The concept of using game mechanics to achieve desired outcomes may not be new, but to many brands, the use of gamification across the enterprise to drive business value is gaining speed. In our latest research, Altimeter has found that gamification is quickly evolving to become an important component in many organizations’ internal and external strategic plans for growth. Fifty-five percent of digital strategists surveyed are already investing in gamification, or are planning to invest in the next 12 months(1). In this post, we present a myriad of ways that game mechanics can solve problems (and, increase the bottom line) across the enterprise.
First, let’s discuss what gamification means. At Altimeter, we classify a program as gamification if it contains:
With these ingredients in mind, Altimeter Group began its research on various use cases for gamification across the enterprise. We specifically vetted and reviewed instances where gamification was used to create business value, both externally and internally, often as part of a larger marketing, digital, or social media program. According to M2Research, as of 2012, nearly half (47%) of brands implement gamification programs focused on user engagement, while another 22% focus on brand loyalty and 15% on brand awareness. Our findings span beyond these well-known use cases for gamification, as shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 below.
Fig. 1. How EXTERNAL Gamification is used to Create Value
|Gamification Use Case||Value to the Brand||Example(s)|
|Crowdsource Innovation||Gamification is used to solve problems internally, gaining perspective from consumers and other external communities. Greater efficiency often leads to lower innovation and problem-solving costs.||DARPA
Univ. of Washington
|Encourage Engagement and Behaviors||Increased customer participation with brands throughout the purchase cycle (including extension into adjacent products and services) can lead to increased intent and sales. Gamification is also used to increase event participation, guiding attendees to desired conversions.||Box
|Supplement Loyalty/Advocacy Programs||Combined with loyalty programs, gamification can provide recognition, rewards, increase repeat behavior, and lengthen customer engagement and retention.||Caesers Casino|
|Expedite Customer Service||Gamification programs can help employees meet customer service quotas, close incidents faster, encourage teamwork, and increase positive feedback scores received from customers. When combined with CRM data, further incentives can be created.||EngineYard
|Engage Brand Influencers and Advocates||Encourage advocate/influencers (and, passionate customers) to share branded content (online and offline), leading to increased page views, social and content interactions, and other social or onsite behaviors. Many gamification tactics also involve leaderboards that allow brands to identify their more influential customers within communities. This may lead to new customer acquisition via referrals.||Bravo Network
|Increase Physical Traffic via Mobile||Combining gamification with mobile apps can increase foot traffic to physical store locations or certain departments within stores. It’s great for new location openings, depleting overstock inventory, and guiding customers through the purchase cycle.||Best Buy + Shopkick|
|Gather Actionable Data||Gather opt-in customer data when they engage with gamification programs via a gamification platform like Bunchball or Badgeville. Doing so allows brands to paint a more detailed insights picture of their customers’ behaviors than would be possible without gamification.||Caesers Casino
GMI + Engage Research
Created with the HTML Table Generator
Fig. 2. How INTERNAL Gamification is Used to Create Value
|Gamification Use Case||Value to the Brand||Examples(s)|
|Streamline Processes and Drive Innovation||Make processes more efficient, solve problems internally, and get perspective from different groups within the organization. Efficiency is often increased when adding gamification to internal innovation processes.||IBM Innov8
|Recruit and Hire New Employees||Using online and mobile games developed in line with brand attitudes, values, and goals, companies can recruit quality candidates based on game involvement, excellence, skill, and achievement.||Quixey
|Educate and Train Employees||Familiarize employees with new processes or products using gamification for education and training. Game mechanics engage employees in learning and encourage exemplary training performance. It can also be used for change management in light of new processes or tech.||Ford
|Provide Continuous Feedback and Employee Development||Gamification – especially badging – can be used encourage employees to provide informal and frequent feedback to each other, via enterprise social network features like “Praise” and “Thanks”. It becomes a way to give continual feedback between reviews and adds data merit to promotions.||Work.com|
|Increase Employee Communication and Collaboration||Using gamification in combination with an enterprise social network (ESN) can increase internal information sharing, as well as employee communication within and across departments. This can help drive cross-team collaboration.||Blue Wolf|
|Motivate Employees||Gamification can be used as a way to motivate employees to achieve specific goals. It can also inspire friendly (collaborative) competition and be a forum for public recognition. It’s useful in encouraging employees to learn new skills and manage their careers.||Accenture|
Created with the HTML Table Generator
Now, let’s look at two detailed case studies of gamification in action.
