#25/25: For the Win



  • People are motivated by well-designed game features
  • The game itself is a reward

Gamification: The use of game elements and game-design techniques in non-game contexts.

  • Internal Gamification / Enterprise Gamification
    • Improve productivity, innovation, etc. within a organization
    • Players a part of a defined community
    • Motivational dynamics
      • Organizational citizenship behavior
        • Do it because you want to be a good citizen not because of money
        • External Gamification
          • Involves Customers / prospects
          • Behavior-Change Gamification
            • Involves larger undefined groups
            • Game Elements
              • Objects
              • Relationships
              • Abstract concepts
              • Game-Design Techniques
                • „Why should I care about this?“
                • New users are maybe discouraged
                • Games should be
                  • Fun
                  • Addicting
                  • Challenging
                  • Emotionally resonant
                  • Reasons
                    • Engagement
                      • People love solving puzzles
                      • Getting feedback
                      • Reinforcement
                      • Engagement leads to iniation
  • Experimentation
    • Mastering the game by try and error
  • Results

Game Thinking

  • What’s in a game?
    • It’s voluntary
    • Ability to make choices
      • Which have effects
      • Give a sense of control
  • Rules of a game
    • New „reality“
    • Game Thinking = engaging expierence that motivates desired behavior
    • Ask the following questions:
      • Why do people use your service in the first place?
        • What is their motivation?
        • What makes them want to do business with you?
        • Can you make it more fun / compelling / interesting?
        • Gamers try to win the game
          • Try to design a desirable outcome
          • Sense of progression is important
          • Game itself is a process, a journey
          • Choice give a sense of empowerment
          • Design goals
            • Motivation
              • Needed for
                • Creative work
                • Mundane Tasks
                • Behavior changes
    • Is going to
      • Passionate
      • Engaged
      • Focused
    • Provides a
      • Measure of meaning
  • Meaningful choices
    • Player autonomy
  • Structure
    • Measure (of quality) and respond to action
    • Track user’s activities
  • Potential Conflicts
    • Leaderboards can be harmful if they are in the wrong environment

Why Games Work

  • What means motivation
    • From latin: serving to move
    • Amotivated = indifferent
    • Intrinsic = wanting
    • Extrinsic = needing
    • Cognitivst
      • Self-Determination-Theory
        • Ext. Environment needs to support internal wishes
        • Three factors
          • Competence
            • Effective dealing with ext. Environment
              • E.g. learning to dance
      • Relatedness
        • Interaction with others
      • Autonomy
        • Control of own life
      • => Always focus on building authentic engagement
  • Reward can crowd out fun
    • See post about Punished by Rewards
  • Boring can be engaging
    • Extrinsic motivation works on boring dull tasks
      • i.e. tasks that are non-intrinsical
    • Focus on learning and development instead of competition
  • Feedback loops
    • Should be fast
    • Reinforcement of „good“ actions
    • FB: near real-time feedback score
      • Data from
        • Coworkers
        • Progress towards goals
        • Coaching
        • Supervisors
    • Lessons
      • FB should be unexpected + informed
        • Increases autonomy
        • Increases intrinsic motivation
      • Reinforcement should work toward progress
      • Metrics will determine actions
  • Different stages of motivation
    • External = punishment
    • Introjected = „I must …“
    • Internalized = „I should …“
    • Integrated = „I want to …“
    • Intrinsic

Game Elements

  • Points, badges and leaderboards (PBLs)
    • Basic but not everything
    • Points
      • To effectively keep score
        • „how well am I doing?“
        • can define levels, i.e. represents the true „play space“
        • To determine the win state
          • E.g. to give away a prize
          • To connect progression and extrinsic rewards
            • X points will give you Y
            • To provide feedback
              • Quickly & easily
              • To externally display progress
                • Status
                • To provide data to game designers
                  • Analyzing tasks
                  • Badges
                    • Visual representation of some achievement
                    • Motivational characteristics
                      • Provide a goal to strive toward => positive effect on motivation
                      • Provide guidance as to what is possible => engagement
                      • Signal what user cares about and what they have performed => capability
                      • Virtual status symbols
                      • Tribal markers => sense of identity with a group
  • Very flexible
  • Leaderboards
    • Most troublesome
      • Can be motivating or demotivating
      • Turn of players (zero sum game)
      • Usually reduce performance rather than enhance it in business
      • Game Elements
        • Dynamics
          • Constraints
          • Emotions: curiosity, competivieness, happiness, etc.
          • Narrative: consistent, ongoing storyline
          • Progression: player’s growth and development
          • Relationships: social interactions generating feelings of camaraderie, status, altruism, etc.
  • Mechanics
    • Challenges
    • Chance: elements of randomness
    • Competition
    • Cooperation
    • Feedback
    • Resource Acquisition
    • Rewards
    • Transactions
    • Turns
    • Win states
    • => combinations, for onboarding (new participants) and interest curves (exp. Players)
  • Components
    • Achivements
    • Avatars
    • Badges
    • Boss Fights: especially hard challenges
    • Collections
    • Combat
    • Content Unlocking
    • Gifting
    • Leaderboards
    • Levels
    • Points
    • Questions: predefined challenges with objectives & rewards
    • Social Graphs
    • Teams
    • Virtual Goods


