one of Big Door’s clients. Keep up with Keith Smith and Big Door as they are sure to be one of the pioneers that shape this industry.
In addition to these amazing innovators, it is always worthwhile to poke your head into a few LinkedIn communities that seem to be on the forefront of this technology. Here is a list of Going Rogue’s “honorable mentions” that can keep you engaged in some of these conversations:
- Gamification – Using Video-Game Mechanics for Your Marketing Communication
- Gamification Network
- Masters of Gamification
What are some of the uses that you foresee in gamification? Leave a comment!
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