It Pays to Know Your Player Types

There are certainly times when broad communications are appropriate. When you’re offering a “FREE LARGE PIZZA WITH ANY PURCHASE!” you know that it’s going to appeal to a large audience.

Most of the time, however, your message isn’t as simple – so you need to target your communications. Most marketers spend a fair amount of time getting to know their audiences so they can craft messages that will resonate. And many companies are going a step further to create detailed buyer personas, which are “personalities” that outline goals, behavior patterns and attitudes for representative groups.

We like to play in different ways

When using game techniques, the same principles apply. It may work to use a broad-brush approach to gamification – such as just giving points to all participants. But it’s much more effective to target your game content because different groups have fun in different ways. Richard Bartle, game creator and academic, developed a player typology in the 1980s. This well-known player classification system includes four player types:

  • Achievers
  • Socializers
  • Explorers
  • Killers

Don’t forget to tailor your tactics

If you’re going to try some gamification, start with the player types. Consider their personalities and the tactics that may work for them.

Player Types: What are their personalities? How do you engage them?
Achievers Like to ACT ON THE WORLD. They set goals and play to win. Offer points or badges for progressing through levels to help them feel they’ve met their goals.
Socializers Like to INTERACT WITH OTHER PLAYERS. They chat, share and empathize with others. Give them the opportunity to socialize, collaborate and discuss.
Explorers Like to INTERACT WITH THE WORLD. They love discovery and learning. Let them give ratings or vote content up or down to share their views about what they’ve learned.
Killers Like to ACT ON OTHER PLAYERS. They like domination and using the tools of the game to win. Offer places to share their reputation as a fierce competitor (leaderboards, rankings) and feel superior.

What kind of player are YOU?

Find out here

If you’re incorporating gamification into your marketing efforts, make the most of your investment and ensure that you’re engaging and motivating the different player types in your audience. Learn more about the best specific strategies in our new Game of Gamification white paper.

Crowdsourcing + Gamification = Impact

There’s a long tradition of drawing upon the wisdom of the crowd to answer questions or solve complex challenges. Crowdsourcing is engaging the collective wisdom of an online or virtual community for a common goal: to gather ideas, stimulate innovation, solve problems or increase efficiency. Think of crowdsourcing as brainstorming on a massive scale.

The Internet has increased the exchange of information and ideas exponentially, making it easy to solicit and gather information from networked masses around the globe. Crowdsourcing is being used everywhere – from Wikipedia to corporate idea jams to product innovation groups. Crowdsourcing is even being used for significant global problems, such as helping health care workers find better ways to fight Ebola.

So, how do you get people to take part in crowdsourcing? In some cases, asking participants to volunteer for the sake of a personal interest or cause they believe in may be sufficient. Sometimes, more motivation may be necessary to yield good results. An obvious solution would be to pay participants – for example, offering a nominal gift card for their time.

If payment is not an option, gamification can be a great driver. Just adding the elements of competition or reward can increase people’s desire to contribute to crowdsourcing initiatives. Here are a few examples of pairing game mechanics and crowdsourcing.

  • Pediatric oncologists were looking for a way to help sick kids keep up with their pain diaries – which is tough when they’re feeling the fatigue of chemotherapy and other treatments. The Pain Squad iPhone app engages kids as “detectives” helping find a cure for cancer by logging their information. New users start out as “rookies” and progress up to “police chief” as they complete activities.
  • Have you ever had a great idea for a Lego set? On Lego IDEAS, your vision may become reality. Users share a project description on the site and gather online support against competitors. 10,000 supporters qualifies your project for official Lego review. Many ideas have gone on to become successful products marketed worldwide. 
  • Syngenta Thoughtseeders reaches out to R&D scientists for coveted partnership opportunities. Signal partnered with Syngenta on this program designed to help encourage collaboration and new ideas from third parties.
  • The Good Growth Plan is another Syngenta initiative addressing the challenge of sustainably feeding the growing global population. Signal helped them hold a contest offering grants for the best idea submissions.
  • Games are not only providing a platform for innovation in R&D – they’re helping to cure diseases! Foldit is an online game that challenges players to fold proteins. In 2011, gamers solved the riddle of an HIV enzyme’s structure (a challenge which had stumped scientists for a decade) in just three weeks – allowing researchers to target drug treatment. The opportunity to compete against other gamers to solve a real-world problem was a big draw.

