Gamification only works if users are committed to change

Analytical marketers love staring at charts and improving metrics. On top of that, we love to share our results with others. ”Check out this campaign I created in Adwords. It has a 40% conversion rate!” Will I share the couple dozen total failures it took to get there? Probably not. Just like I won’t boast about the bagel I ate this morning, but I will let you know how proud I am for filling up on roasted vegetables and whitefish last night.

A while ago I starting using myfitnesspal. And now I’m hooked. It’s a great app that basically gamifies the tedious task of recording every crumb that enters your mouth and all the grueling steps taken on the elliptical. The marketer in me loves this. Had I read on a fortune cookie six months ago that I would soon be scanning barcodes from the sides of cereal boxes, I would have thought I was about to go through a drastic, unexpected career change.

I did go through a change. It came at a crucial point in which I made the decision to pay closer attention to my health. I became committed to change. And only when I made that commitment did something like myfitnesspal look good to me.

I think the same general principal applies to Gamified CRM. If you are committed to implementing a comprehensive CRM strategy and following through with it, you will love the points, badges, missions, and leaderboards presented in In fact they will become somewhat of an addiction.

However if you are not really intrinsically motivated and you don’t believe in the concept of CRM, then you will find Gamification to be irrelevant and annoying. I think this is why Gamification does such a great job at improving employee performance when it comes to things like practicing stellar data stewardship, managing time, and communication. But an industry-wide effect on user adoption remains to be seen. In other words, Gamification is music that keeps the choir singing. But it may or may not get people into the church from out on the street.

Moral of the story if you are leading a CRM project: Make sure your users seriously understand the benefits of CRM, then let Gamification tools keep them on track.

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