Marketing is expensive. So are public relations, customer relations and employee relations. Introduce technology into the mix and you multiply the expense at the beginning, as you develop or implement your tools.
If you’re going to put a lot of money into a Website or a mobile app, you want to make sure it will help you achieve your fundamental business objectives. For many business owners, those objectives come down to engagement:
- You have to engage with potential customers if you want to create a relationship and turn them into actual customers.
- You have to engage with existing customers to keep them and to sell them more of your products and services.
- You have to engage with prospective employees if you want them to join your team.
- You have to engage with exiting employees if you want to keep them, and keep them productive!
More and more, our interactions with prospects, customers and employees happen through the medium of technology. Websites and mobile apps are widely used in marketing, in training, and in process implementation. How disappointing is it when the people you are trying to reach don’t even open your shiny new app, or click away from your expensive Website after only a few seconds?
One approach to engagement through the use of technology is “gamification.” According to Merriam-Webster, gamification is “the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” When it comes to your development budget, this means making your Website and apps interesting and rewarding so your target audience will stick with them long enough to grasp the message you are trying to convey. In addition, your message must be compelling enough that some users will then take the next step–filling out a form, placing an order, applying for a job, adhering to a policy, etc.
Is gamification effective? Amelia Marino reports successful implementations in both marking and training scenarios. Jeanne Meister at Forbes likewise describes effective approaches used internally by various organizations. Christopher Pappas discusses how gamification is surging within online education, an essential element of any engagement strategy the relies on technology.
Can this approach help your business build stronger relationships with prospects, customers and employees, and build them faster? A better question might be can you afford to keep doing what you’re doing if your competitors get there first?
Brian S. Pauls is the president of PerAspera Consulting, LLC, providing comprehensive technology solutions, from the Web, to mobile devices, to the desktop. He also plays games. All sorts.