Game-Based Marketing: A Look At All The Way Marketers Engage Us

I must confess, I don’t consider myself much of a gamer. At least not since I left my Atari 2600 behind. I do have a Wii, and I never play it. But there’s no denying that we live in a culture where all sorts of games, electronic or not, are ubiquitous–because all of us who grew up playing games still play some way or another. Marketers have capitalized on this by involving us in games and competitive ideas, whether we’re aware of it or not. For a look at this phenomenon, check out Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges and Contests by Gabe Zichermann and Joselin Linder.
Zichermann and Linder walk us through all sorts of games and contests marketers use–from McDonald’s frequent “Monopoly” to the U.S. Army’s “America’s Army” game. There’s even a look at how the reward system works in frequent flyer programs and at places like Starbucks, even in the absence of a formal contest or game. And that’s where the book gets really interesting: Much of the psychology of games, contests, and rewards is broken down and analyzed. We learn what people respond to, how the mechanics of a good game work, and what marketers should and shouldn’t do when trying to engage customers through games.
So I learned that while I don’t consider myself a gamer, my avid Foursquare playing is just as much a game as Mario Kart. Game-Based Marketing is a easy read, but a great journey through one of marketing’s most valuable, but often over-looked, niches.
Special thanks to John Wiley & Sons who provided me with a copy for review.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.