Level 1: Understanding the Audience (Millennials & Gen Z)

What do the Boy Scouts of America, American Airlines, and McDonald’s all have in common? They are all early examples of gamification. The Boy Scouts gave out merit badges to recognize its members’ achievements, American Airlines introduced the first Frequent Flier program, and McDonald’s allowed its customers to play Monopoly with each order. The definition of gamification is the application of game-style elements to unrelated tasks as a means to motivate. The term “gamification” is relatively new, being coined in 2002. Because of this, Millennials and Gen Z have become the primary target for gamification.

Millennials, popularly defined by their birth year as 1981 to 1996, currently dominate the workforce, often with a new set of rules and rituals. Gen Z, those born between 1997–2005 (15–23 years old in 2020), start to jump into the workforce and will be our new human source in the future. Now business owners are starting to think about how to make the onboarding process more engaging to the young workers. Product marketing campaigns are gaining more entertaining activities, adding more rewards, and games. In order to learn more about how to make the young generations spend more time on work or products, business owners nowadays create different ways to increase engagement.

Below are some traits that unify and distinguish these two generations:

1.Digital Natives: The cutoff that separates Millennials from Gen Z is somewhat arbitrary, but is often attributed to these generations’ relationship with technology. Millennials came of age during the popularization of the internet and adapted to the huge shift in communication and connectivity, while those born after 1996, it was a given. We were already on iPhone 4 before Gen Z had reached their teenage years.

2.Generation Me: Because Millennials’ parents are typically from the ’70s, Millennials were raised to have high self-esteem; that paired with fact the fact they have access to technology that tracks their location, genetic history, and Chipotle orders lead to Millennials being three times more likely to display narcissistic traits than past generations. This high level of self-worth also results in leaving Millennials susceptible to unmet expectations — reporting they do not receive enough respect or satisfaction from their careers or romantic relationships.

3. Entrepreneurial Spirited: Young workers report to having an average of six different full-time employers by their late 20’s. Entering the workforce during the country’s worst recession in recent history, 49% of Millennials have reported taking a job they did not desire to pay the bills, and 35% have returned to school to seek better opportunities. Because of this distrust in job satisfaction and job security, young people have turned to self-employment and side hustles.

4. No Car Needed: There are many reasons why young people are less likely to own cars, such as ridesharing, fear of capital purchases, or environmental awareness. Instead, Millennials and Gen Z are driven by experience and value. They love to travel and value the experience more than material things. Material things are not what they pursue, they are seeking the purpose of life and they want to live a meaningful life. They believe they are unique and can contribute to the world and are not afraid of speaking out. They believe the world will be better because of them.

5. Social Grouping: Since they are always online and connected, the younger generations love to share their life on social media and easily get influenced by influencers. They want to be cool, different, unique, and stay popular on social media. They have their own group and always on top of what is trendy and know the news in their tribe. Millennials are more team-oriented. They love working with their team and value teamwork. Gen Z doesn’t like to follow instructions. They love to explore and make their own decisions about the tasks.

Here are some examples of how gamification can be used to engage Millennials and Gen Z:

1. Spirit: As mentioned before, the younger generations are seeking experience and self-value. Having a sense of achievement and feeling self-importance will keep them coming back and increase engagement. Video games, social media, and some marketing campaigns have been using badges, levels, scores, daily rewards, daily missions, progress bars, points, coins, social sharing, and leaderboards to encourage them to keep engaging in the game, products, education, and such.

2. Consistency: Smartphones, social media, collaborative apps, and other online platforms keep Millenials and Gen Z always connected. It is the advantage of digital gamification tools and software to be accessed anytime anywhere by Millenials and Gen Z. Since gamification has a structure similar to game — from easy to hard, small reward to big reward. It is easy to see the big picture breaks down to bite-size and being achieved systematically by the progress bar.

3. Challenge the young generations: According to the research, more than 70% of the young generations claimed they would be more productive if the task is more game-oriented.

4. Social competitive behavior change: By friendly competition with their peers, it encourages the young generations to repeat and overcome the difficulties to get social recognition.

5. Instant: Through gamification, people can get instant feedback whether they did it right or wrong. It measures the performance and lets people know how to improve next time.

6. Reward system: By giving the reward after the hard tasks, education, or training, the young generations can get a sense of achievement and want to do more.

Gamification has been wildly considered an effective way of changing the young generations’ behaviors. Getting a more immersive experience through gamification, create a sense of achievement, and adding fun to the whole experience will be an important issue for business owners or product campaign owners.

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