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Friday, July 12, 2013

Loyalty and Gamification

We worked with several applications using game dynamics in our enterprise.   So I have been been involved in the concept for years.  I have given several talks on the subject.   I had a conversation with Rajat Paharia, CEO and founder of Bunchball,  about the idea a few years ago.   I was struck immediately with two aspects of his new book: Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification   

     First is the introduction of the new term Loyalty 3.0 and the second was the integration of the concept of Big Data as it can be used by what are called gamified systems.  I had not thought of either of these concepts as closely related.  Paharia does an excellent job of linking gamification with theses ideas.  He also introduces the basic concept of gamification itself.  It is not as is often expected, about playing games to solve problems, but is linked to the  " ... spark of adding gamification mechanics to systems we want to enhance .. "

He goes on to carefully describe what each of these mechanics are and how they add to a Loyalty 3.0 engine for interaction with groups of people.  He also dissects different kinds of motivation and how this is key to create engagement and loyalty.   He presents the five basic motivators that can drive this.  The first 91 pages of this book do an excellent and very readable exposition.

So where does Big Data fit in?  It provides the value added element for your stronger,  higher quality, longer lasting engagement with the participant.  It produces value based on the analytics which uses the data gathered.    This results can then be feed back to the user to enhance their motivation to achieve the goals of the system.  The integration of these elements is a clever insight.

The idea is only as good as it works in practice.  We learned that with our own experience. After page 91, in a section called execution, the book provides a number of recent  examples.  Classified as case studies in customer engagement, skills and learning and employee engagement.  Despite my own research in this area, I knew only a few of the examples, so I found this very useful.  Each of the case studies is then related back to each of the building blocks of motivation and gamification mechanics.  Business benefit is directly included.   Pass this book on to management with key sections highlighted.

I particularly like the examples of LevelUp for training customers in Photshop, and Nitro for engaging employees to interact with Salesforce.  These related well with domains we experimented with.  Lots of additional examples.

The final section, on Direction, talks about how to put together gamification projects and form organizations to do this kind of work. Lots of good suggestions that are applicable to any large project, but directly related to motivation and game mechanics.  And the use of resulting data and analyses that result.

An easy read,  non technical, lots of examples, good tips and relevant project management discussion.   Heartily recommended for both management and the analyst be introduced to these concepts.

See also the Loyalty 3.0 site, with more examples..   And on Twitter.
Additonal white papers and video at the Bunchball site.

1 comment:

Prof Byron Sharp said...

Really Franz, I thought it was a dreadful book. Completely ignorant of fundamental buying behaviour (i.e loyalty). Just a collection of superficial case studies for junior marketers looking for inspiration how to waste their companies money on game-like promotions.