Organizations Take a More Complex View of Motivation

Motivation remains a misunderstood concepts. Many people treat motivation as a singular form instead of separating motivation in separate forms. By dividing motivation into separate forms, organizations' attempts to engage users can be better understood. Motivation should be separated into three forms (e.g., apathetic, extrinsic, intrinsic). Furthermore, extrinsic motivation can be separated by monetary and non-monetary types. Most promotion activities have relied on monetary types of extrinsic motivation (e.g., coupons, rebates, bundles). Social media, though, has given risen to non-monetary types of extrinsic motivation.

Foursquare remains the most obvious example of this trend toward non-monetary type of extrinsic motivation. The service gives out badges as rewards for a specific behavior, ranks groups based on check in activity, and allows users to share information. Its entire business model remains wedded to users' response to non-monetary extrinsic motivation.

In turn, is attempting to expand the number of its users by adding monetary forms of extrinsic motivation (HT: Rex Sorgatz). Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley gives the money quote:

It's experimenting with merchants to figure out a way that we can put products that are monetizable into the Foursquare product, in a way that you don't look at it and say, "I can't believe Foursquare put advertising in the stream." You say, "this is great, there's a $10 discount here."

To recap: Foursquare built its user base through non-monetary extrinsic motivation. In turn, it wants to convince retailers to supply monetary extrinsic motivation, which will attract a different user to Foursquare.

Other companies have found success using this form of motivation, which Natasha Singer erroneously, refers to as gamification. She does discuss Samsung's use of badges for rewarding its users for performing marketing activities and concludes with a reference to Rypple. The company offers software to manage employee performance. The money scenario:

Companies that use its products first devise virtual awards for their employees — like peer badges for the best team player or a special badge given out monthly by the C.E.O. Then they institute a companywide social network where employees create profiles showing their goals and achievements. An accompanying digital newsfeed posts a notice whenever someone earns a merit.

Before social networking arrived, managers had to make do with simply recognizing an employee's behavior in front of other employees. Indeed, this approach seems to give a lot of incentive.

Perhaps when designing an app, organizations should consider providing non-monetary extrinsic motivation to encourage users to download, install, and interact with the app.