SAP Evolves Community Network Game Mechanics to Boost Member Activity, Engagement, and Value
Since the launch of its external community in 2003, enterprise software company SAP has been utilizing game mechanics to increase engagement and drive positive behaviors in its online community of customers, partners, independent consultants and employees—the SAP Community Network (SCN). SAP has continuously reviewed and revamped its gamification efforts over the past 10 years in order to provide the most valuable reward and recognition to its top contributors. This has driven increases in time on site, repeat visits, and customer advocacy.
Today, SAP works with Jive and Bunchball, using points, badges, and leveling up mechanisms to encourage participation and identify top contributors and topic-area influencers. Its hundreds of thousands of contributors reach new levels and statuses within the community when they share knowledge and experience in discussion forums, documents, and via blog posts. SAP develops closer relationships with the most active experts, who are identified within a selection of SCN’s 400 topic categories, often guiding them to become mentors for other members and moderators, partnering on blog content, or used as advisors on SAP products and systems.
SCN “missions,” are goal-oriented tasks that are designed to encourage positive behaviors in the community as well as increase participation and thoughtful responses. They are catered specifically to the needs, interests, and motivations of those who are well established in the community as thought leaders and experts. SAP measures the success of its community by month/month changes in contributions, quality of contributions, visits, time spent on site, and community feedback to contributions. They are also beginning to tie these metrics back to sales of SAP products. Since the launch of its improved game mechanics in 2013, the company has seen astronomical results: Activity generating point assignment increased by 188% and SAP observed a 250% increase in engagement around content (comments, likes, ratings).(2)
Marriott Involves Cross-Departmental Employees, Executives in Creation of Engaging
Marriott’s first gamification effort, My Marriott Hotel was created with two purposes in mind: 1) to attract potential employees to Marriott, and 2) to attract new consumers to its hotels. Born on Facebook’s API, the game quickly spread to 130 countries—a great success, as Marriott properties span 75 countries worldwide. My Marriott Hotel allows players to assume various hotel roles, develop a basic understanding of what the work entails, and lessen the barriers to apply for a job. The simplicity of My Marriott Hotel led to more than 25,000 players joining in the first week.
What’s more impressive though is how My Marriott Hotel (and, Marriott’s most recent creation – Xplor) came to be. Marriott’s Global HR Officer David Rodriguez and the company’s CMO sponsored a group of associates who were champions for My Marriott Hotel in its infancy, helping them consistently refine the idea until it was ready for presentation to Marriott’s CEO. Much like My Marriott Hotel, Xplor—a game focused on the hospitality industry and the thrill of sightseeing—was also a grassroots project, brought to life by employees from different levels and departments throughout the company.
Today, multiple departments at Marriott are responsible for gamification, with more governance brought to efforts over the years as its external gaming applications have increased in popularity. HR, Communications, and Social Media all had a hand in Xplor’s project launch, working together to create more engaging games than one department could do on their own. Future plans include leveraging gamification to drive customer engagement, as well as for training and employee performance management purposes internally. These plans include using gamification to accelerate learning as well as encourage team-based learning.(3)
Recommendations for Enterprise Use of Gamification
Altimeter found many similarities among companies that employ successful gamification programs. Regardless of whether you are in the planning phase or seeking to evolve your current gamification program, consider the following recommendations:
Identify: Discover what incentives work (and, what doesn’t) with your customers.