  • Hierarchy of all game elements

Six Steps to Gamification

  • Design process
    • Define business objectives
      • Specific performance goals
      • List objectives
      • Rank them
      • Delete means to an end
      • Justify objectives
  • Describe target behaviors
    • Which behavior helps achieving your objectives?
    • How can you measure these behaviors?
  • Describe your players
    • Who are they?
    • What is their relationship to you?
    • What might motivate your players?
    • What demotivates them?
      • Volition: perceived lack of desire => Engagement
      • Faculty: perceived lack of capability => Progression
    • How can you segment your players?
      • Achievers, explorers, socializers, killers
        • See other post
    • Write a small story of (some) players (basically personas)
      • Which Bartle player types are they?
      • What are their hopes and fears?
      • Their talents?
      • Their hobbies?
  • Devise activity cycles
    • User actions provoke some other activity, which in turn provokes other user actions, etc.
    • Engagement loops (Micro)
      • What your players do
      • Why they do it
      • What does the system do?
      • Feedback as an important element
        • Actions immediately produce visible responses
    • Progression stairs (Macro)
      • What’s the player’s journey
      • Start out simple
      • „boss“ villain = major challenges which gives a sense of pride
      • Incorporate some randomness
      • Small surprises help to escape the hedonic treadmill


  • Don’t forget the fun
    • Would players participate in the system voluntary if there weren’t any extrinsic rewards?
    • Types of fun (Nicole Lazzaro)
      • Hard fun = challenge or puzzle
      • Easy fun = casual enjoyment
      • Experimental fun = trying out new personas and new experiences
      • Social fun = interaction with others, even competitive
  • Deploy the appropriate tools
    • Start picking appropriate mechanics and components
    • Then iterate, iterate, iterate

Epic Fails

  • Problem: Focus too heavily on the rewards instead oft he experience
  • People will go to the limits
  • Legal constraints

If nothing else, gamification may make business more fun.

#16/25: Web Site Measurement Hacks

Funny how a major economic downturn and the enforcement of fiscal responsibility will motivate people to make decisions based on available data, not just their gut instinct.

Customer intent

  • Explicitly
    • Landing page survey: What are you trying achieve today?
    • On exit survey: Did you successfully achieve what you wanted to do?
  • Implicity
    • Obvious intent: ordering something, etc.
    • Otherwise Keywords

Data Integration

  • Marketing cost => campaign ROI
  • Customer Satisfaction data
  • Email campaigns

Try to apply analytics to your intranet

  • How much do you save using this?
  • Adaption
  • Most frequent pages

Look at

  • Broken links
  • 404s
  • Failures to respond

Start with your business objective (macroconversion) and try to generate micro-conversions

Email Marketing

  • Hard Bounces – message not delivered
  • Opening rate
  • CTR
  • Unsubscribes
  • Landing page stickiness – do they keep moving or do the CTA?

Email Testing

  • Layout
  • Format – HTML, text, rich text
  • Length
  • Tone
  • Date
  • Return email address
  • Subject line
  • CTA

When you segment by traffic, you can do something

Scent trails

  • create persona
  • Use the right language
  • build rapport by relevant copy and addressing issues
  • present relevant solutions

Measuring the internal search engine

  • Percentage of exits from the search page
  • Usage for conversions
  • Percentage with no results
  • Top search terms

Measure Recency and Latency

  • Recency – When was the last time the visitor/customer visited your site
  • Latency – Time between different visits
  • Segment into above and below average
  • Helps you to estimate future earnings

Test offline campaign – geographic segmentation

  • Control group
  • Treatment group

KPIs for Online Retail

  • AOV
  • Order Conversion Rate
  • Funnel analysis
  • Visits under 90 seconds

KPIs for Content sites

  • Average pages per visit
  • Average visits per visitor
  • Average time on site
  • Visits with over 5-10 page views

KPIs for Lead Generation Sites

  • Average hours to response

Okay book. It’s a rather outdated but may be interesting if you want to know more about the development of web tracking systems.

