Your knowledge has incredible power and value. You know that transferring it verbally is inefficient and ineffective. But we are bombarded with record amounts of content in virtually every conceivable form, from all corners of the globe. With a cornucopia of competitors vying for limited attention, you have to cut through the noise to attract and retain your audiences for long-term, productive engagement — be they your staff, your prospects and customers, or other industry players.

But, how? How can your knowledge service stand out amidst the clutter?

With a cutting-edge solution that can easily be adapted to suit your unique business goals. It’s called gamification, and combined with the principles of knowledge management, it’s changing the way we connect with our prospects, clients, and employees.

Even if you can’t implement a full gamification strategy in your business today, we’ll show you why it’s time to adopt a gamified mindset.

First, What is Gamification?

Gamification is the growing trend to use the fun and engaging elements found in games and apply them to other activities, like work. Leading gamification expert Gabe Zichermann defines gamification and explains how it’s evolving rapidly: “Gamification, which is the use of game-thinking and game mechanics to engage audiences and solve problems, started off as a tactical approach to solving engagement crises in our organizations. Increasingly, smart companies are using gamification as a strategy, transforming the way they interact with both their consumers and their employees, from bottom to top and top to bottom.”

A Quick Look at Mint: Making Personal Finance Fun for Their Clients

Let’s look at Mint, the web-based personal finance management service. They know that managing one’s finances is usually incredibly boring, incredibly painful, or both.

So they’ve simplified personal finance with gamification. Users can break down their spending habits, work on a budget, and outline a financial plan with easy-to-understand visuals, goal trackers, and other interactive elements. And it’s working; the company has grown from 1.5 million to 10 million users in just a few short years.

This is the crux of gamification: applying game elements – fun, goals, points, etc. – to non-game (and often complex and mundane) tasks to increase participation, engagement, and learning. It’s the best way to ensure your knowledge service — and the education you wish to impart — resonates with your audience and helps them retain learnings.

Gamifying Your Knowledge Service: Hitting the Gamification Trifecta

The principles of gamification align neatly with those of knowledge in motion. Gamification supports knowledge transfer in three ways: it makes your content service more engaging, encourages longer relationships with users, and provides insight-laden data from which you can learn.

Here’s an in-depth look:

    1. Increase Engagement With a Better Knowledge Transfer Service

    Knowledge in motion is about creating a purposeful knowledge transfer service, to boost engagement and conversion; educate your stakeholders and they’re more likely to complete the actions you want them to (e.g. buy, sign up, adopt a new process, etc.). Gamifying your content service takes it to the next level.

    Think of it this way: If you understand that your knowledge has value, you understand how crucial it is that your knowledge (in the form of content) resonates with your audience. Is lecturing from a podium an engaging educational experience? Usually not. Effective educators use Q&A, quizzes, fun assignments, interesting projects, group work, and other techniques to capture their students’ attention. So should you.

    Gamification allows you to do that online so that your audience is excited and interested about learning from you. Here are just some of the functions of a gamified website:

    Users can…

    • Complete quizzes and surveys
    • Ask and answer questions on forums
    • Earn points
    • Participate in votes or polls
    • Unlock achievements, exclusive content and other hidden rewards
    • Maintain a user profile or create a unique avatar
    • Work toward higher ranks or badges
    • Track real-world activities on the website
    • Compete with other users, see their scores on a leaderboard
    • Share their scores on social media

    These functions enable users to interact with you and their peers in a more meaningful way than simply reading words on a screen. When you reward users — in gamification, these are referred to as progress mechanics — for consuming your content, you boost engagement and encourage them to convert.

    2. Sustain That Engagement – For Bigger, Better Results.

    We know that a knowledge service works best when you create a complete curriculum with no gaps. But when you have that much content, how do you get people to go the distance with you? Because gamified content is fun, your audiences can sustain a longer journey with your brand – and you can keep tabs on them along the way by tracking individual users or groups, popular content, web traffic, and other metrics.

    Research shows that users dislike open-ended engagements with no sense of time commitments or requirements. They want parameters; they want to know where they’re going, and to see their progress toward that goal. Gamification gives users the milestones they crave in the form of points, badges, and other rewards, motivating them to stay with you for the long haul. You can even create a “scaffolded” curriculum that becomes progressively more difficult as your “pupil” learns more, ensuring they don’t get discouraged too early, or bored later on.

    Think of it this way: You wouldn’t go on a road-trip without some sort of destination in mind. And you wouldn’t be able to drive for 15 hours without breaks for food and washrooms. Online users are no different: they want short-term rewards as they work toward something greater in the long-term. Gamification sustains them with micro-rewards and a healthy dose of friendly competition so that they don’t lose interest.

    3. Learn More About Your Audiences Than Ever Before.

    With a strong analytics set-up, gamification provides a new level of insight into the learning abilities and preferences of your users — because there’s so much more to track. Whether you’ve gamified content for your clients and prospects, the general public, or your staff, a gamified website can help you to answer questions about the knowledge service your audience needs. With that kind of data, it’s much easier to see what you can optimize.

    Using analytics to track and measure your users and gamified content, you can answer questions such as:

    • Where do people get stuck? Is there a quiz that nearly everyone gets wrong? Clearly, that material is tough. Your action: provide more 101-level information on the topics stakeholders are finding the most challenging and confusing.
    • What do people know? What don’t they know? Don’t bore your users with material they don’t need. Make well-known topics a lesser priority and strategically feed audiences the content that intrigues them and answers their questions.
    • What do they find most interesting? Popular content is your audience’s way to telling you what’s most relevant to them. Use this information to hone your service offering based on the loud and clear feedback from your target market.

Don’t underestimate the value of the data gleaned from a gamification website. It enables businesses to answer the question, “How can our organization serve our market better than the competition?” You’ve got real-time insights that others in your industry only wish they had.

Gamification isn’t really about “making boring things fun”. It’s about understanding human nature and adapting our training, marketing, sales, and customer service operations to work with — not against — the factors that motivate people. Engaging, educational knowledge transfer is the new way to conduct business with all of your audiences — and gamification is the way to accomplish it.