TA Expert Interview Series featuring Yu-kai Chou, author of the Gamification Book Actionable Gamification

TA Expert Interview Series featuring Yu-kai Chou, author of the Gamification Book Actionable Gamification

Yu-kai Chou, gamification pioneer and international keynote speaker at San Francisco CA, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share his insight on gamification. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Clark Buckner, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

Yu-kai joined Buckner to discuss his book, how he ensures his team is on the same page, gamification implementation, and how gamification and B2B technologies connect.

Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation:

TechnologyAdvice: There are some CRM solutions that have an 80 percent failure rate, either because it’s not implemented correctly, or because the goals were never mapped out to begin with. How do you get your team on the same page at the very beginning to get their goals and their strategy in place?

Yu-kai: At the beginning of every gamification campaign, I always let clients to define five things— what I call the strategy dashboard.

The first one is business metrics, which lead to the game objective. What are the metrics you actually want to improve? What’s your most important metrics? What’s your number two? What’s your number three? It’s amazing how, when you change the order of these business metrics the entire experience design completely changes.

That leads to the game objectives. This is why you’re gamifying something. If those numbers go up, it’s successful, if they don’t go up, the campaign’s a failure. And then you want to define who the users are and their player types.

And then the third one is desired actions that lead to win states. Those are all the little steps the user needs to do for you to be successful. And every time they do the desired action, it needs to be a win state.

The fourth one is feedback mechanics that lead to triggers. So feedback mechanics are things people can see, in terms of communicating those core drives; each of these feedback mechanics needs to trigger the desired actions defined earlier.

And finally, its the rewards and incentives. Basically, if users hit the win state, what are the rewards that you can give them. This is a very precise and tight-knit process, but once those things are defined, the whole team is together. There’s clear language about what’s a priority.

And I don’t think I need any more than that. Usually within a few days we can get this flushed out. And then the rest is just designing a great experience.

TA: Gamification implementation with different technologies starts out very simple, and then builds. Once you understand what motivates somebody, you can use that in a way that ensures you’re going to get the desired action. What connections do you see between gamification and B2B technologies like CRM or marketing automation software?

Yu-kai: The core of gamification is delivery experience, where people will take the desired action. And we know every time they take an action is because of the 8 Core Drives.

But you need to be able to send them feedback mechanics to trigger these desired actions. So marketing automation software is very useful in this case because it provides triggers. BJ Fogg says that every behavior is because of motivation, ability, and a trigger.

So marketing automation software makes sure it’s constantly sending users the right triggers at the right time. It’s intelligent, it says, ‘Hey, it’s been two weeks!” or “This just happened!” or if something just appeared in the news, ‘Hey, don’t forget about us.’

And then the content of that email message will be the motivation part. That’s when you think about, am I motivating them to take the next desired action? ‘Hey, look, 80 percent of fortune 500s are using us.’ That, or scarcity or exclusivity— like there’s only three spaces left.

You want to think about what goes into that automated email. But as long as the user can see the email, that’s the trigger, there’s the motivation, and hopefully every email has an action item, a link or something the user can do. That’s when behavior happens.

And you can craft that experience to be fun, engaging, emotional. for instance, is famous for using fun and exciting, and kind of unrandom, unpredictable language to sell really serious things and they make the experience playful. I recommend companies who do that a lot.

How do you add a little bit more of unpredictability to your automated marketing messages? How do you add social influence, how do you add scarcity?

To learn more about Yu-kai Chou visit  His LinkedIn account is Yu-kai Chou while his Twitter account is @Yukaichou.

Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download here to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes. You can also subscribe to just the gamification category.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner.


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