Gamification Framework

Digital marketing buzzwords are funny things.  On one hand, they make it possible to discuss new marketing, technology, and cultural phenomenon that make its way into our collective consciousness but not into our collective vocabularies.  On the other hand, attaching a buzzy-label to something new often classifies it as a trend—something with a short shelf life that is easily dismissed.  In many ways, the concept of Gamification has suffered such a fate, and is considered in many circles to be a trend whose time has passed.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.


Gamification—the notion of applying familiar game mechanics to non-game contexts to engage ‘actors’ to help achieve a ‘goal’—can play a powerful role in many marketing programs.  Organizations with frequent, ongoing, service-based relationships with customers often have programs where gamification can play a natural role.  Gamification elements can be seen frequently today in many loyalty programs, online self-service platforms, and social community programs.


Over the past year I have worked with two clients (one in financial services and the other in retail) on large assignments where gamification played a fairly strategic role.  In both cases, I needed to spend time with stakeholders to discuss and explore the concept so that we could see beyond the ‘badges, awards, and mayorships’ that are so closely associated with the term.  To do so, I used a framework to help organize our thinking and explore the role, fit, and potential of gamification. I found this framework useful, in that it helped to start the discussion at a higher strategic level.  We could then 'work down the pyramid' to effectively design the experience.

Gamification Framework

The purpose of this framework is to help define and design a gamification approach for a marketing program.  When completing the framework, it is critical that groups work down from the top as all levels relate and contribute to each other.


Purpose: What the brand ultimately strives to help customers achieve

Describe this shared purpose from the brand.  Ensure that it is written in a way that is (1) meaningful and desirable to the customer, (2) authentically ‘from the brand’, and (3) is viewed as credible.


Goals: What tasks can the customer complete to help reach this achievement

List all of the tasks that can contribute to this ultimate achievement.  Ensure that they are (1) clearly connected to the ultimate achievement, (2) easily understood by customers, and (3) can be attained by customers with the help of the brand.


Behaviours: What actions can the customer take to help complete a contributing goal

List all of the actions that a customer should stop, start, or continue to help achieve a goal.  Ensure that they are (1) clearly connected to achieving a goal, (2) easily understood by customers, and (3) can be recognized and quantified by the brand.


Motivators: What incentives can be offered to help propel positive customer behaviours

List all of the ways that a customer can be encouraged to act, considering intrinsic, extrinsic, tangible, and intangible motivators.  Ensure that motivators are (1) clearly connected to contributing behaviours, (2) desirable for customers, and (3) can be supported from the brand.


Indicators: What progress signals can be provided to help customers remain motivated

Considering all of the available interfaces between the brand and the customer, list the ways that progress may be communicated.  Ensure that indicators are (1) clearly connected to motivators, (2) consistently accessible by customers, and (3) forward-looking from the brand.