Change the Game by Making it a Game: Marketing and Gamification

July 30, 2014 | Ann Lambert
Change the Game by Making it a Game: Marketing and Gamification

Last year, Sirius Decisions reported that an average of 70% of all B2B marketing content goes unused. That can mean a lot of things, of course, but the broader point is simple: many B2Bs simply aren’t getting enough out of the content they create.

From a marketing perspective, there’s nothing worse than creating valuable content that barely sees the light of day. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a way to get employees and customers to evangelize and share those resources on your behalf? 

It’s not always easy, but one idea that’s worth a look is gamification.

Applicable to practically any department under your company’s roof, gamification is a way to harness the competitive spirit of sales reps, the creative drive of marketers, and the desire for recognition and reward of everyone in between. Rebecca Johns of The Digital Bridge describes gamification as “adding a layer of game-like elements and interactivity to non-game situations. It’s taking all of the best parts about playing games – earning points, moving levels, winning etc.– and adding that to typically non-gaming, and oftentimes dull scenarios like training.” 

But it’s not just about training. For example, raising content awareness internally and encouraging employees to share those resources with their own networks is a great way to turn your organization into its own powerful marketing channel. It can also help position customer-facing employees (like sales reps) as authoritative voices in your market – and gamification can help incentivize them to participate. 

Think about it; everyone in your organization is likely participating in some gamified construct outside of work already—mileage programs for free flights, a credit card point systems for cash back, or the Starbucks’ Rewards program for coffees on the house. So why not leverage competitive spirit at work too? 

Whether its leaderboards, point systems, challenges, levels, badges, or prizes, people are inherently motivated by achievement, recognition, and rewards. Implementing gamification is one way to put your content (and the marketing budget you spent on its creation) to good use. All you have to do is:

  1. Give them an easy platform sharing (at Brainshark, we use Influitive)

  2. Create a social-sharing-ready post (it could link to a blog post, infographic, video, or presentation), a request for content ideas, or a call for prospect recommendations

  3. Attach a point value or pre-determined incentive to each challenge

Gamification for your customers

But why stop internally?  Gamification can be equally as viable when applied to your customer base.  Think about it: you have this great community of customers who are users of your product, major supporters of your service, and vocal advocates of your organization. Just as your employees are motivated to share content for points, so will your best customers be willing and eager to spread the word via social mentions, email blasts, and prospect recommendations in exchange for something as simple as recognition (OK, more likely it’s the chance to win a gift card. But still!). 

Brainshark reaps the benefits of gamification through the Brainshark Champion Program, a VIP community for our customers and employees that allows us to interact, network, and reward them for their Brainshark engagement and advocacy. Once an individual opts in, they can engage with challenges (ranging from Twitter posts to survey responses to event participation) to earn points and leaderboard standing, which then translate into tangible rewards and recognition!

In fact, thanks to the Brainshark Champion Program, sales reps and customers alike will probably earn points by sharing this very blog post with their social networks. With a few quick clicks of a button, they get points towards a prize, move up the leaderboard, and our content is shared with a wide audience of potential new prospects—see how that works?

Do you use gamification as part of your company’s marketing strategy? Any examples or ideas worth sharing? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

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