#15/25: Waiting for your cat to bark?

The window that merging media has opened for us reveals a personal-experience economy, in which customers are in control. Brand in defined in customers’ minds by their personal experiences with a particular product or service.

Experience is entirely about “value in context.” Positive or negative, value is in the eye of the beholder. Whether something tastes like fine champagne or cod-liver oil, the value of the resulting experience will depend on whether the need was for a classy beverage or a relieving purge.

Good wages and benefits for workers means Costco has an extremely low rate of turnover among employees and experiences considerably less employee theft. With minimal advertising, Costco has generated an almost cult-like following of loyal customers, unlike the other deep-discounters. And even the shareholders appear to be happy, as Costsco stock performs very nicely, thank you very much. This is in spite of Wall Street’s penalization.

After we made a presentation to another client, the company’s senior vice president of marketing assumed we had appropriated a brand-new, confidential market study on which they’d spent both months and millions. He was apologetic and impressed when he learned our analysis was based on words customers typed into search engines.

Customers need to resolve their worn concerns so they can build the confidence to buy from you. Ideally, they’ll build that confidence with information you provide. But if you don’t provide it, they’ll track it down by going to other sources.

Lisa doesn’t care about your sales process, and everything about your sales process should be designed so she shouldn’t have to. You should, however, care very much about Lisa’s buying decision process.

It’s beneficial to you to acknowledge the substance of what is available, even the negatives, so you can communicate and position it in the proper light.

Steps of buying:

  • Search
  • Evaluate
  • Decide
  • Purchase
  • Reevaluate

It isn’t difficult to understand why a customer would prefer to buy from someone who understand her needs by using her terms and “peaking” her language.

Persuasion Architecture identifies all the angles from which a customer might approach your product or service as well as the vocabulary that could lead a customer to your doorstep. PA would also ask what other angles or terms a customer would use in searches and plan Web content keyed to both compacted and non-compacted information searches.

You build and sustain persuasive momentum by intentionally and repeatedly providing answers to these three questions:

  1. Who are we trying to persuade to take the action?
  2. What is the action we that someone to take?
  3. What does that person need in order to fell confident taking that action?

Persuasion occurs when people perceive they are on their way to getting what they want. Persuasion is a forward-moving force. People must feel they are making progress. If a customer feels he isn’t making progress, then he isn’t persuaded.

Basic sales process:

  1. Initiating the relationship by building rapport and confidence
  2. Investigating needs, wants and problems
  3. Suggesting a course of action
  4. Obtaining agreement for a decision
  5. Closing, or taking action
  6. #

Feedback loops are an important part of the sales process; establishing rapport and building confidence are ongoing. […] The level of rapport and confidence that a customer must have to initiative the relationship and begin investigating is not the same level she requires to close the sale.

Touch points are the ways businesses make contact and interact with potential customers. These include every traditional and merging media vehicle you might use. SEM, website, yellow page, emails, radio spots, customer call center, etc.

If I went to a florist and told them I needed a birthday gift, would they point me over to the anniversary section? Would they ask me if I needed it for New Years? The florist wouldn’t ask me irrelevant questions.


The ultimate value in SEM is its ability to help you understand the customer’s intent and ensure you present relevant information. Moreover, the value of relevant high rankings is completely undone if you don’t follow through on the promise of the result.

Surveys are invaluable if you want to figure out why your business is coming up short in delivering a consistently delightful customer experience. If customer-survey data reveals a sudden spike in dirty bathroom complaints, you can take it to the bank that some franchise is not following procedure. Research is great at measuring what has already happened.

When someone acknowledges us as individuals and personalizes our experience based on our unique characteristics, we feel understood and valued. Our feelings of good will increase. Our confidence grows. Even our tolerance broadens.

What marketers really want to achieve with personalization is accelerated customer intimacy. The solution to this problem, however is, not personalization. […] The answer is “persona-lization”.

Ultimately, knowing the behavior is more valuable to the interaction than knowing detailed personal information about a customer. It is almost more effective to “persona-lize” before you personalize.

Personas are representative stand-ins for the modes in which it is possible for individuals to interact with you and your business.

Filters: Topology: business landscape, other businesses, innovation, etc.
Psycho-graphics: personality, consumer psychology, etc.
Demographics: age, location, etc.

