Black Hat Gamification in Long-Term Sales

Black Hat Gamification in Long-Term Sales

Black Hat Gamification in Long-Term Sales

Black Hat Gamification are techniques of gamification that exploit the addiction and obsession driven parts of the human brain to condition the user to do what we want. Be it playing a game that we’ve made or to follow through on our advertising. They are techniques that are viciously effective in most cases and more than often would trigger viral sensations. But although they might seem like a sure-kill way to earn revenue, they might not be like what you think. 

What is Black Hat Gamification?

If we are to base this on Yukai-Chou’s Octalysis Framework, it would be 3 of the bottom. Mainly: Scarcity, Avoidance, and Unpredictability. 

Scarcity and Impatience

This is the drive of wanting something because you can’t have it.”

Let’s say that people can buy an exclusive type of product that you sell, but it only goes on sale once a week. Besides that, they won’t be able to buy it even if they want to. This gives the consumers a sense of value and rarity towards the product. And it would make them keep thinking about the product when they can’t have it. 

Speaking of coffee shops and VIP treatments, one of—if not—the most viable example of this type of loyalty program would be the one designed by Starbucks

Unpredictability and Curiosity

Addicted, to the unpredictable chance of winning a lot of money back.

The obvious example here is how people would throw countless money away in slot machines for a chance of winning it all back and then some. Even though the percentage of that is incredibly low, people can still become addicted to it even though they may have never even won once in their life.  

Effects of Black Hat Gamification

The problem with black hat gamification is that it has a bad aftertaste, especially when you feel like you’re not in control of it. And because you feel like you’re not in control, you may harbor bad feelings to what you’re doing and will try to quit the second you are given the chance to. 

The point is that, for a while, your consumers can be engaged to your product when marketed with black hat gamification, but if that’s all there is to it, then you are more likely to lose that consumer base eventually, if not all, then most of it.  

Is Black Hat Gamification Bad?

Not necessarily. black hat gamification is a good short-term sales plan, especially among companies like e-commerce sites, where they only need the customers to get in, buy something and get out. Without really needing to rely on long-term engagement.  

And sure enough, with the white hat gamification, people will be intending to do things, but odds are, without the sense of urgency provided by black hat gamification, they would rarely act upon it. 

Implementing Black Hat Gamification for Long-Term Sales

What you need to do here, is simply combine your black hat with the white hat. Engage the consumers and get them hooked, and only then should you introduce white hat techniques to make them feel better about using it. 

For example, you have a product based on subscription, after a short free trial for your consumers, you can give them 24 hours only sale where they would then feel that it would be a loss not to. But once they subscribe, instead of just letting them be, maybe empower them by saying that their creativity with your product will be highly appreciated with a showcase in your product’s social media, that alone might do more than you might think. 

Another thing you can do, however, is something close to white hat gamification’s effect is giving your customers a decent loyalty program. It’s also something to not only keep them hooked with your product longer, but may benefit you even more. Something that you can learn more about here or any other place on the internet. 

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Things to Make Use When Applying Gamification

Things to Make Use When Applying Gamification

Things to Make Use When Applying Gamification

If you’ve seen our previous post about what to avoid when applying gamification, you would know that there are more failed attempts at gamification than there are successes in the business world. But you might also figure out that as long as you know what you’re doing, gamification isn’t all that big of a risk. In fact, if you know what to do, gamification will exclusively bring you improvements on various things, and that is including boosting your sales. 

What Can Be Used with Gamification

Though most of the time, you can hear again and again “What gamification can do for you” and it can do many things, but objectively, there are 3 core things gamification can help you with as a solution.

Enabling Innovation

The British news and media, The Guardian, posted various examples of unbelievable gamification that shows brilliant innovation. Where through gamification, players/users from around the world who—mind you—mostly have no background in science or related matters who crowdsourced together to help solve some of the biggest problems in science or our world in general that stumped scientists for decades. And this only goes to show that humans, if engaged enough can be put together to solve anything. And through it, something like Crowdsource Marketing can benefit from gamification as well.

Changing Behavior

The main thing that gamification can and should be doing for you, is changing the behavior of the users. For example: From being reluctant on buying your product that they may not need, to feeling like it might be the one thing they actually do need.  

Gamification helps you do this because as games itself has a tendency to change the behavior of its players as explained by the Designing Firm, Medium. And through playing games, people would often adopt new habits and way of thinking, where through your designs, should be made to help the users attain a habit that benefits you. 

Developing Skillsets

As users become engaged in your gamified plan, you can more easily help them learn skills you’d want as they play. And within marketing or sales, there’s no better example than how Autodesk gamified the free trial of their 3D modeling software to help beginners learn to use their product. This practice resulted in a pretty high rate of engagement that they’d actually buy the software and fall in love with it. Further added, it even drove a 15% increase in buy-clicks from within the software itself.

