Channel Gamification: The Value of Encouragement in the Corporate World
Encouragement is either willingly accepted, or loathly dismissed.
Depending on your upbringing, your interpretation of encouragement may be entirely different from someone else.
Perhaps encouragement comes from a loving parent’s perspective to get you to try harder at sports; a teacher’s philosophy to finish your homework before the day it’s due; in military, encouragement can be used to help you overcome your greatest fears; boxing trainers that yell “use the ropes” so loud their vocal chords nearly burst; rewarding your golden retriever with a belly rub after he rolls over and shakes—you get the idea.
Whatever connotation you attach encouragement with, there is only one true meaning behind it when used as a tactic in the channel industry: Participation
Consider this Hypothetical Example
Congratulations! You successfully built a business infrastructure and garnered enough momentum behind your product or service to attract partners. However, in an attempt to maintain trust and continue the longevity of your business (in today’s ultracompetitive marketplace), you will need more than just a good product/service, but also incentivized encouragement via participation with your channel partners.
And one of the best ways to apply encouragement into your channel business is to implement gamification (marketing strategies) into your channel infrastructure.
If you’re unfamiliar to gamification, it may sound more like an unprofessional gimmick than an intelligent marketing maneuver, however, gamification does serve a real purpose.
Gamification is something people are drawn to. Especially when you consider that 30 percent of today’s workforce are Generation Y (people born in the early 80s to late 90s), an era when the word “gaming” forever revolutionized the meaning behind what teenagers considered an activity.
But how can gamification optimize your channel business? How can something that can seem so inappropriate for business, transform the relationship you share with channel partners? The answer may be a lot simpler than what you think, and that’s because people like to “play,” even more so, people like to win. Incentivizes your channel partners, whether it be through simple promotional opportunities or lucrative rewards and sales rebates, is a best practice strategy any channel business can implement into its marketing infrastructure.
Best Practices ‘Gamification’ Strategies
1.) Addressing The User Journey:
Good program design is a gamification requirement.
After all, what’s the point of creating a gamification initiative without clear and concise objectives to follow? The user shouldn’t be subjected to random prizes or rewards that don’t connect back to a businesses’ bottom line; in other words, gamification mechanics should communicate the progression of rewards over time—they shouldn’t be distributed at will.
Channel loyalty stems from channel consistency, and without objective guidelines and easy-to-interpret features that actually lead to something (progress)—your program initiative is “virtually” pointless.
2.) Enthuse Partners with Active Levels or Leaderboards
Whether you’re a 14-year-old trying to impress your high school sweetheart or a 50-something-year-old distributing exec trying to earn a little extra cash on MDF funds—human instinct recognizes achievement, no matter the age, situation or stipulation.
When designing your gamification program design via your partner portal, it’s critical to implement a tangible “scoreboard” that partners can visually interpret and measure past/current achievements. This will motivate partners to work harder to “reap in” your rewards as well as legitimizes your program’s authenticity.
3.) Customize the Reward to Fit The “Player’s” Desire
The final piece to finishing your channel gamification puzzle is integrating the “appropriate” reward(s) into your program.
Each partnership is unique, which means each partnerships’ reward should be relevant to the user’s wants and/or needs. In order to truly create an effective gamification program, it has to be something your partners will actually want to win. Surprisingly, this simple concept remains something many channel program designers struggle to properly implement. An error no business can afford.
Computer Market Research’s Channel Gamification
Computer Market Research takes gamification from the B2C marketplace and implements it into the B2B indirect sales funnel. Companies can motivate and reward their channel partners in a number of different ways. Whether it’s allocating additional MDF funds, rebates or incentive programs—companies can deploy diverse reward systems, customize badges, add program levels and provide leaderboards for partners to keep track of their progress.
See how our Channel Gamification software works
See how Channel Gamification can improve channel performance.