Once we have compiled the right information about our personas, we use them to generate empathy within the business for the persona’s wants, desires, needs, and problems.

Persuasion Architecture:

  • Create business-specific personas that reflect your audience
  • Develop persuasion scenarios that meet the needs of your audience
  • Integrate multi-channel efforts
  • Establish a culture of test, measure and optimizing

Experience Economy levels of transparency:

  • How you view yourself is not necessarily how others view you
  • The information you currently provide isn’t necessarily the information your customers need to develop the confidence to buy
  • Efforts to keep your multi-channel efforts discreet are not likely to give positive reinforcement to your customers’ experience of your brand

Johari Window

  • Arena: Grows with the intensity in your relationship with your customer
  • Unkown: Not so important because not very productive
  • Blind Spot: Things your customers knows about you that you don’t know => important to know
  • Facade: Things you know but your customer don’t => important to release

Nevertheless, either the manufacturer discloses critical information to customers, or someone else will. Doesn’t it build greater confidence in a customer when the company, rather than a stranger, supplies that information? Taking responsibility for presenting all the information allows you to interact with your customers in a much larger open quadrant.

Four dimensions of sales complexity

  • critical to luxury
  • Temporal
  • one purchase or multiple?


  • psychical risk
  • self-esteem
  • career risk
  • financial


  • what do they need to know?
  • eliminate friction of confusion or ignorance
  • whom is the customer buying for?


  • sold anonymously
  • personally
  • groups

Types of buyers


  • are their by accident
  • was looking for something else

Knows Exactly

Knows Approximately

Just browsing

Transactional shoppers

  • cheap
  • today
  • ready to change
  • love the exploration process

Relational shoppers

  • long
  • looking for an expert / partner
  • don’t enjoy looking around
  • right place to buy

SJ (Methodical)
Attitude: Businesslike, detail-oriented
Time: Disciplined, methodically paced
Question: How can your solution solve this problem?
Approach: Hard evidence and superior service

SP (Spontaneous)
Attitude: Personal, activity-oriented
Time: Spontaneous, fast-paced
Question: Why is your solution best to solve the problem now?
Approach: Address immediate needs

NF (Humanistic)
Attitude: Personal, relationship-oriented
Time: Open-ended, slow paced
Question: Who has used your solution to solve my problem?
Approach: Testimonials and incentives

NT (Competitive)
Attitude: Businesslike, power-oriented
Time: Disciplined, strategically paced
Question: What can your solution do for me?
Approach: Provide rational options, probabilities, and challenges

Universe of buyers
For each buyer type, there are three states:

  • just browsing
  • knowns approximately
  • knows exactly

How many personas?
At least 2 (rational vs. emotional), better between 3 and 7

Character Diamonds
=> Four core personality traits
=> There are masks, e.g. white kids masking as black kids => ask why

Create a story / plot around the persona

  • how did the began their buying process
  • what are they doing, what are they thinking?
  • how is the buying process and maybe after-sales stuff


  • Calls to action: what to do?
  • Points of resolution: Answering questions
  • Resolving Doors: the exit from the point of resolution -> what to do next?
  • Persuasion entities: email, billboards, etc.

Persuasion Scenario:

  • Driving point: Where does the scenario begin?
  • Funnel points: Entry points
  • Points of Resolution
  • Way points: critical to success
  • Conversion beacon: starting linear process
  • Conversion point


  • Putting everything together


  • Test different story ideas


  • developing final product


  • Testing, Optimizing, Measuring

#14/25: Brainfluence


  • Try to minimize pain
    • Bundling helps, e.g. car sales
    • Less transactions, e.g. flat rates
    • Don’t show money, e.g. menu 12 instead of $12
  • Higher price paid can lead to higher satisfaction, esp. for premium products
  • $499 works better than $500 because of precision
    • $500 could be $499 to $599
    • $499 could be $499.00 to $499.99
  • Don’t offer too many choices
    • Help the customer choose
    • Recommendation engines, sorting, reviews
    • Avoid similar choices
  • Familiary breeds likability
    • Repeat your offerings in a consistent way
  • Customers can sense passion – include this in your employee search process
  • Compare people not products
  • Pictures of babies get attention
  • People will look at where the person in a picture is looking
  • A model’s eyes that are visible and dilated are more attractive to men
  • Be specific – include photos of actual people
  • Loyality program works because of points
    • Illusion of progress works great
  • Tell people what to think of you
    • “You can trust us to do the job for you”
    • Trust score jumped up 33%
    • People thought company is more caring, has a higher quality and a fairer price
  • Smile to people – in person & on the phone
  • Start with a small favor first then it’s easier to get a bigger one done
  • Stories work
  • People love their own name and birth date
  • Expectation will shape the real experience
  • A tiny positive surprise can improve one’s outlook
  • Don’t argue with a customer about who’s right – offer a sincere apology and offer solutions
  • Use scarcity
  • Avoid the lower right corner in screen designs


