Sebastian J. Leonardi said in last week’s article, “Gamification is the design process that integrates mechanics of behavior and reward modification. This is by far the most exciting and promising area of system and program design for direct selling”.
Gamification is a very promising field that provides many benefits to companies, retention being among those that are on the top of the list. I wrote about this before but I know I will need to reiterate here: Gamification is “using game elements in a non-game environment”. It is turning fun into functionality. So, looking from this perspective, it is not online game, it is not the game “app” that you have on your smart phone. It is much more serious than that. It is all about business!
In any direct selling operation, retention is an issue. In some of them the problem is mild in nature, but many of the cases it is a big problem. Due to the fact that most of our organization members are part-timers and socializers, probably we will not be able to reach perfection in this field. Still, I believe we can at least make some significant moves in that direction.
What if we add some fun, game-like elements to the whole picture? Can we achieve better results than what we do now? I would say, “Most probably”. For a few very important reasons:
1) Those who do this as a part-time job or to socialize will be much more open to positively react to gamifying. And these people consitute a big majority of direct selling organizations where attrition is the highest.
2) In companies that one after the other try to add game-like mechanics to their processes, a significant time is devoted to the planning phase. Direct selling companies on the other hand, know almost with a 100% confidence what their organizations will react to and what they will not react to.
3) As all direct selling companies aleady sit on a wealth of data, it will very easy to set the targets, and to measure the performances of the program.
Here is a very interesting example of gamification implemented by the London subway. The program takes your travel data and turns it into a game where your trips count in a competition. By using this game, the London subway aims at having people use their services more often and at increasing their travel times. Does it have the power of engaging people? Yes! Of having them stay with you? Again, yes! There is a short video here if you wish to learn more about this.
Another example I will share is from the famous gamification company Badgeville. With this program, Samsung targeted its millions of fans who were already engaging with its products. Their aim was “to show their fans that they appreciated their loyalty and interest” in their own words. What Samsung did was that they built a Samsung Nation where users were recognized for completing activities such as writing reviews, watching videos and participating in forums. Apparently the whole point here was to increase engagement. And those who were engaged would stay more, naturally.
Like I wrote in one of my previous posts, to me, few industries are as well-suited to gamification as direct selling. The trend is there. It is up to the companies to be a part of it or not.