Customer needs, pain points, and preferences should drive objectives and gameplay of any gamification program. Start with looking into where your target audience spends time online to discover what types of game mechanics are best at driving action and engagement. For example, say your target is 18- to 34-year-old males who are PC gamers. You may start by looking into popular communities where this demographic thrives, such as Reddit, Imgur, and StumbleUpon. Look at what type of game mechanics are used on those platforms, what seems to drive voting and commenting, and who is most influential. Use this information to guide your brand’s gamification development in a way that speaks to this audience’s engagement preferences. From there, listen to what customers are saying to discover whom your brand advocates are. Include them in pilot efforts to better understand how a gamification program may add value to their brand experience.
Rebrand: “Gamification” by any other name sounds … well, sweeter.
The term “gamification” can strike a sour chord amongst peers who question its merits in delivering business value beyond frivolous fun. Cut skepticism off at the pass by rebranding the term internally. Address these sensitivities by using phrases like “game mechanics” and “social dynamics” when sharing use cases surrounding gamification’s business value. If peers take gamification more seriously, you’ll be more likely to secure cross-departmental and executive support.
Research: Know what questions to ask when vetting out vendor solutions.
One of the key pieces of SAP’s gamification development was the company's focus on finding the perfect vendor to fit its unique needs of transitioning members from a legacy system while still maintaining points and status levels. Below are some of the issues that your technology partner should be able to help you address as you develop your program.
Whether looking to solve problems internally or externally, gamification offers many real solutions when implemented as part of an integrated Social Business or Mobile Strategy. We’d like to hear about your experiences with gamification – and especially if you’ve been able to connect it to business impact.
(1) Altimeter Group Survey of Digital Strategists, Q2-3 2013 (n=103).
(2) Interview with Laure Cetin, Community Reputation Manager and Enterprise Gamification Consultant for SAP.
(3) Interview with David Rodriguez, Global HR Officer for Marriott.
Altimeter’s resident Internet of Things expert Jessica Groopman talks with UnboundID’s Emeka Obianwu.
Altimeter’s latest consumer survey focuses on privacy in the new age of connected devices.
Why leaders are so hesitant to engage digitally, and what they can do to overcome that fear.
Salesforce is fielding inquiries from potential buyers, one of whom may be its biggest competitor, Oracle.
If customer experience is based upon data, the first step is earning their trust.
How to start crafting optimal customer experiences in the Internet of Things.
The three key benefits sensors can offer retailers for using IoT to drive loyalty.
The implications of Twitter turning off the tap for one of its biggest data partners.
At its annual conference, Marketo launches real-time, automated messaging capabilities for mobile apps, along with new advertising and IoT tools.
Why the competition between the big marketing cloud vendors shouldn’t be the focus of their clients.
In this 1-hour webinar, industry analysts Susan Etlinger and Rebecca Lieb share their latest research on Content Marketing Performance.
Does Facebook’s restriction on its huge data sets serve the public interest?
Oracle announces long-awaited web, data, and commerce integrations for its Marketing Cloud, highlighting its big ambitions for a unified offering of all its enterprise platforms.
The impact of IBM’s partnership with the Weather Company and its mammoth investment in IoT.
A look at the growth of Beacon devices and their impact on consumers.
Facebook is emerging as an even bigger threat to YouTube by announcing some attractive new features for its video platform.
Five definitive use cases illustrating how companies can use sensors to enhance customer experience.
A look at the digital ethics and privacy conversations from this year’s SXSW conference.
How leaders can make the most of the biggest digitally-focused event of the year.
Why won’t Apple focus on the actual use cases for Apple Watch instead of how it looks?
I recently partnered with Genesys to explore the state and future of customer experience (CX).
Sprinklr is taking on the marketing cloud bigwigs with the release of its Content Lifecycle Management platform.
