Do You Know How Your Prospects Play the Game?

Gamification  It’s here to stay.  Study after study, and real-world experience after experience, continue to prove that people from all walks of life learn and retain information better when it’s delivered using the elements of game theory.

All right then … now what?  Break out the Yahtzee™ and everyone brings a covered dish?

Even if you’re a believer in the efficacy of gamification, implementing it is quite a challenge.  What style of game should you choose?  What’s the reward?  IS there a reward? How long should it be?  Should it be physical or electronic, and should it pit person against person, or persona against machine?

When considering these questions, it becomes clear that your specific industry, and your specific target audience, have unique needs and personalities, and a gamification strategy that works for one industry will be far less effective in another.

This blog, then, will provide a “next step” on your journey toward identifying the type of game that can help tell your solution story to your specific target audience.

We’ll use the 5 categories of game appeal defined by Gamasutra, a leading game developer.  Each category will include a short profile of the type of person to whom it appeals, as well as a short list of the industries where the game type may find traction.

Game Type: Accomplishment 

Player Profile: Games that involve rewards, both internal (pride, knowledge, etc.) and tangible (physical prizes, monetary, etc.).

Industry: Banking, Surgeons, Doctors, Government, Construction, Business

Game Type: Imagination

Player Profile: Games that appeal to a target audience’s empathy, and predisposition toward pretending and storytelling.

Industry: Education, Nursing, Nutrition, Architecture, Design, Hi-Tech, IT

Game Type: Socialization

Player Profile: Games that appeal to a target audience’s desire for camaraderie and group identification.

Industry: Agriculture, Horticulture, Public Safety, Construction, Nursing, Education. Business

Game Type: Recreation

Player Profile: Games that appeal to target audiences who like to have fun and “get away” to adjust their physical, mental, or emotional state.

Industry: Health & Fitness, Industrial, Manufacturing, Construction

Game Type: Subversion

Player Profile: Games that appeal to target audiences who consider themselves renegades, and who like breaking social or technical rules.

Industry: Hi-Tech (all industries), IT, Design

Clearly, this list is not exhaustive; some industry types are repeated.  The tradeshow classifications are also not finite (e.g. the classifications “Business” or “IT” encompass dozens of subdivisions).  Furthermore, many gamification strategies must and should include multiple types of appeal, e.g. integrating accomplishment, socialization, and imagination in one game activity, etc.

However, this list should give you food for thought and set you on a clearer path toward identifying the type of game that will appeal to your target audience, connect with their personalities, and metaphorically (or literally) communicate your brand promise.

For a deeper dive on the subject, take a look at our white paper, Gamification: Winning the Engagement Challenge at Tradeshows and Events

Happy gaming!