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Win with Gamification in Online Communities

by on Jan 20, 2014 in Communities, Drupal, Integrations, Jive, Lithium, Salesforce, SharePoint, WordPress

As per M2 Research,
Gamification + Communities = 150% Increased Engagement.
In this highly social world, communities and gamification are the best ways to increase engagement. As a marketer

  • Gamification makes your customers Feel Good and Gain Approval from other participants.
  • Communities give your customers a sense of Belonging.

Gamification in Online Communities

Motivation and Gamification

Maslow’s theory of needs says, physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-realization needs motivate people to do what they do.
If you think about it, Feeling Good and Gaining Approval are needs that act as motivators for your customers. Similarly, other needs that drive your customers are:

  • Recognition
  • Status
  • Competition
  • Positive feedback
  • Self-expression and a platform for it
  • The ability to influence people

Now, if I tie up the two needs of Feeling Good and Gaining Approval in context of gamification with Maslow, you will find that these are just “Esteem in disguise”. Esteem is a self-image need and when people feel valued for their contributions, they feel better about the experience. Further, the contribution needs recognition. Badges and points provide recognition for all the activity people are doing. Such validation for the effort makes people feel valued by giving a public “pat on the back”. This in turn raises their self-worth.

Many brands like Deloitte, Autodesk, VEVO and more have this figured out and are leveraging it to integrate gamification into their setup to increase customer and employee engagement.

Some companies are using gamification creatively. Notable examples are Achievemint is leveraging game mechanics to motivate healthy habits in employees, startups like are using gamification as user acquisition strategy. Others like UPS have training programs that are designed to help drivers acclimate to walking on ice, this helps UPS cut costs in workers compensation. Marketo rewards community activity and so on.

Why Organizations are Increasingly Embracing Gamification

money spent on gamification

Although, Nick Pelling coined the term “gamification” back in 2002, it is working NOW because Gen Y (majority by 2015 will join the workforce) grew up in a digital age and is very comfortable with gaming. As consumers and as employees they prefer gamified elements in normal course of work and life.
Since 2010, $100 million has been spent on gamification. Also, as per Gartner organizations will allocate 2.8 billion USD in direct spending to gamification by 2015.

Three reason behind this huge amount:

1. Interactive experiences leads to more advocates

Typically, marketing messages say what services or products the brands offer and the benefits consumers could have. Gamification cuts across the campaigns and the marketing to engage the consumer directly with the brand and in process is successful in turning consumers into advocates.

2. Gamification results in phenomenal increase in productivity

Organizations with gamification for employees have registered 205% improvement in performance related outcomes. I wonder if gamification of the office is the new reality.

3. Organizations gain more insights and accelerate adoption

  • Organizations can gather actionable and comprehensive data on consumer’s engagement and perceptions
  • Crowd sourcing ideas is easier to solve complex business challenges that can save time and cut costs
  • Accelerate adoption of new products
  • Brands are recalled faster by the consumer

Motivation and Communities

Tying communities to Maslow’s theory, you can see that communities are a place where the users feel like they belong. This sense of belonging is fundamental to bringing the community members closer. A sense of togetherness makes the members come back repeatedly, which drives activity on the community.

Kris Duggan on Gamification

Maybe Marketo heard Kris Duggan

Marketo leveraged game mechanics to engage customers within their support community.
With more than 3000 customers spread over 35 countries, Marketo’s community is a huge cost and time saver for its customer support team. Marketo wanted to incorporate gaming in its support community to drive customer adoption and accelerate customers to maturity. It decided on The Behaviour Platform by Badgeville. This integration helped Marketo to

  • Increase consumer engagement
  • Improve quality of user contributions
  • Accelerate on-boarding

Marketo’s gamified community looks like this –

Gamification on Marketo Community

Quantitative results of this integration are –

Quantitative results of Gamification integration

Lessons from Marketo’s success

  • Keep an aim for gamification
  • Be clear with your target audience
  • Tie up gamification with those elements which your users value the most
  • Measure the impact of gamification
  • Make users have fun with your gamification

Closing Note

Gamification and communities are about using the power of psychology to delight customers, boost productivity for employees and engage partners. Creatively using game mechanics to help solve complex challenges makes business sense for a highly social and integrated world where status and recognition are playing a major role in driving consumer and employee decisions.

About Grazitti Community Services

At Grazitti, we offer expertise in online community development and gamification services. We can design, conceptualize, build and maintain robust communities. Companies like Lancope, Alteryx and Marketo trust us. We build robust online communities on Salesforce, Jive, WordPress platforms and integrate them with gamification platforms like Badgeville.
To know more about gamification and communities, just drop us a line at






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