Gamification can help you achieve awesome results in business, from getting new customers to engaging them, build community around your product and to even motivate your employees to give their best contribution for your company. It is a buzzword and everyone’s talking about it, if you don’t know it yet, no worries, Startup Freak explains it in an awesomely simple way.
Gamification definition for Startups
Gamification is use of game like elements/ mechanics in non-game context. What this means is you can introduce fun aspect of games to make your product or service more appealing or easy for your customers to use.
Gamification is used by marketers to engage their customer, and encourage desirable behavior. Best early examples of Gamification is the loyalty program given on Credit/Debit Card usage. I mean points and rewards which you get… keeps you engaged in using the card more often so that you collect enough points to get the desired reward.
Now that is a very simple example i gave, Gamification is much more than that now-a-days, it is helping startup products to go Viral and get their billions users instantly. It is not just limited to points or rewards, there are many elements which you can use like leader-boards(Foursquare), Levels(Credit Cards), Virtual currency (Zynga), Progress Bar (like LinkedIn) etc.
To more elaborate on Gamification, Let take some examples,
1. Drop box -
Dropbox launched a contest the smartest marketing campaign ever with college students called as “ The Great Dropbox Space Race” which went viral and got the company huge customer following and also customer engagement which make any product go viral and acquire new markets.
The contest offers two years free Dropox space for the winner’s college. Students need to register with an eligible school email address, unless they already have an existing Dropbox account. A school then receives one point for each person who registers for Space Race and installs Dropbox on their computer and two points for each person that goes through the ‘Get Started’ guide. Even better: students get three gigabytes of free storage space just for signing up. Check out more details here .
2. Foursquare -
Foursquare business model is that they want people to tell ‘where they are’… i.e check-in to the places where they are. But if you think it from a customer point of view why would anybody tell where they are and share it on a social network? As the result they dint see any users until they introduced gamification into there business model. They started giving badges to people for checking in new places and for multiple checking in the same place and started giving designations like mayor of that place and put in a competitive environment to bring in more customers through other social networks. And based on the users location and their badges the user get good discount on the local purchases.
There is a complete course on this available freely for those of you interested, at Coursera.org
How to choose Gamification for your Startup
Think of Games, there are way to many types and categories of games for all types of people. There are serious games, fun games, games that require brain and games that require strength. Not all people like all the games. But there is a element to each game which makes it interesting and based on that you can decide how you can go about choosing which aspect of game do you want to be introduced with your product. In the above two examples the game elements that are used are points and badges and the games aspects that are used are competition/race and Social recognition.
There is a technology platform also needed to implement gamification to keep track of the users details and many startups now a days are offering ready made gamification platforms.
So the take away here is that gamification can take almost any form and can be used in as many ways as we can imagine. Think gamification = motivation mechanisms. The common methods used today are badges, points, and challenges, but these will evolve over time as quickly as the internet itself. We will follow up with more content on gamification soon.