Have a plan and a reason before starting to gamify
Gamification startups have enjoyed a steady increase in popularity and profitability in recent years. This has sparked the interest of many non-gaming oriented businesses to introduce games into their services in an effort to attract more customers. But plunging into the trend is by no means easy. So, how can businesses effectively launch their own gamification efforts?
Knowing What the Audience Wants
While many gamers play for enjoyment, there are a growing number who also wants to gain additional incentives from playing games. This is a great advantage for those businesses using their gaming services to promote their main products, as they already have initial gamers in the form regular customers of their major products.
One good example of a company using this strategy, as detailed here by Entrepreneur, is Orlando-based Cut & Color Salon. As co-owner Jeff Morris explains, they didn’t want to resort to the traditional methods of doing a rewards program for customers. Thus, they opted to partner with solutions provider Perka to come up with smartphone-based system that allows customers to gain points when visiting local merchants and checking in via the game’s app. These points can then be exchanged at the salon for discounts on services the customers are interested in. After just five months, the number of users of the app has ballooned to more than 600, with many claiming points twice a month.
Offering Something New
In his article for Lithosphere, Michael Wu points out that:
“No single gamification strategy can bring long term sustainable values, because no games can last forever. Even avid gamers rarely play the same game for an extended period of time. Games that were once fun, may appear very boring and stupid now. People change and move on; games, as well as gamification, must adapt. Otherwise, you risk the big backlash.”
Thus, gamification startups should always be prepared to come up with new gaming strategies to keep their players interested. Expansion of current games is often the quickest method introducing new gaming innovations to players. However, creating completely new games will help a lot in keeping player’s interests far longer, as well as attracting new players.
Expanding Your Reach
As have been pointed out, trying to maintain a specific set of players is often very difficult, as they can easily become bored of current game lineups. Aside from coming up with new games, businesses should also actively seek new audiences for their current games. Player feedback can help a lot in discovering new players that can be targeted by these games.
These tips are by no means definitive. Gamification is an ever-changing field, with gamification startups coming and going quickly. However, these will help businesses a lot in getting consumers playing to their tune.
Cover Image (CC) by Wesley Lelieveld Photography