Pushed by the mobile revolution, gamification is gradually becoming an essential part of many companies' marketing strategy, to improve customer engagement and employee performance. The concept of applying game mechanics in an enterprise setting is powerful, and it’s getting a lot of attention. Business studies focus on best practices rather than mistakes. I believe it’s time to cast a light on the top 5 common gamification mistakes to avoid in your strategy.
Games can be effective to build a bridge between your brand and customers, or to motivate your employees by incentivizing specific behaviors. Creativity and innovation are always welcome: in the age of empowered customers, traditional loyalty programs are not useful anymore, and games can be the perfect choice to drive clients through the journey from awareness to conversion, purchase and advocacy.
- It is not a ‘one-fits-all’ solution that will solve all your problems with customers;
- It is just one aspect of a more complex and long term digital marketing strategy;
- In the mobile era, it must extend to disruptive technologies (smartwatch, app, iBeacon);
- It only delivers within established standards, otherwise it becomes useless - or even counter-productive.
Once you have discovered the essence of the game customer experience, you need to know how to escape pitfalls. Here’s a list of 5 common mistakes to avoid when using gamification for your business purpose, to make sure you get the most from your efforts.
- Unfulfilled objectives: games in business are more than just a fun break from work. If you focus too much on the element of fun itself, the risk is to miss the point. You can create the most exciting game experience, but if you don’t have clear objectives, you won’t gain results. As said, gamification is just a part of an overall strategy.
- Unclear goals: gamification is a tool for achieving a goal. Different contexts imply different goals, and gamification programs are effective only when customers really understand the purpose. Goals improve motivation: without clear goals they will easily lose interest in your game and brand. Remember that both goals and rewards should be an integral part of the gamification planning and development.
- Focus on competition: the ultimate aim of gamification is to inspire customers to proceed on the conversion path. Games have the ability to change behaviors, taking advantage of the natural instinct for competition. But if you forget other dynamics like collaboration, progression and mutual accomplishment, you will inevitably fail to build motivation and to encourage customers to carry on with the game. Sustaining motivation is critical to your success, and competition is just one way to leverage the motivating power of playing.
- Too many rewards: rewards are essential to enhance engagement and motivation, but if you reward every little accomplishment, customers won’t take it seriously. There is no point in rewarding all kinds of behaviors, because people won’t understand what you’re trying to motivate and your strategy will end up as a too easy or frustrating experience. Choose specific rewards for specific checkpoints, so your clients will feel like they have realized something important.
- Design failure: all your big ideas will never meet the basic objectives if you offer a lousy game experience. Faulty mechanics and bad designed user experience are the worst enemies of every game - and every app in general. If the progression doesn’t work smoothly, customers will be confused and ultimately leave the game. Make sure you properly test and evaluate all elements and go back at the game mechanics if you spot a problem.
Engagement truly depends on how gamification is planned and executed. Following the rules and escaping these pitfalls is a tested way to avoid the dreadful ‘Game Over’ message to an unsuccessful game-based strategy.
As practical advice in geo-targeting, one of the critical practices that enable to gamification, discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to your customers close to, or inside the store.