Are Games the Game-Changer for Untapped Industries?

Learn how to tailor your messaging and outreach to showcase the value of gamification in new industries. Get insights and tips in this article.

Gamification – the application of game elements and design to non-game contexts – has gained mainstream traction over the past decade. From training simulations to marketing campaigns to educational apps, gamification is now being applied across a wide range of domains to boost motivation, engagement, and results.

However, many industries are still new to the serious games approach and unsure of how it can create value for their specific needs. As games continue expanding into more traditional and regulated sectors like banking, energy, manufacturing and government, there remains an education and perception gap. Tailoring the right messaging to these audiences is critical to demonstrate the value and fit of gamification.

At LGP, our team has worked with dozens of organizations across industries to design game initiatives that drive meaningful business outcomes. Along the way, we've learned some key lessons about how to best communicate the power of games to sceptical stakeholders. Allow us to share our top messaging and outreach strategies for spreading the game gospel.

Start with their business objectives, not gamification.

When initially engaging a prospect in a new-to-games industry, make the conversation about them and their goals, not about gamification. Don't lead with a pitch about the wonders of gamification. First seek to deeply understand their unique business, their market landscape, their strategic priorities, and the key objectives and metrics they care most about.

Only once you have a solid grasp of their world can you credibly map out how a game approach could move the needle on what matters to them. Frame games as an innovative means to their desired ends. Position it as a fresh yet proven strategy to achieve the results they're already after, rather than a trendy distraction.

Tailor games to their unique needs and context

Contrary to popular belief, games are not a one-size-fits-all silver bullet. You can't just take a generic game template and force-fit it onto any situation. The key is to thoughtfully adapt best practices and mechanics to each organisation's specific use case, audience and constraints.

Translate game jargon into their terminology

Games come with a whole host of janky overused terms like points, badges, leaderboards, quests, avatars, levels, multipliers, and power-ups. While these terms make perfect sense to gamification enthusiasts and designers, they can be completely foreign to business executives and employees in non-gaming industries.

When explaining gamification concepts to the uninitiated, take care to translate or find equivalent terms they already know. For example:

  • Instead of calling them "quests," try "tasks" or "challenges"
  • Rather than "power-ups," use "boosters" or "bonuses"
  • "Avatars" can be "profiles" or "characters"
  • "Levels" can be described as "tiers," "stages" or "ranks"

The goal is to demystify and normalise gamification by finding relatable terminological touch points for your target audience. You want them to realise that many game ideas are simply extensions of classic behavioural psychology concepts they're likely already familiar with.

You can even draw analogies to aspects of their work and lives that have subtle gamification dynamics:

  • Loyalty punch cards –> points
  • Employee of the month –> leaderboards
  • Frequent flyer status –> levels
  • Professional certifications –> badges
  • Sales quotas –> goals
  • Project milestones –> progress tracking

By making gamification feel accessible and instinctively applicable to their world, you lower their resistance and spark their imagination about potential use cases.

Show, don't just tell

Here's where the rubber really meets the road. The most impactful way to get gamification sceptics on board is to let them experience it firsthand. No amount of defining, explaining or analogizing can substitute for the power of a hands-on demo. Seeing is believing and experiencing is internalising.

When pitching games to a new industry prospect, come prepared with interactive examples of similar use cases. Even if you don't have the perfect apples-to-apples demo for their specific situation, giving them a tangible taste of games in action makes it real and relatable.

The best way to get someone's head around games is to get playing. A little upfront investment in developing demo-ready examples or prototypes goes a long way. It shifts the conversation from theoretical to practical by showing what games look like in their world. They can experience the engagement firsthand and extrapolate the possibilities.

Address their burning questions and objections

Game newbies, especially in traditional industries, will undoubtedly have many questions and concerns. Anticipate and proactively address the most common ones:

  • How will this improve our key metrics?

  • Show clear linkages between target KPIs and your proposed game mechanics. Cite relevant stats and case studies.

  • Will this be too distracting for serious work?

  • Emphasize how gamification should enhance focus and productivity on value-adding activities, not distract from them. Game elements should be subtle yet motivating nudges, not over-the-top gimmicks.

  • Don't our people already have enough intrinsic motivation?

  • Clarify how gamification can amplify and sustain intrinsic motivation, not replace it. Game mechanics tap into our innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness.

  • Isn't this just a superficial fad?

  • Share long-term results from similar implementations that prove gamification's staying power when done right. It's a design discipline, not a fleeting trend.

  • How will we measure the impact and ROI?

  • Propose a clear assessment plan to track agreed-upon metrics and isolate the effects of games from other variables. Build in control groups and baseline benchmarks.

  • Will this work for our non-digital, non-millennial workforce?

  • Reinforce how gamification transcends technology and generations. You can game analog processes and motivate any age group with the appropriate mechanics. This isn't just for digital natives.

  • How will we secure ongoing budget and support?
  • Suggest a phased rollout with quick wins that demonstrate value and earn a deeper commitment. Start small, learn and iterate to sustain momentum.

By proactively raising and tackling these FAQs, you build trust in your domain expertise and change management skills. Prospects will feel you're an accountable partner who's ready to help them navigate the uncharted gamification waters.

In closing, as gamification practitioners pioneering the field, we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to spread the good word to new industries. No one else is better equipped to evangelize gamification's value in terms that resonate with each audience.

To break through, we must resist the temptation to geek out on gamification itself. Instead, make it about them. Immerse yourself in their world, objectives and terminology. Translate gamification to fit their reality. Customize your approach to their unique use case. Bring it to life with relevant hands-on examples. Proactively tackle their burning questions.

When we tailor our messaging and outreach as thoughtful solution providers, not hype-driven vendors, we earn the right to gamify the world. One industry and implementation at a time, we're dissolving misconceptions and delivering results. That's what will cement games as a transformational and transcendent strategy for organisations of all types.

Game on my friends,

The LGP Team

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