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Unlock Your Audience With Achievement Motivation

If you’re a child of a certain era, you know the do-do-do-do of the Super Mario Bros. video game theme. That music was the backbeat of the game as you went from level to level with the goal of saving Princess Peach. 

But then you encounter Toad after defeating Bowser. The little mushroom deflates your achievement by telling you the princess is in another castle. So the game is far from over. 

Those are the same triggers you can use to keep your users engaged, giving them specific, challenging and meaningful tasks. This urges them to keep going until they save the Princess of your product. 

This is your guide to using Achievement Motivation Theory to increase user motivation and product engagement. Ready, set… START!

Super Mario Bros.

Sorry, Mario, but the game’s not over yet. (Photo Credit: NES)

What is Exactly is Achievement Motivation Theory?

We all like completing tasks. Checking off the boxes as we go from task to task. We feel accomplished. And we get a boost of dopamine, to boot.

So there’s a deep-rooted psychological need to achieve. A drive to finish something so we get that sweet, sweet satisfaction high from doing so. But more than that, we want to win. And we want to win big through a substantial goal. Like saving Princess Peach.

Why the Idea of Achievement is So Motivating

The need for achievement keeps us going. We seek out meaningful challenges while tracking our progress. Like working out. We take in the data points (weight loss, muscle mass gain, fat loss) and scribble them into a journal.

Not to get too deep into the psychological weeds, but this falls into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as self-actualization. We want to be better. So we strive to do so in the tasks we complete toward a higher goal. We level up.

It’s why we compete with others and ourselves. Play the game. Until we win. For the reward of dopamine, the praise of doing a good job, and the validation that we can do something we thought previously impossible.

Super Mario gets another game.

Yay! You’ve saved Princess Peach, but you’re not done yet! (Photo Credit: NES)

Now you’ll want to continue and learn how to leverage that need to win with your product.

How to Drive Product Adoption Using Achievement Motivation

The need for achievement might be the secret sauce your product needs to get more adoption, especially in the early stages. Once you’ve hooked users into your product, you’ll want to motivate them to stay through actions.

Achievement motivation is handy for that part. You’ll want to offer users challenges through tasks and goals. Things they can unlock and achieve through some good ol’ gamification.

  • User onboarding should be continuous. Onboarding shouldn’t have a final stage. For Mario after saving the Princess, there’s still more game to play. Same with onboarding. It’s ongoing with new features to learn and use. 
  • Make achievements personal. The tasks should be relevant to your users. You don’t just want them to complete tasks because of the product’s needs. Turn the product’s needs into a user’s want and desire. LinkedIn is good at this. They use copy to turn it around on the user, saying things like “What Are You Most Interested In.” Bonus: this also makes it social. And everyone likes to join the bandwagon.
  • Ranks, Badges, and Rewards. This goes back to gamification. After all, completing a task or achieving a goal deserves a reward. Imagine if all Rocky got after winning the fight was just a pat on the back. Duolingo and ToDo are really good at gamification. Give them a reward of some kind for accomplishing what you wanted them to do.

Now go forth and set up those challenging levels and trails so your users can get the princess! And here’s your reward for completing this article — the Japanese lyrics to Super Mario Brothers!

Achievement unlocked!

Now Test Drive Your Customer’s Engagement

Helio helps you take your customer engagement for a spin with this easy peasy template. You’ll figure out whether there’s enough achievement to motivate your customers. 

Consumer Motivation Test

Why do your customers engage with your brand? A consumer motivation survey is one way to both develop customer relationships and gain insight into your customer’s journey.

Use this template for:

  • Understand what motivates your customers to stick around
  • Figure out where achievement motivation might help increase engagement
  • Understand the points where your customers get bored with your product/service
Use Template