'Gamification' takes the field in b-to-b media

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SourceMedia, publisher of American Banker, this month introduced SuperBanker, a mobile Web-based game that was played by attendees at the Best Practices in Retail Financial Services Symposium in Boca Raton, Fla. The company said the game—which awarded points to players for networking with other attendees, visiting exhibitors and answering trivia questions about conference content—was played by 40% of the more than 500 attendees at the event. They accessed the game via an American Banker Events app on iPhones, Android phones or the mobile Web. Media Business asked John DelMauro, senior VP of SourceMedia's conferences and events division, about the impact of “gamification” on the event.

Media Business: What were your goals for the game?

John DelMauro: Our overall goal was to increase attendee and exhibitor engagement by engaging the attendees by peer-to-peer networking, exhibitor engagement and content. They would get points for each of those by going up to one another and connecting with and engaging with (fellow attendees). They would also get points by engaging with exhibitors. They would have trivia questions based upon the content in the sessions, and you would earn points through that as well.

MB: Was the feeling around the event different because of the game?

DelMauro: Absolutely. It was forced networking, but our strategy was to really incent people to take advantage of the game. So we needed some prizes for the winners. (SourceMedia said in a news release that the prizes included T-shirts, gift certificates, mobile devices, resort stays and a grand prize of a $1,000 donation to a charity of the winner's choice.) Once you got to certain levels, you got prizes. Our goal was to make people motivated to play the game, and it worked. We had some power users. Attendees said they felt more confident about approaching other attendees because there was a reason to introduce themselves.

MB: What are your future plans for gamification?

DelMauro: I think we're going to try it in other markets than banking. We have an employee benefit conference coming up in September where we're going to apply the game to that market. The overall strategy is the same principle—really engaging attendees and exhibitors in peer-to-peer interaction.

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