Badges, points, leader boards, and titles like “mayor” are no longer relegated to Foursquare or Farmville. They are popping up everywhere in marketing campaigns, rewarding consumers for all types of desired behavior.
While the promise is high, most marketing applications I’ve seen have been very superficial, as if gameplay can magically make a non-engaging brand engaging. And as if valueless rewards will somehow be perceived as valuable.
Games designer Sebastian Deterding wrote,
“Gamification proponents consider game elements to be a kind of monosodium glutamate you can just add to any interface, application or service to give it a kick, to make it more fun, motivating, and engagement … Games are not fun because they’re games, but when they are well-designed”
Sebastian expanded these insights in a talk at last year’s Playful conference: “Pawned. Gamification and its Discontents”. Before you try to “gamify” your marketing, his presentation is a good primer to read.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post. I’ll pick one comment at 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)