Game-Based Marketing | Joselin Linder

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

Introduction

In a world where traditional advertising is rapidly losing its efficacy, ‘Game-Based Marketing’ by Joselin Linder illustrates how incorporating gaming elements into marketing strategies can be a powerful means of capturing customer attention. This book summary outlines how businesses, such as NBC, managed to achieve significant results with the implementation of gaming tactics. Readers will find valuable insights into the reasons behind the prominence of gaming in customer engagement, key components of effective games, the advantages of using virtual currency and rewards, and how using gaming can boost loyalty and enhance brand differentiation.

Gaming for Successful Marketing

Traditional marketing methods are losing their effectiveness as consumers have several ways of avoiding or muting the ads. However, the rise of gaming presents an opportunity for marketers to engage customers in a fun and interactive way. NBC News created a Facebook trivia game called “What’s Your iCue?” which became a hit and generated revenue while creating a positive brand image. This success was possible due to the sticky user experience that gaming provides, resulting in long-term loyalty and higher levels of engagement. Frequent Flyer Programs and other loyalty systems have also leveraged gaming elements to engender loyalty, such as point accumulation, level climbing, rewards, and challenges. By incorporating gaming elements such as “status and levels,” “points,” “rules,” and “demonstrability,” marketers can take advantage of human behavior and construct effective games that not only keep track of who is leading, but also demonstrate success and climb up to new challenges. All in all, savvy marketers can capitalize on the power of games to create lasting engagement and positive brand connections. The future of marketing is games, and it starts today!

Funware: The Future of Marketing

Funware, a marketing strategy that combines game tactics with social media, is becoming increasingly popular. Author Gabe Zichermann explains how using game mechanics like leaderboards and virtual rewards, as well as badges and levels, can influence consumer behavior, increase customer loyalty, and change employee motivation. This summary highlights the importance of loyalty in today’s market and the power of well-designed games to produce psychological rewards.

Interactive marketing is gaining momentum, with social media leading the way. By combining game tactics with social media, marketers have found an effective strategy that creates a powerful amalgamation. This tactic is known as “funware,” a term coined by author Gabe Zichermann. Funware is the art of using games and gaming devices to influence customer behavior and achieve business objectives.

People enjoy competing, playing games, and winning. They also have a unique interest in observing other people’s competition, as demonstrated by the popularity of television game shows. Even if the prizes are small, symbolic, or virtual, people relish the process of participating in a game, and they enjoy competing against themselves when they’re not vying against others. As products become commoditized, loyalty is what keeps people buying.

Game mechanics are the elements of games that designers use to initiate and facilitate play. Leaderboards and virtual rewards are two examples of game mechanics that can influence consumer behavior. Leaderboards post the names of players and their position within a game, or they track the progress of a game. A leaderboard can spark the desire to participate or follow a game in a cost-effective way. An example of a simple leaderboard is a sign at a construction site that boasts, “190 Days Since Our Last Accident.” An example of a leaderboard that encourages positive behavior is a gym that posts the names of participants in a weight-loss program and awards points for pounds or a percentage of weight lost.

S&H Green Stamps was one of the longest-lasting loyalty programs in the United States and an excellent example of a point system that was in operation. People received stamps when making a purchase, and the stamps were redeemable for merchandise available at Green Stamp stores or by catalog. The points in loyalty programs go by different names such as coins or gold, but they serve an identical purpose. All point systems have an earning component and a redemption component. However, marketers do not need to offer real-world physical prizes to make the programs effective. Virtual currency can be just as powerful as a motivator. For example, people trade the virtual gold offered by World of Warcraft, making any point redemption system more cost-effective.

Games that require skill to win or rely on chance and luck, like lotteries, can influence consumer behavior. Most games of chance require participants to complete a simple act, such as buying a ticket or filling out a form, to qualify for a draw or a similar event. Psychologists call players’ addiction to these types of games “operant conditioning.” Marketers can use this premise to reward specific behavior. Badge systems, such as the merit badges that Boy Scouts earn, are a visual display of game achievement. Online, people enjoy competing for and displaying badges on social networking sites such as Facebook. Marketers can use the game mechanics of levels and status to influence consumer behavior. Big and impressive prizes garner media attention, while smaller or virtual prizes engender long-term customer loyalty.

A well-designed game can produce substantial psychological rewards. Games are competing with advertising for consumer attention, and simply placing ads inside popular titles will not regain customers’ lost affections. The future of funware and game design in business is breathtaking. Marketers need to learn how to combat people trying to circumvent the system to reap the maximum benefits of using funware in marketing.

Loyalty Programs: Driving Behavior and Sales

Loyalty programs have become a powerful tool for marketers to increase customer loyalty, influence behavior, and differentiate their brand in a crowded marketplace. First launched by American Airlines in 1981, frequent flyer programs (FFPs) award points per mile flown that can be redeemed for travel perks such as priority boarding, seat upgrades, discounted hotel rooms, and car rentals. United Airlines has strategically structured its reward system to encourage passengers to pay for one additional level of points, resulting in a large revenue increase. For many FFP participants, accumulating points and achieving status is more important than actually redeeming rewards. However, airlines have found success in offering new levels of membership, such as “million mile,” that come with lifetime rewards and benefits. FFPs provide a way to cut through the noise of a competitive marketplace and incentivize customers to engage with a brand and increase their spending.

Understanding Game Player Types

Learn about Bartle’s Four Player Types and How They Impact Gaming

In his research, professor and behaviorist Richard Bartle identified four distinct game player types: Achievers, Socializers, Explorers, and Killers. Achievers enjoy the process of playing and like working with others, while Socializers thrive on the social aspects of gaming. Explorers take pleasure in game elements like accumulating points, discovering shortcuts, and figuring out puzzles, while Killers have a win-at-all-costs mentality. However, Bartle’s player types aren’t the only ones to consider. Naive players, who participate unintentionally, slow game play down unless marketers can capture their attention and convert them into active participants. By understanding player types, the growing power of games can be harnessed to create impactful gaming experiences.

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