By now you've heard the talk about gamification. This trending topic has been a focal point of discussion for companies ranging from the mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar shop all the way up to the enterprise sales organization.
But like many other emerging marketing trends and tactics, gamification comes with a set of implications and responsibilities requiring an understanding of the right implementation. While some big gamification brands are dumping millions of dollars into educating the market on how this trend is a new essential component for every business, it's not right for all brands. Gamification tools should be a strategic addition tailored to your users.
How can you tell if your organization is ready for game mechanics? Here are three signs you are not ready to jump on the bandwagon. Because, let's face it, not every new tactic is a good fit for every business.
If you haven't identified your top three metrics, you won't know where to apply game mechanics. Awareness? Acquisition? Conversion? You've got to prioritize. Decide what is most important to your business needs first, and then consider how to gamify.
Understanding your target demographic and how they respond to different marketing tools is essential. If your users are competitive, that's a signal for the type of game mechanics that will be most successfully adopted, like leaderboards, points, rankings, etc. If your users crave social recognition and connections, you'd be better off taking another route with things like badges, levels, and status. Study the behavior of your users to figure out what to apply and when to apply it.
Gamification works best in specific use cases, like acquiring new customers or encouraging more frequent engagement with your brand on social channels.
For customer acquisition, you should've already figured out the best channels to gamify and the most appealing incentives for your users. For more frequent engagement, there is no magic spell. If your product, service, or workflow is useful once a year, don't try to sprinkle game mechanics over the top and expect daily use. However, for recurring engagement opportunities, gamification keeps your brand top of mind and creates momentum to gradually build touch-points for increased frequency of use.
Even if you're not quite ready to hop on the gamification bandwagon, there are ways that you can continue to build your social media network and engage meaningfully with your followers. Keep working to identify your goals and understand your users so when it comes time for gamification, you'll be winning new customers and deepening meaningful engagement.
Ranjith Kumaran is the founder and CEO of PunchTab.
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"Game over" image via Shutterstock.
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