We've noticed quite a few people talking about "gamification" recently - some of it (perhaps wilfully) reductive, some of it a little too inclusive (are road signs _really _"gamification at its finest", Mashable?). But the common thread seems to be an agreement that an interactive layer of incentives, goals and rewards is the hot new thing in social marketing. And, if your company's not playing its customers off against each other to ratchet up the buzz, you'll be going out of business quicker than you can pass go (without collecting £200).
No wonder a recent report by Gartner said that by 2014, "a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon," adding that "more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application."
We're on the "damn straight" side of the fence here at buyapowa - but we believe that bolting on a gaming element is at best redundant, often patronising and, at times, disastrous. That's why our products feature carefully woven gaming elements throughout the user experience cycle.
To take our Price-Drop Co-buy model as an example, the gaming begins right at the start - when users request products then compete to make their dream Co-buys happen. The gamification continues once the Price-drop goes live, as users group together and share the deal to access unique pricing. And gamification provides a satisfying ending to every Price-drop, with a winner being declared (and rewarded) for having shared the most.
Having run thousands of Co-buys like this, we jabbed our scientists in the arm and asked them to prove that gamification works*. They hit us with one, knockout stat which absolutely proved what we suspected: just over 50% of all co-buyers are referred in by other Co-buyers. That's true gamification in action, and it's why it matters.
* We'll stop bullying them the moment they stop lining up so many pens in their shirt pockets.