Hungry for more? Check out our new Game of Gamification white paper to see how different organizations are using game techniques in crowdsourcing initiatives. You’ll also get concrete steps to incorporate gamification into your marketing and communications strategy.

What’s the Score on Gamification?

Have you ever played Candy Crush, Angry Birds, or Words with Friends? Then you know how addictive it is to play social games with friends! We’re hard-wired to enjoy the competition and connection that games can provide. Taking inspiration from social games, many marketers have been exploring gamification – which applies game design principles in non-game settings – as a way to engage customers or employees. Read on for our overview of this popular trend.

A technique with broad appeal

Using marketing games to engage people can increase brand loyalty and profits – and can help messages stand out from the crowd. Internally, it can increase participation in employee programs. Games are incredibly appealing to Generation Y, or those born between 1980 and 2000. This demographic grew up online, is used to being hyper-connected, and happens to love both online games and social media. However, games also resonate with humans of all ages – because who doesn’t like a little fun with their communication?

A closer look at game mechanics

  • Points – A time-tested method for tracking and motivation, exemplified by the familiar hotel and airline loyalty programs using points (or miles) as virtual currency to reward customers for business volume. Recyclebank offers points to users for completing interactive lessons about the importance of recycling.
  • Badges – Merit badges denote a certain level of accomplishment. Many websites, for example, rate users’ activity with badges such as “Rookie,” “Super User,” or “Top Reviewer.”
  • Milestones – Using the power of incremental progress towards a larger goal. Coffee rewards cards that offer a free cup after 10 cups purchased are a perfect everyday example of this technique.
  • Rankings – Some companies use leaderboards or other rankings to add competition to the mix. LinkedIn, for example, recently began ranking its users’ profiles by popularity – pushing people to engage with the site more to increase their standing in the eyes of valued business contacts.
  • Virtual realityNike+ is an app so popular, it inspired an entire product line of accessories. This app lets users record pace, distance, and run routes to train and challenge themselves. Nike+ also offers social features, such as allowing users to instantly share their run stats with Facebook and Twitter networks.
  • Competitions – To gather ideas for its new product line in China, Volkswagen used a crowdsourcing competition. Users submitted ideas into a virtual suggestion box and the top three concepts were presented at leading Chinese auto shows. Payoff? 33 million website hits and countless insights into the preferences of customers.

The secret of success is that these techniques compel people to take action – the goal of any good marketing program. Another killer benefit: games help identify active customers or prospects because you can track sign-ups.

It’s not just for B2C

Gamification isn’t just for consumers. Consider B2B applications such as a competition designed to shorten the sales cycle to kick things up a notch. You can also increase online community engagement by giving rankings to those who share or help others more. Game techniques can also move employees to engage more and share the buzz with coworkers. Imagine giving points to employees who use the company fitness center – or using a prize drawing to spur managers to use a new HRIS system. Any of the mechanics listed above can be used for B2B or employees.

A solid gamification strategy

Unlock the potential of gamification by covering these three bases:

  1. Adhere to this best practice: know your goals and how you’ll measure them before you begin.
  2. Keep the design simple. Users will jump in and be more receptive to games they can catch on to quickly.
  3. Market your game! Don’t launch in a vacuum and hope it becomes a YouTube sensation. Support it with cross-promotion, social media, ads, and posts.

Thank you for reading – you’ve now got a “Signal Superstar” badge! Download our Game of Gamification white paper for more information on adding zing to your marketing and communication strategies.