The reasons you need to attend Internet of Things World.
We match up Hillary Clinton’s actions against our social business governance framework.
The CEO of Altimeter Group has a new book out which contains essential guidelines for how leaders can engage employees and customers on digital channels.
What leaders need to do to earn the trust of their employees and consumers in the digital age.
A new law banning the collection of personal information in South Africa could influence legislation in other countries as well.
What social media teams need to do to get tweets showing up in Google search results.
How companies can use the Internet of Things to create experiences that benefit both the brand and its customers.
Customer experience is meant to be evocative, not reactive, and the current state of call centers isn’t helping.
A list of essential do’s and don’t for vendors and their PR teams.
The implications of the Internet of Things is so much more than the immediate value of a shiny gadget that connects to the Internet.
A new startup called Locket is revolutionizing the way we use our mobile lock screens by turning it into a content and messaging playground.
DonorsChoose shows how simple targeted emails can produce great engagement across all digital channels.
A new book by Charlene Li tells today’s leaders how to start engaging their employees on the same digital channels as their customers.
NYT- and WSJ-bestselling author Charlene Li guides business leaders deeper than ever before into the uncomfortable and ever-changing terrain of the digital era.
Here’s the first, crucial step every organization needs to take before formulating its content strategy.
This year’s results have troubling implications for the technology industry.
The Internet of Things is the next big channel of engagement for brands, yet most of them still find it difficult to get on board.
The digital trends and practices that require the most attention from business executives this year.
We answer all the questions we couldn’t get to during our webinar on the mobile-only customer experience.
In this one-hour webinar, Susan Etlinger shares a framework on how to 1) extract insight from data and 2) in a way that engenders trust.
A look at the future of advertising in a world where the channels to view them are rapidly changing.
In this 1-hour webinar, join Jaimy Szymanski and Brian Solis for a discussion on how organizations can approach mobile design strategy through the lens of an evolving connected customer.
If you’re making the trek to Austin in March, we hope you’ll catch up with the Altimeter crew.
A look at what we give up and gain when we allow our lives to be turned into sources for data.
How content marketers can take advantage of the new partnership that allows tweets to show up in Google search results.
Successful IoT strategies the consumer product world can learn from B2B enteprises.
Sprinklr will be looking to its new COO to convince enterprise leadership of social media’s importance across the entire organization.
Brands aren’t the only ones who must adapt to a mobile-first audience.
Takeaways from all the advertising we saw on Super Bowl Sunday.
Here are five data questions about the Super Bowl that we’d like the answer to.
With a slew of new features, Facebook could be taking up more space in the video marketing mix.
This month, we welcomed Omar Akhtar as our Managing Editor, a role that we created to shepherd exciting new initiatives at Altimeter.
Microsoft’s cool new gadget could be a powerful tool in the hands of a business.
The inevitability of a mobile-only customer experience will have a big impact on how brands create and deliver content.
Why it’s not enough to simple be present on every digital channel
This week, the Altimeter team quietly moved from San Mateo to our new location in downtown San Francisco. We’re excited today to make the announcement official!
Highlights of what the Big Boulder Initiative accomplished in 2014, and its plans for the new year.
The essential steps you need to take to start building your customers’ mobile experiences.
A look at the best new startups to graduate from Alchemist Accelerator, an accelerator for enterprise collaboration tools.
Things you need to know before you consider spending on Snapchat.
CES 2015 showed that companies are building too many devices, and not focusing enough on the the value they can provide through connectivity.
Before you hire an outside agency to help your content marketing efforts, here are a few key questions you need to ask yourself.
Consumers will soon demand mobile-only experiences from the brands that engage them. Our report identifies the steps companies can take to start thriving in this new reality.
This document is just a first step toward setting context for the many disruptions of ubiquitous and complex data, but it includes preliminary frameworks to help us examine these issues in more detail.