Scents can affect behavior and consumer perceptions. One experiment showed that nightclub patrons danced longer when the venue was scented with orange, peppermint, and seawater. […]
A test in a casino found that people gambled 45 percent more money in a slot machine when a pleasant scent was introduced into the area.

To beat these ingrained consumer perceptions, Nestle first launched upscale coffee shops in major cities for the primary purpose of creating the high-intensity sensory experience people expect […]
The second thing they did was modify the home espresso-making system to release more aroma. This is brilliant and, I can testify, often overlooked strategy.

A classical sound track caused a 233 percent jump in bank goer’s perception of the bank as “inspiring”, compared with their perception when no music was playing.

Researchers found that scent enhances a product’s distinctiveness. They had subjects evaluate pencils that were unscented, had a common scent (pine), or had an uncommon scent (tea tree). They found that the subjects remembered the scented pencils to a much higher degree than the unscented pencils, and this differential increased over time.

The researchers found that guys studying bikini-clad girls make worse decisions when presented with a monetary offer.
To begin with, this effect seems to be a short-term one that would be most effective at the point of purchase. The ideal selling situation, no doubt, would be to have bikini-clad babe selling to the guys in person.

Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley, led by Hal Ersner-Hershfield found that having subjects visualize historical alternatives made them more patriotic. Similarly, reflecting on the shaky origins of a company made its employees more positive about the firm.
But, if you avoid the ham-fisted approach and are subtle in introducing alternative scenarios, you will produce the desired positive boost in loyalty and emotion without alienating the other person.

Assuming your product or service is purchased frequently enough, offer your customers a loyalty program. They do work. In addition, keep your customers engaged by letting them monitor their progress and, if possible, reminding them about the program if they haven’t bought in a while.
Beyond the loyalty effect, merely exposing customers to point values at the time of purchase can amplify the effectiveness of the loyalty program. Want to encourage sampling of a new produce or drive upgrades? Try something along the lines of, “1000 extra Rewards Points with every purchase”. Note that bigger numbers may seem more important to consumers, so a little pint inflation could be a good thing.

In Blink, Malcom Galdwell notes that most people who suffer an injury due to doctor negligence don’t use. Based on extensive interviews of injured patients, it turns out that patients who sue have often felt like they were rushed, ignored, or otherwise treated poorly by their physician.
This belief, in turn, is based on the quantity of time spent and the quality of that interactions.

In marketing situations you can still stay honest by using targeted pitches. For example, “As an owner of a Platinum Class suit, you showed you are an individual who can recognize sophisticated styling and superb quality …”

Those seated in hard chairs judged their negotiating partner to be less emotional. Most significantly, the “buyers” in soft chairs increased their offer by nearly 40 percent more than those in hard chairs. In short, not only did a hard chair change the buyers’ perception of their negotiating partners, it made them harder bargainers.

If you want to convey a positive message, use real numbers, not percentages.
Good: 90 percent of our customers rate our services as “excellent”
Better: 9 out of 10 customers rate our service as “excellent”

It turns out that the way companies respond to bad online reviews makes a difference too. A Harris survey showed that 18 percent of those who posted a negative review of the merchant and received a reply ultimately became loyal customers and bought more.
In addition, nearly 70 percent of those consumers receiving replies reversed the negative content either by deleting the bad review or posting a second positive one.

Peck and Shu found that touching an object immediately improved both the level of perceived ownership and positive emotion.

It turns out that reciprocity strategy can work better; give visitors the info they want and then ask for their information. Italian researchers found that twice as many visitors gave up their contact data if they were able to access the information first.

Peck and Shu concluded, “Online retailers who can encourage ownership imagery among potential buyers may be able to increase both perceived ownership and valuation. In the no-touch environment, ownership imagery was powerful in increasing both the feeling of ownership and the amount a consumer was willing to pay”

Brainfluence is such a great book, it’s nearly unbelievable. I would recommend this book to everyone who’s interested in marketing, customer service or just plain psychology. It’s a nice read, the chapters are short and backed by data. Awesome book & recommendation!