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Does Gamification Marketing and Learning Really Work?

Gamification is a new buzzword taking the marketing world by storm, but the real questions to ask yourself are, “Will it work for me?” Here we look at what you need to know.

Gamification is a new buzzword taking the marketing world by storm, but the real questions to ask yourself are, “Will it work for me?” Here we look at what you need to know.

Merriam-Webster defines gamification as “The process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Look no further for perfect examples of this than in many modern marketing campaigns as well as the eLearning industry.

Gamification examples in business come in many forms, but one brilliant marketing campaign that comes to mind is the M&M’s Pretzel Campaign by candy maker Mars. To engage consumers and put M&M’s under the spotlight, Mars created a campaign based on the Eye-Spy game logic, which uses a game board with images. After looking at the game board, players were asked questions based on the images they saw. Looking at picture that focused on a pile of M&M’s, people had to find a pretzel in the image. In the process, the campaign gained thousands of Facebook likes, shares and comments.

As for eLearning gamification, McDonald’s had to launch a new Point of Sale (POS) system internally and was looking for a fun an engaging way to do it. So, with the help of City & Guilds Kineo, the McDonald’s Till Training Game was created and provided a remarkable case study for the gamification of learning and instruction. According to Kineo, “… 85 percent of crew members believed the till training game helped them understand the new system and will help with their future performance”

How do gamification tactics work?


But does gamification marketing and gamification learning really work?

Noted content strategist and Entreprenuer contributor Aaron Orendorff once wrote that “ … gamification works through exploiting the natural human love of competition, trivia challenges, status building, sense of pride, and desire for rewards … .”

Basically, Orendorff is saying that, based on an innate thirst for competition, people can be motivated to action based upon a rewards system that can include monetary rewards or even something intangible such as praise.

Games are learned in childhood and then carried into adulthood. And no matter what the prize is, most of the time the main objective is to win. So does this mean that, at an early age, games teach us ways to perform better, as in the case of gamification learning, and be more open to a rewards-based system such as gamification marketing?

To answer this question, it’s necessary to understand how gamification marketing and gamification learning works.


Gamification for business and gamification in learning and development


Simply put, gamification marketing offers two basic benefits: engagement and retainment. Games that stimulate the mind and evoke feelings are more easily remembered and compel people to play them regularly and share them with others. Plus, when done right, gamification marketing can be used to build trust between consumer and brand.

Though similar in function, the gamification of education relies on a naturally fun way of solving problems, but it can also be a form of differentiation when creativity is at its core by providing entertainment value and supporting the ultimate goal of learning or motivation. So, education through games not only involves the rational part of ourselves being involved but also the emotional side. For example, the logic behind games you played years ago tend to help when learning new games.

So, back to the question, “Does gamification marketing and gamification learning really work?”

Theoretically, the answer is “Yes.” At least, it does in certain cases such as the M&M’s example that highlighted a fun an engaging path toward brand awareness. As for gamification learning, the McDonald’s Till Training Game showed creative gaming can provide promising results. And there’s surely thousands of other examples out there that help make the case for gamification marketing and gamification learning.

But the real question that needs to be asked is, “Would gamification marketing or gamification learning work for me?” And the answer depends on your brand’s ultimate goals and ability to deliver a fun and engaging experience.


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