Charlene Li and Jon Cifuentes share research on how leading organizations use social and digital technologies to create holistic employee engagement strategies that drive business impact and cultural change.
We evaluated the US Congress according to our social governance framework, and the results weren’t great.
The increasing number of collaboration tools is overwhelming employees. Here’s why companies need to simplify.
What you need to know about Facebook’s newly launched workplace collaboration tool, and the impact it could have in a highly competitive space.
These last few years have been an interesting ride. As fun as it has been, it is the next few years that will be the most telling and also transformative if all goes according to plan.
There is an elephant in the room when it comes to the Internet of Things. There is a critical element inherent to just about any IoT application that hardly ever sees the light of day in industry coverage of the topic.
Predictions? Humbug. Never done ‘em, never will. As a research analyst, predictions are antithetical to my methodology, which is research followed by analysis.
In my last post, I discussed some themes for 2015, one of which was an imperative for us as an industry to get serious about digital ethics.
In a late 2013 study, Gallup found that only 13% of workers actually feel engaged at their jobs. What’s worse is that 63% of the workforce is not engaged at all.
What will 2015 bring marketers? Rather than look into a crystal ball, we have only to look at the present.
When I published the first in a new series of reports exploring the state and future of Digital Transformation, it was almost the antithesis of a typical technology report.
I’m not generally a fan of annual predictions; they always remind me of a carnival in which you’re encouraged to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”; you almost never win the giant teddy bear.
Content marketing is hot, but it is not solely created by, inspired by, or used by marketing.
The story of the blind men and the elephant originated centuries ago in the Indian subcontinent. In the well-known parable, each man has limited context and therefore believes the elephant to be something different. One feels the trunk and thinks it’s a fountain. One touches the ear and thinks it’s a fan. Others think it’s […]
Employees are disengaged at work, and organizations have been exploring how social and digital technologies can address this problem.
For most of digital marketing’s relatively short history, personalization has been the ne plus ultra of sophisticated marketing.
Content. It’s not just for the marketing department anymore. These last few months I’ve been researching how organizations are forming, and benefitting from, what my co-author Jessica Groopman and I are terming a “Culture of Content.”
In this 1-hour webinar, Ed Terpening and Charlene Li share research on how successful organizations scale social business strategy and manage social media risk through a formalized governance system.
Companies recognize one of the big opportunities related to the proliferation of consumer channels and devices is to gain deep insights about their customers. Join Janrain and me this Wednesday for a conversation about the opportunities and challenges related to customer data and identity
In our latest research report, “A Culture of Content,” my colleague and co-author Rebecca Lieb and I present a framework for how organizations of any size can establish, evangelize, and foster a culture of content.
We can all pretty much universally agree that with native advertising comes the obligation of disclosure and transparency.
In our research and client work at Altimeter, one of the most misunderstood issues we see is social business governance.
When Facebook announced last week that it will soon become more difficult for brands’ page posts to appear in the news feeds of their friends, fans, and followers, the outcry was predictable.
Facebook is working on a new offering called Facebook at Work, according to the Financial Times.
Charlene Li and I are pleased to offer you Altimeter’s latest research report focused on Social Business Governance.
Every day, there’s seemingly yet another disruptive trend that emerges out of nowhere which affects consumer behavior and the future of everything along with it.
What goes into creating and fostering an organizational culture of content? As an analyst that’s the topic I’m currently researching.
What goes into the marketing process today, and what technology is required? Will a “Marketing Cloud” help coordinate efforts and drive efficiency? What are the alternatives?
We’re in the final stages of a new research report that is looking at the hot space of social selling, exploring how this nascent but quickly evolving approach to the sales process is being used by both sales and marketing teams with both trepidation and success.
According to Wikipedia, “marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product to customers, for the purpose of selling that product (goods or services.)” But that is what marketing used to be
Social selling has become a hot topic. Organizations in every industry are working feverishly to leverage social platforms and social networks for a number of reasons
As we didn’t have time to answer all viewer questions after the 2014 State of Digital Transformation webinar, we’ve included our responses to the top inquiries here.
