ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Play is not the opposite of work. That is the message to companies hoping to better engage employees, channel partners and customers. In a new white paper from Maritz Motivation Solutions, “The Power of Play: How Gamification Will Drive the Evolution of Channel Loyalty,” Nicki Powers, engagement strategist for Maritz Motivation Solutions; Bill Hennessy, engagement solutions director for Maritz Motivation Solutions; and Barry Kirk, vice president and senior director of digital strategy for Bunchball* explain how gamification, the practice of integrating game mechanics into traditionally non-game experiences, is changing the incentives industry by creating engagement in motivation and loyalty programs before rewards are even earned.
“It works by extracting the things that are fun about games and applying them to the touch points within your network. By leveraging game mechanics, businesses can motivate channel partners to engage and play repeatedly.”
"Neuroscience research has shown that the human brain responds strongly to game elements, such as competition, gaining status, goal achievement and play," said Powers. "People like to acquire possessions, develop new skills and connect in a meaningful way with both people and programs. By applying game mechanics to motivation and loyalty programs, the point-earning experience for participants can be just as engaging as the points-redemption process."
Adding an element of play to channel loyalty programs enhances the end-user experience. Gamification is a powerful tool for fusing play with work to help organizations teach, persuade, motivate and develop meaningful brand relationships with partners.
“Gamification is making it possible to measure and reward every interaction," said Powers. "It works by extracting the things that are fun about games and applying them to the touch points within your network. By leveraging game mechanics, businesses can motivate channel partners to engage and play repeatedly."
Powers and Hennessy offer three tips for channel loyalty program designers looking to reframe their programs and better engage their partners.
1. See program designer as game designer: A game is simply a fun experience with rules and goals. Don’t over think the “game designer” part of this step, but take the time to make your program worth playing.
2. Focus on the player: See your channel partners as human beings and players. This view will change the experience of designing a program. Rather than focusing on rules, designers can focus on what will engage the program members.
3. Master game mechanics: The mechanics let players know how to play the game and keep them coming back. Designers need to understand the myriad game mechanics options, and more importantly, understand the dynamics of bundling different mechanics together and when to add new challenges or throw in a surprise.
"A successful gamification strategy requires a strong focus on program design," said Hennessy. "Game designers have long studied what makes play fun, and their findings are now being quantified in recent neuroscience and behavioral economics studies. So in fact, there is a science to fun."
For more information on gamification, visit http://www.maritzmotivation.com/Gamification.
About Maritz Motivation Solutions
Based in St. Louis, Maritz Motivation Solutions is part of the Maritz family of companies. It offers full-service employee recognition, sales incentive and channel loyalty programs to U.S. and global companies. Maritz Motivation Solutions provides reward strategy and fulfillment for consumer loyalty programs and delivers best-in-class rewards and fulfillment services, including purposefully-chosen merchandise and experiences that excite, motivate and recognize people around the world. The people who work for Maritz Motivation Solutions are dedicated to being the best in the business, fun to work with and their clients’ most valuable ally. For more information, visit www.maritzmotivation.com, subscribe to our blog or call 1-877-4-Maritz (1-877-462-7489).
*Barry Kirk and Bunchball partner with Maritz Motivation Solutions to implement well-designed, cutting-edge gamification strategies for clients.