Key Takeaways from the Badgeville Engage 2012 City Tour Seattle Event

If you have the opportunity to catch one of the Badgville Engage City Tour events coming to Chicago, New York or London this year, take the time to do so – you won’t regret it. Marissa Duggan from Badgeville and her team put on a first class event that bring industry leaders together under one roof to share ideas and vision around audience engagement. I had the privilege of participating in Badgeville’s Engage 2012 City Tour in Seattle last week and want to share some of the key takeaways with you.

Gamification isn’t a trend – it’s a movement.

Gartner predicts that by 2014, more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.  So if you have any preconceived (read: negative or dismissive) ideas on the applicability of game mechanics for business purposes, I’d urge you to take a second look.  The easiest way to think about this space is that’s its about how one can apply game mechanics to non-game environments to motivate people and change behavior.

In fact, Autodesk presented a case study that included how they drove a significant increase in trial software downloads due to viral marketing that was supported through Badgeville’s game mechanics solution.

Creating a “social media strategy” does not equal a fully socially engaged enterprise.

Sean O’Driscoll, co-founder and CEO of Ant’s Eye View took the audience through the Social Engagement Journey and described the role gamification plays throughout each stage.  The net of his talk boils down to this:  The end result and value of social to business is a customer base that trusts the organization, recommends it to others, and plays an important part in future direction through online communications.  But you can’t get there if you are simply paying lip service to your commitment to social.

One of the things I particularly liked was his discussion on ROI.  Of course we all want to be able to accurately forecast how our investments will pay off down the road.  But be wary of executives who hide behind ROI as a way to defer making a tough investment decision.  (He challenged the audience to respond to a request for ROI with their own: “What’s the ROI on the phone system we put in place to take calls from customers; what’s the ROI of PR?”)  The best line of the evening in my opinion came from Sean, “Remember, there is no R, without an I.”  1% of your budget is not an investment in social.

Engagement is enhanced when people are rewarded for their actions.

Jim Petty, from Bazaarvoice, spoke about the amplification that occurs when you combine social technologies like theirs, which enables clients to create and harness insights from communities in which users can engage in conversations through activities such as ratings and reviews and game mechanics.  This view was supported by An Le, of Yammer, who spoke of the value in transparency and recognition within an organization.

Identity is crucial to maximizing the value of engagement.

As professionals with responsibility for online activities, we all share common goals:

  1. Increase traffic to our website
  2. Convert those anonymous visitors into known, recognized users
  3. Learn as much as possible about these users, in order to
  4. Deliver engaging, relevant, personalized and meaningful user experiences
  5. To ultimately drive corporate objectives (more purchases, time on site, etc.)

The reason we at Janrain are so pleased to be partners with companies like Badgeville and other social engagement technology companies is that we complement one another in this scenario.

All in all, a great event.  And if you still doubt that game mechanics can effectively be applied to just about anything, check out the picture – attendees could earn badges for sampling the custom cocktails!