Gamification: An Engaging Way for Pharmas to Interact With Target Audiences


Generating engagement with target audiences ranging from healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients to sales reps is one of the toughest challenges pharmas face today.

And it’s only going to get tougher as the changing states of digital behavior, hospital sales rep visit policies, and compliance issues continue to reduce attention spans and facetime with HCPs.

In order to grab and hold the attention of key audiences — both internal and external — in today’s digital world, pharmas must deliver interactive and engaging content that motivates them to take action.

One fun and engaging way to do that is through gamification.

What Is Gamification?

Gamification is the concept of using gaming elements to increase user engagement in digital platforms such as web and mobile applications created by non-game industry companies.

Gaming elements include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Knowledge Sharing: Enabling users to assist each other by answering questions enhances engagement by motivating knowledge sharing through rewards (e.g. points) or even goodwill.

  • Competition/Leaderboards: Ranking users by their score or other criteria gives users a way to compare their status to other users when it comes to challenges involving real/in-game rewards.

  • Badges/Accomplishments: Rewarding users with “badges” for achievements encourages them to gain distinction in a company’s web or mobile app.

  • Experience Points System: Solving challenges to gain “experience points” gives users motivation to “level up” to access to new content, challenges, and features.

  • Rewards (Real/In-game): Offering real or in-game rewards to users for completing challenges is a powerful motivating factor for engagement.

Gamification apps can not only make training and educational content engaging — but measurable as well.

In fact, engagement metrics such as unique visitors, visit frequency, page depth, and conversions can be measured and optimized to improve a gamification app’s user experience and content.

How Can Gamification be Applied?

When it comes to gamification, many non-gaming companies in industries ranging from insurance to healthcare face a similar dilemma — how can we apply it to our business?

The answer to that question can often be found by answering another important set of questions:

A) Who is your target internal/external audience? (e.g. sales force, customer service, HCPs, patients)

B) What actions do you want your target users to take? (e.g. read more content, share more content, use a web/mobile app feature more frequently)

C) What business goals do you want to accomplish? (e.g. improve brand awareness, sales training effectiveness, brand loyalty)

Once those questions have been answered, it will be much easier to apply gamification in a variety of contexts including, but not limited to:

  • eLearning
  • Sales Training
  • Interactive Video Aids
  • Recruiting
  • Marketing
  • Customer Retention

For example:

A global pharmaceutical company in an emerging market nation with a high prevalence of diabetes wanted to increase disease awareness in children aged 10 and under.

To promote disease awareness, the pharma created a gamification app consisting of the "player" collecting various foods that would either raise (e.g. candy and other high-sugar foods) or lower (e.g. low-sugar fruits, vegetables, etc.) a blood-sugar “bar.”

To advance to the next level, a player’s character would need to collect enough “healthy” foods and “insulin” vials to keep the insulin bar to a healthy level. Players could also earn points on each level that could be used to unlock accessories to customize their character’s appearance.

Children playing the game would learn about the effects of diabetes and high-sugar foods on their blood-sugar levels.

How Are You Using Gamification?

Gamification isn't for every company. But if there is a critical need to drive audience engagement with the company's educational and training content — few options work better than gamification.

Of course, not every company has the in-house digital, design, and development expertise needed to create a web or mobile gamification application.

In such instances, working with an experienced digital innovation agency that applies user experience (UX) design principles can help you develop a gamification app that is effective and engaging.

What are some other intersting ways gamification can be applied to engage your customers and/or employees? Share your thoughts and experiences with us by commenting below!

Image Credit: Pixabay