Applying gamification to your channel

15 June 2015

Working in the tech industry at a loyalty marketing agency means I am continuously exposed to new buzzwords and trends. And one that is building momentum is gamification – applying game tactics to a non-gaming environment to increase activity.  It is easy to overlook it as a fun way to simply jazz up interaction – but once you take the time to look for gamification in everyday life – you will see the power it holds if done right. 

To give this post some context - last weekend I completed a 53 mile bike ride in preparation for the 54 mile London to Brighton in September. Am I a fitness fanatic?  No. Did I enjoy it? Hell no. I hid under a tree at mile 30 crying. So why continue? Turns out I am less motivated by the shiny medal waiting at the end (at that point I would have happily melted my bike at the road side to make my own “quitter” medal)  and was more  shamed/motivated by the following:    

  • my 20 mile shortfall in mileage being automatically posted on social media by my cycling app    
  • not appearing on the 50 miler leaderboard      
  • the shame of being picked up by the cheater “helping hand” truck. 

Now, I am not a “sporty” person and I am doing these rides for charity – so it will take a lot to change the behaviour of this self-confessed sofa slob. But when I checked out my stats and saw that I was awarded a “sprint” badge in recognition of achieving the longest distance since downloading the App, had burned 2809 calories, completed more mileage overall than some of my friends and made it on to the (bottom of the) leaderboard – even I can admit it lit a fire in me to get back out and do it again (62 mile Jurassic Classic in Devon FYI…). 

I took some time to look around the App and found many elements that can be applied to channel:

Performance dashboards  
Do your channel partners know their past performance, how they are performing now and what they can achieve? Are you mapping out a route to success and giving them different routes to achieve it? Have you targeted the journey for their ability level? Giving your partners a clear path with multiple routes based on their skill set will give your partners a choice in how they determine their success. Rewarding them for incremental improvements will kick start a cycle of positive change.

Goals and Challenges 
Do you partners know what is expected of them? Are they committed? Are you asking them to do what they have always done? Setting goals and challenges and giving your partners the ability to participate and set their own goals, will make your partners accountable for their performance. Rewarding only when a threshold is achieved will reinforce the required achievement.

It’s no surprise that channel sales reps are competitive. Are you giving them the opportunity to compete? Within their own organisation? Against other partners? Against other countries? globally? Consider creating leaderboards so partners can benchmark their performance and raise/defend their game. These tie in to performance dashboards providing the ability for a rep to compete against themselves and their previous performance.

Are you giving partners everything they need to elevate their game? Their performance is based on their knowledge “nutrition” – are you feeding them the right information and tools required to incrementally improve? Are you motivating them to use this information with a combination of intrinsic (gamified elements) and extrinsic (incentives) rewards?

Have you created a collaboration environment for your partners? Do they have the ability to cheer on their peers and congratulate them when they succeed? Recognition doesn’t have to cost anything. Peer to peer recognition is often more meaningful and valued than a recognition from a manager or vendor.

Nothing beats the satisfaction of achieving targets, but winning awards can make it more fun. Creating opportunities for partners to earn a digital high-five for making progress towards their goals will keep them on track. These can be applied for all of the items mentioned.