In a moving talk, she explains why, as we receive more and more data, we need to deepen our critical thinking skills.
Marketers are struggling with a customer journey that has become more complex than ever. The journey is difficult to track across channels and devices. The infographic below illustrates the modern marketing cycle…
I crossed an item off my bucket list when I gave a TED Talk at TED@IBM on Sept. 23rd. The event was part of the new TED Institute, which partners with companies to create TED-curated events.
Altimeter and Capgemini Consulting to Collaborate on Thought Leadership, Research, and Global Consulting
For our latest report, Altimeter Group partnered with LinkedIn to study the importance of relationship building among the most socially engaged companies on LinkedIn. We found that, by using social technologies to improve relationships, businesses witness incredible results.
We’re excited to announce today that we’ve formed a strategic alliance with 7Summits — a social business agency specialized in creating online community experiences.
Now more than ever, content must be recombinant. This means a critical component of content strategy is the ability to rapidly dissemble, reassemble, reuse, repurpose, and remodel discrete elements of digital content.
This week, Facebook re-launched Atlas, the ad platform it bought from Microsoft last year.
Content Marketing: How do we do it globally?
Altimeter’s recent research for its report, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, uncovered that investing in new digital technologies (social, mobile, big data, cloud, etc.) doesn’t always equate to uniting those efforts around a common vision supported by an updated, integrated infrastructure.
Yesterday, Oracle’s new CTO Larry Ellison kicked off OpenWorld. He focused significantly on the cloud. How are the two themes related?
Ten years ago today, I wrote my first blog post, entitled “Blogging as a State of Mind.”
Altimeter Group is planning to publish a research report this fall on how businesses are enabling sales organizations with social media tools. We will be discussing the markers for social selling transformation, best practices on training and governance, and a snapshot into the suite of tools available as marketing and sales organizations are pushed to […]
As part of our open research process, I would like to extend an invite for your input, feedback, case examples, or any other insights you’d like to contribute to our upcoming research around the Internet of Things.
Today, we’re happy to officially announce the launch of our new site, designed by digital marketing firm Bluetext.
A genuine culture of content goes far beyond enabling and empowering content creators outside of marketing.
In this one-hour webinar, Brian Solis shares research on how businesses explore digital transformation, including results from a 2014 survey of leading digital strategists.
We’re pleased to announce that Susan Etlinger, Brian Solis and Rebecca Lieb are each speaking at this year’s event.
While most of the tech and business press focused on the functionality of the Apple Watch (digital crown, battery life, taptic engine, yadda yadda…) discreetly milling around the event were the fashion press, invited by Apple’s new fashion and design team.
In this 45-minute webinar, analyst Rebecca Lieb shares best practices for your content marketing software selection process.
Digital Darwinism is a fate that threatens most organizations in almost every industry. Because of this, businesses not only have to compete for today but also for the unforeseeable future.
Our research found that the content marketing space is rife with challenges, both internal to the organization and externally across the ecosystem. The following infographic helps visualize this struggle.
How should content be measured and analyzed? Let us count the ways (or at least begin to).
How should content be measured and analyzed? Let us count the ways (or at least begin to).
I follow the Maker Movement as a consumer, analyst and also as a maker. What is the maker movement?
Businesses today are met with unique challenges and opportunities that necessitate pause. For years, management models were developed to optimize the pursuit of business objectives.
How much does content marketing cost? Tough question, right? So let’s break the question down a bit to try to simplify it.
We recognize that existing RFP templates cannot be retrofitted to the task of soliciting content marketing solutions due to a number of specific challenges.
Pervasive technology fundamentally changes how people communicate, discover and connect. With smartphones and tablets serving as digital appendages, we focus on small screens throughout our day, every day and in all we do.