Gamification, decoded

Originally published in Exhibition World.

Gamification is simply the application of typical elements of game play, says Grant Morgan, senior marketing manager at Poken by GES. Here are his top tips.


1. Don’t distract, keep it simple

Can you handle it? Can participants understand it? Remember to keep things simple, both for your attendees, and for yourself. If you need a book to explain the rules, no one will want to play. Simple. It’s important to provide user-friendly tools that make it easy to draw value from the services you provide


2. Technology is not a game 

I know this sounds strange coming from someone with a tech background, (and I feel a little dirty writing it), but technology is not a game. Rather, technology is the facilitator and catalyst of the game. It is the mode of delivery. I know this sounds obvious, but you would be surprised by the amount of people who purchase a piece of hardware or software, believing that they have purchased ‘a game’.


3. Metrics, metrics, metrics

Gamifi cation is only as successful as the data it gathers. But, beyond the post event ROI report, also consider that interaction is infectious, and that promoting the success of the game throughout the event is a great way to further encourage people to get involved. Let’s not be put off by rules and let’s get back to using gamification as a way to drive behaviours and achieve our objectives. 


4. Get your objectives in line, and make them realistic

Ask yourself what determines success from the customer’s point of view? Often this means expanding a professional network, and expanding ones education. Sometimes, it could just mean building loyalty, awareness, or team bonding. Before thinking about the rules, or the cool tech, understanding objectives will provide a solid foundation.


5. Enhance natural behaviour - we’re only human!

Are you asking too much of your participants? I was once asked to deploy a complex game with the aim of driving networking at a 3 hour award ceremony. The objective was clear: encourage networking. However, this level of socialising was not natural for attendees, who were just as happy enjoying a beer and chatting.


6. Leave no-one out

Ever tried to play a game of football with half of the team sitting on the ground, picking at the grass? For gamification to be successful, everyone should be able to participate and more importantly; want to. If you are using a mobile app to drive the game - make sure everyone can easily install and use it, can access Wi-Fi, and is mobile literate. With any group of people, there are those who will adopt quickly, and inspire others. The key is to remove any barriers that enable the critical mass to be involved.

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