Game-Based Marketing: A Book Review

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Gabe Zichermann is a leading authority in the world of gamification, which has become one of the hottest trends in marketing today. Gabe is a prominent public speaker on the subject matter of gamification, user engagement, and behavioural design.

Gabe's book, "Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests" is a great introduction to the topic for those wanting to know more about the psychology at play when utilising game mechanics within marketing campaigns.

The Gamify team, being fans of all things gamification has read the book and we have found that the book provides a comprehensive overview of gamification and how it can be used to motivate customers and increase loyalty.

It also includes case studies of businesses that have successfully implemented gamification strategies.

Gamification is revolutionising the web and mobile apps. Innovative startups, growth companies, and established brands all agree that the most powerful way to inspire customer loyalty with a vibrant community is through the use of game mechanics within your marketing mix.

By leveraging points, levels, badges, challenges, rewards and leaderboards these innovators are dramatically lowering their customer acquisition costs, increasing engagement and building sustainable, viral communities.

Game-Based Marketing illustrates the pervasiveness of games today in business marketing, and how to better use them to create an engaged and loyal customer base. Game-Based Marketing covers the following:

  • Explaining the growing phenomenon of game-based marketing and how it works

  • Showing marketers how to develop games to incorporate into their marketing strategy

  • Sharing fascinating examples of marketing games already in play including; Chase Picks Up The Tab; the iconic McDonald’s Monopoly Game that reportedly generates nearly one-hundred million dollars in incremental revenue per year; and United Airlines Mileage Plus where team pint competitions and real-world scavenger hunts for miles accrue millions annually.

Top 5 Ways to Gamify Your Business

From Wordle to frequent fliers points, playing "everyday games" has become nothing short of a pop culture obsession. Driving unprecedented consumer engagement to smart brands like Chase and the US Army, loyalty programs and marketing games are marketing’s best bet for the future of advertising.

Game-Based Marketing covers the power of games in your marketing through to following 5 easy steps:

1. What consumer behaviour are you trying to drive? 

Don’t just think about broad or bottom line objectives (“more engagement”, “greater brand exposure”) when considering ways in which you’d like to effect the behaviour of your consumer base, but instead, focus in on easy-to-achieve activities that will have an overall impact on your bottom line.

For example: incentivise the sending of product endorsements to friends. The more specific you can be, the easier it is to build game mechanics around. Some behaviours are best left un-incentivised, however, a topic which is covered closely in Chapters 1 & 2.

2. Assign points to those behaviours

Think about how much value each of the behaviours has to your business and assign points to each action accordingly. Points should be weighed relatively, so if opening a new account is ten times more valuable than clicking on an advertiser’s link, make sure the point system reflects that reality.

Point system functionality is covered in chapters 3 & 4.

3. Create a leaderboard to display points 

Just like the Employee of the Month plaques at restaurants, create a socially-networked leaderboard that allows users to feel like they are accomplishing something relative to their friends and peers—A little encouragement goes a long way. You’ll find a plethora of leaderboard dos & don’ts in Chapter 4.

4. Develop challenges and message them

Just like Frequent Flyer promotions, creating simple challenges can have a profound effect on user behaviour once they are connected to your community. Keep your challenges fresh and topical by knowing your players – Chapter 7 gives you riveting insight on exactly who is playing.

5. Make “fun” your goal! 

Whether your business is finance or funerary, making fun a principal objective will substantially increase consumer engagement and generate remarkable new revenue opportunities. Chapter 8 shows you the future and how Generation G – today’s tweens – are driving ‘funnovation’ in every industry.

There are plenty more tips in store – from why cash, or even real-world prizes just don’t matter as much as you think, to how you can compete against well-funded incumbents without much capital.

Game-Based Marketing explores "Funware," a new model for incorporating and leveraging games and game mechanics to reach today's customers.

Behaviourally based, Funware will give you strategic insight into the deep-seated impulses and habits that drive our socially networked marketplace.

In this groundbreaking guide, you'll discover which game-based marketing programs have already generated millions in revenue and produced the world's most loyal and engaged customers.

You'll get a firsthand look at how this powerful approach applies to the new world of social media. Most importantly, you'll see how to create game-based marketing plans that measurably increase both sales and profits.

Game-Based Marketing gives you practical guidance on adding games and gaming concepts to your marketing toolbox, including:

  • How to cut through the media noise to use games more effectively

  • Why "free to play" designs are irresistible to customers and lead to long-term revenue

  • How to leverage the passive games people are playing every day without even realizing it

  • How to create virtual economies and link them to your real-world business objectives

  • Who the different types of gamers are, and how to reach them—even when they're not "intentionally playing"

  • How to use games internally to motivate employees and boost sales

  • How to find the best game-based techniques for communicating with youth markets

  • And much more



Game-Based Marketing unlocks the design secrets of mega-successful games like Zynga's Farmville, World of Warcraft, Bejeweled and Project Runway to give you the power to create winning game-like experiences on your web and mobile apps.

This book brings together the game mechanics expertise of a decade's worth of research. Driven equally by big companies, startups, 40-year-old men and tween girls, the world is becoming increasingly more fun.

Overall, I found Game-Based Marketing to be an informative read. If you're interested in learning more about gamification and how to incorporate it into your marketing strategy, I would recommend giving this book a try.

If you're interested in learning more about this exciting new trend, then I recommend reading this book.

And if you're interested in developing a gamification campaign, contact Gamify today!

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