Guest blog from Sarah Lilly Robinson
Last week Waggener Edstrom hosted a panel on gamification during Social Media Week in San Francisco. The event brought together more than 50 business professionals and six expert panelists in San Francisco’s Citizen Space.
The integration of game elements in design, internal or external marketing strategy is a blossoming trend — in fact 2012 may be the year of gamification. Panelists included Marshall Kirkpatrick (CEO, Plexus Engine), Lora Kolodny (tech reporter, Wall Street Journal), Birju Shah (CEO, SugarCrew.com), Matt Hart (senior account executive, Badgeville) and WE’s own Tac Anderson (vice president, Digital Strategies), and moderator Jennifer Houston (president of WE Studio D®).
The term gamificaition is used to describe organizations using game mechanics to drive engagement in traditionally nongaming products. Brands such as Starbucks, Nike, Sales Force and Microsoft are leveraging game mechanics to encourage external audiences to engage in desired behaviors, and some companies such as SAP, Deloitte and IBM use gamification techniques for internal employee motivation. Here’s a look into a few of the key themes discussed during the panel.
Gamification can drive metrics. There are a number of different metrics that are important for any given brand, and gamification can help meet those business goals by driving engagement with consumers. When you use gamification to influence consumers, it can be very powerful.
Create something meaningful. The rise of social media corresponded with information overload for the consumer. Much like social media, consumers will have to filter which games they really want to engage in. Brands using gamification create something meaningful with their game strategies to propel themselves above the noise to drive impact.
How do we know the investment is making an impact? Brands should align their metrics with something that is impactful. Foursquare and social status is enticing, but does it drive metrics? Loyalty is also important when using gamification to drive impact. When you develop loyalty, you develop influence with a brand.
Is gamification a bigger trend than social media? Gamification is a tool for business and is not a new vertical like social media. From a VC perspective, gamification is not seen as a separate industry. However, gamification is seen as an impactful new tool. In fact, research shows that by 2012, 70 percent of companies will have adopted some sort of gamification to increase sales.
You can watch a replay of the panel here.