Game-Based Marketing | Joselin Linder

Summary of: Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests
By: Joselin Linder


In an era where traditional advertising is losing effectiveness, ‘Game-Based Marketing’ offers an intriguing alternative. This book explores how incorporating gaming elements into marketing campaigns can significantly boost customer engagement and sales. The summary delves into various successful examples, including NBC’s ‘What’s Your iCue?’ and frequent flyer programs, revealing how a well-designed game can create positive brand connections, foster loyalty, and boost revenue. Readers can expect to learn about key concepts such as stickiness, game mechanics, and the psychological aspects of gaming. The summary also discusses the different types of game players, the rise of Generation G, and how to incorporate gamification into employee motivation and reward systems.

Gaming and Marketing: A Winning Combination

Traditional advertising is no longer as effective due to consumers’ increased control over what they watch and listen to. However, games are on the rise and are vying for consumer attention. Adding gaming elements to marketing can boost sales by harnessing the power of play. NBC News successfully created a trivia game called What’s Your iCue? that generated revenue, created a positive brand image, and engendered long-term loyalty. Gaming also creates a “sticky” user experience, resulting in high levels of customer engagement and brand connections. Frequent Flyer Programs and loyalty systems use gaming elements such as point accumulation, level climbing, rewards, and challenges to engender loyalty. Marketers can use indicators of human behavior to construct effective games such as “status and levels,” “points,” “rules,” and “demonstrability.” The future of marketing is in gaming, and savvy marketers who leverage this fact can establish lasting customer engagement and positive brand connections.

The Power of Funware in Interactive Marketing

Interactive marketing is becoming more prominent, and the fusion of game tactics and social media is creating a potent amalgam called funware. It is the art of using gaming devices and games to influence customer behavior and achieve expressed business objectives. Marketers can leverage game mechanics, such as leaderboards and badges, to generate competition, foster customer loyalty, and reward customers’ participation.

Funware allows businesses to tap into customers’ love for competition, playing games, and winning. It offers cost-effective ways to participate and follow games using leaderboards, which track progress and post the names of players. Loyalty programs using point systems with “earning” and “redemption” components, as seen with S&H Green Stamps, are a great way to keep customers’ loyalty as products continue to commoditize.

Games are now competing with advertising for consumer attention, and marketers must find new and creative ways to promote their businesses. Plainly inserting ads inside popular titles won’t suffice. Instead, game designers must create a well-designed game that produces substantial psychological rewards and that customers associate with positive feelings. The virtual rewards that online games offer, such as World of Warcraft, are as powerful as physical prizes.

Earning badges is another visual display of game achievement that people enjoy competing for and displaying on social networking sites like Facebook. The game mechanics of levels and status can also influence customer behavior, with impressive physical prizes garnering media attention and smaller or virtual prizes engendering customer loyalty long-term.

Game designers must continually combat people attempting to get around the system, from slot machine addictions to trying to cheat in a game. However, well-designed games can change employee motivation and influence consumer behavior, with social networking both marketing’s sickness and cure. The future of funware and game design in business is breathtaking.

The Power of Airline Loyalty Programs

American Airlines launched the first Frequent Flyer Program (FFP) in 1981, and today, it remains a successful tool for marketers to increase loyalty and differentiate a brand in a crowded marketplace. FFPs award points per mile flown, which participants can redeem for airplane tickets or vacations. But for many, the status and rewards that come with reaching certain travel milestones are worth more than the actual rewards. Airlines structure their reward systems in a way that encourages passengers to pay for just one additional level of points, resulting in a large revenue increase. FFPs have become experts in offering “status on display” through priority check-ins, security lines, and boarding announcements. With close to 10 trillion unredeemed points in FFP accounts, marketers have responded by offering new levels beyond 100,000-mile membership, such as “million mile” status, that come with lifetime rewards and benefits. By offering benefits that promote status, behavior, and differentiation, loyalty programs attract, retain, and monetize consumers in a socially networked environment.

Types of Game Players

Games have become powerful tools that appeal to a wide audience. Richard Bartle, a behaviorist, categorized four kinds of game players: Achievers, who prioritize high scores and teamwork; Socializers, who value socializing and collaborating; Explorers, who take pleasure in discovering shortcuts and puzzles; and Killers, who thrive on competition. The gaming industry also attracts “naïve” players, who participate passively unless marketers grab their attention. Knowing these player types allows game makers and marketers to engage and retain players by catering to their preferences.

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