Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The State of Gamification in 2018

A Guest Blog from Jessica Barrett Halcom
You’ve likely already heard that 2018 is the “year of the customer.”  While this trend certainly appears to be where things are headed, it’s natural to wonder, then, what companies plan to do about it.

Well, if the customer is to be the focus, the key is figuring out what the customer wants. More importantly, companies must figure out what the customer wants and deliver it through a superior customer experience (CX). The first step in delivering a superior customer experience is figuring out who specifically interfaces with your customers. The answer?

Everyone in your company.

Which brings us to another recent trend – gamification. Gamification, while still on the rise, is maturing now that companies are beginning to understand its real potential. In 2018, gamification will rise up as less gimmick and more value. This is especially true for customer interactions, which everyone in your business has on some level.

Companies have to ensure that all employees represent and sell the organization, regardless of their title. And gamifying processes helps companies make huge strides towards customer-facing readiness. Let’s take a look at the state of gamification in 2018 and some of the ways that organizations use it to improve their CX.

Human Resources/Learning & Development

Human Resources (HR) and Learning & Development (L&D) teams have been using gamification in their tools for several years now as a way to better engage learners. Moving forward, expect to see more companies using gamification not only as a training tool, but also to gauge the well-being of their employees.

Why does this matter? Because happy employees mean happy customers. Employers will increasingly be looking to provide a better feedback mechanism for their employees as well improved performance management indicators. We can also expect to see an increased use of gamification during the recruitment process as well, which will help HR professionals and candidates improve outcomes.


If 2018 is to be the year of the customer, then marketing will also have a big year. What will start to look just a bit different, however, is a focus shifting from brand awareness, currently done through social media, to customer retention. Companies will look for an increase in loyalty to their brand and customer engagement. Expect to see more gamification to support these changes of focus as companies learn to interact with their customers in new ways.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

As the use of augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) continues to climb, we can expect to see gamification play a role within it as companies try to gain greater access to customers and customize their experiences. The use of gamification within AR & VR aims to track user statistics so that, over time, the customer is having the exact experience that meets their preferences, habits, and needs while also pursuing business goals for the company.

Mobile Tech

One of the most significant ways that brands interact with customers or potential customers is through the use of mobile technology. In 2018, you can expect to see the rise in gamification on mobile tech to be highest in Asia and Africa first. Many countries in these parts of the world have large, modern populations who own mobile devices, but lack a stable Internet connection, and so many online interactions happen mainly through a 4G connection on a mobile phone. Brands looking to interact with these large, young populations are moving toward implementing more gamification into their smartphone applications, where the customers already are.

Increased Platform Options

With more companies recognizing the value of gamification mechanics, where will they get it from? As with any tool, the number of niche solutions and their related price points is growing. While the competition is heating up for gamification platforms making them more affordable, as is usual integration with existing software tools, especially within larger corporations, continues to be in high demand. From a buyer’s perspective, having gamification built into a major ERP software feels like less of a risk than purchasing a stand-alone option.
As we move into 2018, what is clear about the state of gamification is that it’s moving from a “fun thing we should try” to a serious, value-add going far beyond a marketing trend. Yes, HR was one of the earliest to get on board, but gamification has gone beyond a helpful way to learn and now integrates ways to improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

We can expect to see this same level of maturity with gamification in other areas of organizations. Marketing will move from brand awareness through social media to customer loyalty and engagement through the use of game mechanics. Mobile apps will continue to drive this trend upward this year.  We can count on 2018 as the year of the customer, so companies will use thoughtful, intentional ways to build brand loyalty and interact with buyers in new and meaningful ways we haven’t seen before.
Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.


  1. I think using pre-packaged gamification solutions runs a serious risk of vendor lockin for something that is fundamentally customer owned and is best delivered independently of any one system.

    If customers are relying on their score and built up data history on any particular system it stops you from being able to change that system. Far better to invest in a standalone gamification platform that pulls data as required from all the underlying systems you need it to. Then if you need to change any one underlying system you simply unplug it and plug in the new one.

    Of course you may want to change your gamification platform but again at least you are changing like with like and not needing to change your underlying ERP or CRM system which would be a much bigger job entirely!