Thursday, November 15, 2012

Motivate Gamers to Buy Your Products Using the Fogg Behavior Model

The Fogg Behavior Model is one of many models designed to understand exactly what motivates specific behaviors in individuals and groups. This simple yet powerful model can reveal strategies for motivating behavior in almost any context, whether it be changing behavior within a workplace, working with your kids, or motivating consumers to buy products. Of course, we are chiefly interested in how this model can apply to motivating video-game consumers to try a product or service, which can include games, peripherals, platforms or virtually any other product in our industry.

Stated simply, the model presents behavior as the result of a combination of ability, motivation and triggers:

Behavior = Ability + Motivation + Triggers

This simple model can reveal tactics for:

- Increasing the number of microtransactions in a f2p game
- Influencing people to try product demos
- Gaining and maintaining subscriptions
- Increasing retail purchases
- Influencing platform decsions (hardware or software)
- Motivating employees in gaming companies (developers, publishers, retail, etc.)
- Motivating potential investors (traditional or crowdfunded)

Let's go through the three components of the model one at a time, and explore ways that your company can gain leverage in each area.

The ability component relates to the ease (or possibility) of performing a desired behavior. The key to leveraging this component is to make your products as easy as possible to find, try, and purchase. Using the traditional example of retail, if your game is not on the shelf, customers have no ability to buy it.

The retail model has obviously changed in the last 10 years, as digital distribution continues to gain ground over traditional outlets. Still, making your games available online is not as simple as hosting a download link on your website. How easy is it to actually find your download link? Does the link always work? Is there an annoying registration process or other gateway slowing people down as they look for your game? Is the download fast enough (direct download vs. download client vs. torrent, etc.). All of these considerations come into play for this component.

The key question here is, "why should anyone want your product?" What have you done to motivate people to search for your game in the first place? The first, most important, and most often overlooked factor in building motivation is the quality of your product. If you release another genre stereotype, all the marketing in the world won't do much to motivate people to seek out your game. If you've created something unique and compelling, on the other hand, a little marketing spending will go a long way.

Marketing is still very important, even with a game that spawns viral word-of-mouth advertising just by being epic. Carefully craft all of your marketing messages throughout the campaign with the goal of building motivation in mind. Don't just let players know about your
upcoming release; make them want it so bad they need it! What are you doing to drive people crazy over wanting your game?

The trigger component can be the most elusive, but it is no less important than the others. A trigger is something that ties motivation and ability together, and acts as the catalyst that puts behavior into motion. Consider, for example, that your pre-launch marketing campaign has people drooling over your game before it comes out, and that you have set up a solid digital distribution platform. What is going to tell your customers that it is time to satiate their desire and make a purchase? The answer to that question is the trigger. A trigger could be an email blast that tells pre-launch subscribers that a new update is ready to play, or it could be one final push in your advertising schedule that lets people know the game is on store shelves.

Whatever you do in this area, just do something! Do not think that your pre-launch announcements of release dates will be enough to move massive amounts of product on day one. Be just as active in the first few weeks after launch as you were in the weeks prior, letting people know that they now have the ability to satisfy their motivation.

Putting It All Together
I've focused on publishers in the above examples, but I hope this quick summary gets you thinking about ways that you can influence motivation, ability and triggers to achieve desired behaviors in whatever industry segment you may operate, and with whatever target groups you may seek to influence.

For more information on the Fogg Behavior Model, see the whitepaper below:

A Behavior Model for Persuasive Design, BJ Fogg

Photo Credit: imagerymajestic

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