Hey, everybody! Let me enlighten you on the premise of this blogger account. We are a bunch of (cough) highly-intelligent, motivationally driven students studying New Media at Swansea University, tasked with researching an area of our choice from the module. Naturally, we chose the one thing on the list we had never heard of and had no idea what on earth it could be. This was ‘Gamification as a marketing tool’. As such we will be posting various case studies, videos, articles and pictures which illustrate our research and develop an understanding of this alien concept with the positives and negatives it breeds.
Gamification, a concept all of us in our group were not accustomed to when we started this New Media module. However once we delved into the vast world of resources readily available from the internet, we could see that the model of Gamification is simple and more visible than you may think.
So what is Gamification? Concisely it’s the concept of applying game-mechanics or concepts to a task which is devoid of them in the norm. Put simply its taking a day to day task and applying any kind of game criteria to it; targets, goals, levels etc. A prime example of this in marketing would be loyalty bonuses for shopping, such as Tesco’s Clubcard scheme, shoppers are rewarded for shopping with points which lead to a discounts and offers on their next shop. Therefore the more they shop, the more points they gain and in turn the more rewards they receive. The Clubcard scheme shows how powerful Gamification can be as a marketing tool and also highlights how long this concept has been around. In terms of marketing Gamification can also be used as a tool to gain market research, game related consumer surveys would be the most obvious example of this, but recent advances in technology and the mainstream grasping of location technology has led to an amalgamation of loyalty and market research. Applications such as ‘Foursquare’ allow consumers to gain bonuses for repeatedly visiting the same businesses whilst providing market data for the businesses themselves. (Both of the above schemes/apps will be covered in later case studies.)
How effective is Gamification? Well if you were to listen to Ian Bogost you side to believe that “Gamification is bullshit.” Or to elaborate further: “More specifically, Gamification is marketing bullshit, invented by consultants as a means to capture the wild, coveted beast that is videogames and to domesticate it for use in the grey, hopeless wasteland of big business, where bullshit already reigns anyway.” Bogost clearly isn’t a fan of our projects topic; he argues that Gamification focuses too heavily on levels and points, instead of highlighting primary features such as interactions with behavioural complexity. He goes on to clarify that this doesn’t matter to the companies using it because all they can focus on is finalising a sale, which Gamification effectively does. Although Bogost clearly disagrees with the strategies used within the current yardstick of Gamification used by mainstream companies today, he never doubts its effectiveness, only its moral integrity when slumbered into gaming categories. This stands to reason that Gamification does clearly have a place within marketing and research, albeit misconstrued in a gaming sense.
Hopefully now we have some background knowledge of this concept to draw upon and use when studying our case studies and discovering the ever expanding world of Gamification.