Badgeville is holding its first annual behavior management summit, Engage 2012, and it seems even the gamification experts are distancing themselves from the word.

Keynote speaker Sarah Rotman Epps, a senior analyst at Forrester who focuses on consumer tech even went so far as to go back to market research 101. Companies need to know their customers, she said.


Gamification Can Drive Customer Engagement

Whatever you think of the gamification label, it comes down to knowing your customers needs and how they fit the companies' needs, Rotman Epps said. This seemingly simple sounding step can drive customer loyalty, and that is the key to engagement. Samsung and Netflix were two examples Rotman Epps used, and both companies are using incentives and rewards to get their customers to interact more on their websites. 

As for the enterprise, Rotman Epps, like so many of us, picked on Microsoft's SharePoint technology. Often implemented from the top down, workers often don't use many of the available features. This lack of engagement ends up costing the company because they simply end up switching to Salesforce Chatter, for example.

Secret Sauce is Really Back to Basics


Step one of Rotman Epps' secret sauce is knowing the customer needs. Step two is understanding how customer needs help fulfill a company's business strategy. An example Rotman Epps used here was companies like SugarSync using incentives to drive free to paid conversions. SugarSync gives away free storage for customers who share a folder or upload a file by email. 

Forrester customers are always asking where and how they should implement gamification, Rotman Epps said. So you're not alone in wondering exactly how gamification is disrupting your industry. Follow the leaders, she said. 

"Netflix has been so successful because they innovate before technology disruption hits," Rotman Epps said.

Namely, Netflix has been very successful at using its website to drive engagement, and then using that engagement to learn what the customers really want. 

Gamification is about behavior, and getting customers, employees; whoever the target is to engage in a desired behavior. Starting there, things like leader boards and loyalty programs can begin to take shape if they help fulfill those initiatives.