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More Than Just a Game: Gamification in B2B Marketing

More Than Just a Game: Gamification in B2B Marketing

If you stopped somebody on the street and asked them what “gamification” meant, it would be a safe to assume their answer might involve teenage boys playing Xbox in a basement. Odds are, terms such as “marketing” or “customer engagement” would not be in their description.  Despite the lack of public understanding surrounding gamification, over the past few years it has developed into one of the most influential marketing approaches in business.


Rajat Paharia, founder of SaaS provider Bunchball, describes gamification as “the leveraging of techniques that game designers have used for years — goal setting, real-time feedback, transparency, competition, teams, etcetera — to motivate and engage customers and employees.”  In an online culture where people are inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of content every day, gamifying yours can help set it apart from the pack.


I recently came across an excellent instance of gamification while perusing my Facebook newsfeed.  Over the course of a few days, several friends posted about the file-hosting service Dropbox.  Odd, I thought to myself.  A cloud-based file storage service was not the type of content I had come to expect twenty-something’s to post about, but here we were.


Upon further investigation, I found out that DropBox users were rewarded with free extra storage space for every new user they referred.  DropBox has actually applied gamification techniques to its entire introductory process for new users.  With a few simple goal/reward tasks, DropBox was able to get their content in front of people who otherwise may have never thought about online file storage.  For what it’s worth, I’ve yet to see a friend post to Facebook about Google Drive.


Every B2B will not be able to offer free products or services a la Dropbox, but they can still harness these sorts of techniques.  Provide some form of incentive when customers share your content.  Add a competitive nature to your next webinar by having a short quiz at its conclusion; posting “high scores” those attendees will be more likely to relay to their followers than a traditional one-sheet summary.  The social media landscape offers marketers an essentially limitless number of opportunities to gamify your marketing, spread your business’ reach, and further engage both current and potential customers.

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