All the World is a Game—Get Ready to Play

Gaming isn’t just for gamers anymore. Gamification—the application of game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging— is the latest tool in the marketer’s toolbox.

These days, savvy marketers are using gamification to re-engage consumers who are bored with the traditional, tried and true loyalty reward programs.  Indeed, “compared to 2008, 40% more consumers feel that loyalty programs offer them no value at all,” according to the recent Forrester Research Inc report, Building A World-Class Loyalty Program. Companies like Badgeville and Bunchball are gamifiying loyalty marketing programs to enhance the consumer-facing experience and increase loyalty and engagement for well-known consumer brands.

To get your finger on the pulse of what to expect in the gamification arena for the coming year, take a look at the 7 Gamification Predictions for 2013 from a recent blog post by Keith Smith, CEO/Co-Founder of BigDoor, which offers a gamified loyalty platform that powers social engagement through the use of game mechanics. He predicts that:

  1. Gamification will define the next generation of loyalty programs.
  2. The e-commerce/retail sector will deploy gamification faster than any other industry.
  3. Gamification implementations will become more brand specific and allow more personalization of the user experience.
  4. Many gamification implementations will fail due to an absence of ongoing program management.
  5.  Successful gamification implementations will be cross-device, cross-platform and even available offline.
  6. Advertisers will embrace gamification as a new growth area.
  7. Gamification platforms that provide actionable analytics and reporting will succeed; those that don’t will fail.

If you think these predictions sound a bit far fetched, take a look a little closer to home. I did. Personally, I’ve never been much into gaming but I recently found myself highly engaged in a new APP called FitnessPal. I am competing against a friend in Geneva, Switzerland to burn the most calories and walk the most steps in a day. My friend’s high daily totals have fueled my competitive spirit to burn more calories and walk more steps, and of course, win more badges. There is something about making the activity into a game that has increased my motivation to engage—and that is exactly what marketers are hoping to achieve.

Photo courtesy of Ian D on Flickr

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