Importance of User Motivation and Drive

But of course, the main problem of any sort of implementation of a program is more than often caused by lack of drive or motivation as explained by the Software Company, Saba. Because no matter how well designed the program is, if the users aren’t motivated to even try it, the program is doomed to fail before it starts. 

Gamification helps you do this because as games itself has a tendency to change the behavior of its players as explained by the Designing Firm, Medium. And through playing games, people would often adopt new habits and way of thinking, where through your designs, should be made to help the users attain a habit that benefits you. 

Often times you must give a sense of urgency to your users so that they would even participate or register in your gamification plan something achievable through black hat gamification techniques.  Which might sound bad, but actually is one of the more effective way to display a sense of urgency for your users as, in a way, it is actually the method used by the game company Zynga to quickly make their old Facebook game, Farmville into such a viral hit, spreading from consumer to consumer.

Creativity is Your Key

As for the most important thing to make use of gamification, Creativity and innovation would be the most crucial, if not, also the hardest to quite pick out. You might already know, but gamification isn’t a one size fits all type of solution. All sorts of variables must always be considered. Such as what your product is, your customer base, your target audience, what type of gamification you are looking to create and so forth. All of which would need different types of attention to detail and thinking. 

And yet, if you look at the fundamentals written above which is essential to any form of gamification, you should at least have one of your foot out the doorway already. And now, it’s up to you to take the rest of the way. 

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Modern Loyalty Programs for Better Profits

Modern Loyalty Programs for Better Profits

Modern Loyalty Programs for Better Profits

It is at times surprising how many people among marketing or business in general would jump straight to cash-rewards or material rewards when they think of loyalty programs. And odds are, your company might be doing or have considered doing that very same thing. Well, what if there was a better way? What if, instead of losing cash capital to gain loyalty, you lose no cash at all, and gain an even better loyalty? 

Why Material isn’t a Good Incentive

Merchandise and cash are good and fine, you can offer up a free product after your customer buys 10 of them, which is pretty standard. And who wouldn’t want to get a cash-back once they spend countless bucks on your product? But does that make sense? 

You’re basically trying to buy your customer’s loyalty instead of earning them. This might make a total sense at a glance. However, if you give a further thought about it, it is actually counter-intuitive since loyalty should usually be earned instead of bought. Besides, even if you can buy the said loyalty, why would you? You are losing capital in the hopes of obtaining more, and this would not be too beneficial. Especially if it’s the case of startups, or if your company have some resource constraints. 

The question would simply imply to would you rather have a free cup of coffee after staying loyal to your coffee shop for a year, or you get to cut in line every time you come into the shop. Wouldn’t you rather be allowed to get your coffee first? 

Speaking of coffee shops and VIP treatments, one of—if not—the most viable example of this type of loyalty program would be the one designed by Starbucks

If you’re registered for the program, for each dollar you spend, you earn 2 stars which, if accumulated to 300 will elevate you into the VIP status of Gold. And you will need to earn 300 stars per year to maintain that status. Besides the gold status, the stars provide no other benefit. As you would only need to pay $1 per year to achieve the Green level and be eligible to order ahead with your phone so you can skip waiting in line. 

With just a quick read, this program might not seem much, but it also has skyrocketed Starbuck’s revenue by 16 billion dollars

What Made Starbucks Rewards Successful

You may think that the free beverage still helps, but while that might somewhat do, the real reason people would spend $125 dollars per year at Starbucks is the Golden Card. 

You would be surprised as to how far the power of showing off to peers can go. And by rewarding people with proper VIP status, your customers or consumers may feel more comfortable or even more eager to spend what they have for your products for simply the acknowledgment that they are important.

What Other Options Are There?

According to Gamification.co, other cheaper and more effective rewards than money includes Access and Power. While as it says, power is more effective within virtual world-based campaigns, access is another thing worth investing into. Sometimes, companies underestimate the lengths at which customers that are already loyal would want.  

Perhaps giving them access to your new line of products earlier or access to 15 minutes head-start on a crazy flash-sale or even simply access to meet the CEO in person to have lunch and a nice chat with them. These somewhat feeble things can really drive those people that are in love with your product enough to buy an abundance of them the feeling of happiness and acknowledgment they would want. 

But of course, in the end, loyalty programs, no matter how tempting the incentives are, will never prove useful unless they are engaging enough to let the customers stay inside said program. As even Starbucks Rewards apply various gamification via its mobile app to let the users feel content. Besides loyalty programs, learning about what to use in applying gamification can also help streamline your program and cut back on losses. 

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