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Gamification:  It is EVERYWHERE, but does it work?

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Two years ago I had to learn what gamification meant.  It is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context to better engage users and employees to solve problems. In short, playing games helps us to connect to brands, learn, and earn rewards and/or status.  In thinking about this, I wondered how my life has been “gamified”…and boy has it!


In the past month I have:

  • Used a point tracking system for health education, wellness and physical activity to earn discounts on insurance and points towards the purchase of active lifestyle products
  • Taken an education course on bicycle products to earn discounts on goods
  • Set-up and participated in training classes at work to earn education credits that translate into rewards

Even my son has been “gamified” by:

  • Gaining status on education websites to open new levels of training and access to games
  • Earning points at the orthodontist for nothing being loose or broken, wearing orthodontic shirts to appointments, having notes from his dentist confirming no cavities, and more (SMART DR.)

My son’s orthodontist revealed to me that it isn’t a complex system requiring websites, analytics, and vast marketing budgets.  It’s simply putting together a fun and engaging system that rewards behavior you want to elicit from a customer.


Modify the behavior of your target audience by establishing goals that will earn them merit towards something they are interested in.  Seems simple, right?  Seeking tactics that will motivate customers to engage in these activities can be quite challenging.  However, answering these questions will help:

  • What is your strategic vision?
  • What are your goals and objectives within that vision?
  • What metrics will you put in place to measure performance?
  • What behaviors lead to change in those measures?
  • What will modify that behavior?

Many companies get stuck on the last three.  That is where you may need the help of a strategist that has an analytic background.  Good luck, and I look forward to being further gamified!

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