Are we placing too much focus on gamification at events?

Simon Clayton asks whether gamification and apps like Pokémon Go are really the best way to engage delegates with event content.

Simon Clayton chief ideas officer, RefTech
Simon Clayton chief ideas officer, RefTech

How do you get a Pikachu on a bus?

Look out of your window. Go to a park. Walk down the road; and you will witness the craze that is sweeping our nation. In the few weeks since Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game was launched in the UK, it has taken the country by storm and turned us all into walking zombies transfixed to our phones.

I like the game, it's fun and it gets people outside and doing things. It's helping to tackle childhood obesity like no other government led campaign ever has, and one man even claims to have lost two stone since playing it. But I am dreading the inevitable; the letters, articles and news stories in our industry press talking about how this fun game will impact on how we create and organise events. Any new consumer phenomenon always gets dragged into the events sphere – with the inevitable cry of how it will revolutionise our industry. But Pokémon Go will not impact on events, and I’m finding it hard to even see how gamification in general will either.

Gamification has been heralded as a game changer for conferences and events. But why?

If you can only get delegates to your conference session by making it ‘fun’ or by forcing them to collect a stamp or token towards a prize then I suggest you have a long hard look at your content. If the content is good, but just not relevant to that individual, then ask yourself why you want them to be there? Do you want to present to people who are not interested in your session? What a waste of time for them and you. B2B events don’t have to be dull, but they do have to have a reason to happen, an objective. If you get the objective right you won’t need to encourage people to be engaged, or go to sessions by giving them the opportunity to win a prize.

I hate banging on about this, but if you get the basics right – and have good, relevant content delivered by effective and engaging speakers, then you don’t need the bells and whistles.  I’m still saddened to see so much emphasis placed on new technology and new gimmicks, whilst the basics are ignored.

It’s not going to be too long before a tech company launches a B2B AR game billed as the ‘Pokémon Go for conferences’, but equally -  it’s not going to be too long before it disappears quietly and without a trace.

More:

12 ways technology is going to transform B2B events 

UK agencies invest £200,000 a year in technology 

Event tech not being used 'to full effect', says CWT

• For more breaking news, in-depth features and case studies, sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
In pictures: How events can save the world

The Langham welcomed corporate, agency and association event planners to discuss issues such as crisis management, sustainability, wellbeing, inclusion and harassment in partnership with Ottawa Tourism and the Shaw Centre.

How to make more sustainable food choices for conferences

How to make more sustainable food choices for conferences

Knowing where the food has come from is the first step, says BCD M&E's John Kelly.

Historic Painted Hall re-opens in London

Historic Painted Hall re-opens in London

Restored venue opens at Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, following a two-year conservation project.

7 workplace wellbeing trends of 2019

7 workplace wellbeing trends of 2019

The first article in our wellness report presents ways of looking after the happiness and health of your employees.

You don't need tech to immerse people

You don't need tech to immerse people

You don't need expensive technology to engage audiences, says Karen Kadin of Brands at Work.

DRPG secures sweet deal with client win

DRPG secures sweet deal with client win

An internal awards ceremony for a confectionary brand saw 400 employees recognised for their achievements.

How the industry has changed for venues

How the industry has changed for venues

Director of Lane End Conference Centre reflects on changes to meetings and events since venue opened in 1969.

Audience UK appoints head of experiential

Audience UK appoints head of experiential

Full-service engagement agency appoints Stephen McIntosh as its head of experiential to oversee activations.

In pictures: SOTI Directors Dinner

In pictures: SOTI Directors Dinner

C&IT welcomed directors from the top 50 agencies at the Savoy, in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board.

Venues, hotels and activities in Latin America

Venues, hotels and activities in Latin America

From exploring the famous ancient ruins in Peru to five-star Art Deco luxury by the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro

LATEST JOBS