How to Use Gamification as Part of Your Social CRM Strategy - dummies

How to Use Gamification as Part of Your Social CRM Strategy

By Kyle Lacy, Stephanie Diamond, Jon Ferrara

Gamification is a concept that’s grabbing the interest of customers and loyalty program managers alike, especially for Social CRM. It refers to the application of game dynamics to business functions to encourage customer engagement.

According to a Gartner report, “by 2014, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay, or Amazon, and more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.”

People are playing online games with others, buying virtual goods, and looking for the next hot game app in record numbers. Marketers are jumping on the bandwagon hoping that they can encourage loyalty by using this new-found interest in games.

The concept of using games behaviors in loyalty programs isn’t really new. Some variation on the customer winning points has always been part of the process. What’s new is the nature of social gaming. The technology goes far beyond old-style loyalty programs.

The benefit of applying gamification to business apps includes the following:

  • A fully engaged and loyal customer

  • The opportunity to solicit product ideas and feedback

  • The potential for messaging associated with a game to go viral

  • The opportunity to encourage employees to access training that isn’t only fun, but educational

When you think of gamers, you may have some misconceptions about their profile and the value of social games for your business:

  • Misconception: The average gamer is young, male and always online.

    If your customer doesn’t fit this profile, you’ve probably discarded the idea of using games in your CRM, but don’t be misled. According to a study by the Information Services Group in 2011 and several corroborative studies, the average social gamer is a 43-year-old woman. Does this fit into your customer demographic? It’s likely that your customers are interested in games that provide tangible rewards.

  • Misconception: Playing games online has no real value.

    Game designer Jane McGonigal has been pursuing the idea that social game behavior has value and should be used to help solve societal or personal problems. She created a game called SuperBetter to help herself overcome the effects of a head injury, and now people around the world use this game to improve their own health.


From her studies, McGonigal found that when you play games you are

  • Fiercely optimistic

  • More resilient and prone to persevere

  • Likely to build strong bonds with those you play games with

  • More cooperative

  • Prone to feel very productive

Her goal is to marshal this behavior for good causes and to encourage others to do the same. With this in mind, think about the kinds of games you can create for your customers. There really is no limit to the type of business that could benefit from a loyalty game.

One fun example of a loyalty game is Snooth Wine Rack. Snooth is the world’s largest wine site. Its mission is to simplify “how people select, learn about and purchase their favorite wines.” The game lets you select wines and compete to become an expert. As you learn about Snooth’s selection, you can price wines and purchase them from vendors through the Snooth website.


This game is popular because it hits the mark in three important ways: It’s entertaining, educational, and easy to use. Those are three criteria that most good games should have.