Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Most Powerful Force in the Universe? Games.

May 7, 2010: summarized from the Huffington Post -- If someone asked me what the most powerful forces in the universe were, I would answer gravity, love and chocolate. Not necessarily in that order. But according to Gabe Zichermann, author of the new book Game-Based Marketing I'm totally wrong. Games are the most powerful force in the universe. Sounds incredulous right? I mean if you put 1,000 people in front of Mario Bros. or a chocolate covered cannoli I'm guessing 90% are heading for the cannoli.

But as Zichermann explains, "Games make people act against their best interests, predictably and without force." Well when you put it like that...

The book introduces marketers to the concept of "funware," the art and science of turning your customers' everyday interactions into "games" that serve your business purposes. Many brands are already using the funware concept to market their products. Airline Frequent Flier programs are the granddaddy of game-based marketing, but companies like Chase and McDonalds have also used the concept with great success.

When I asked Zichermann how he came up with the concept I figured I would hear some jargon about university studies and psychologists. Instead I got a story about a Grande Non-Fat Latte. Zichermann was on his daily Starbucks run and instead of waiting in line to order, the baristas knew his drink and would start preparing it the second he walked in the door. Doesn't sound very impressive - until he realized that this one small move was saving him 50 hours per year. "OMG," he thought, "I just leveled up at Starbucks."

"Leveling up" and "Starbucks" shouldn't normally go together, which is precisely the point. Games are all around us, whether we realize it or not. Many of our daily decisions, whether they be which airline to choose for our next flight, or which credit card to use when paying for lunch, are fueled by the games that marketers are playing with us. These marketing tactics can be explained by the common terminology used by video game designers, which is precisely what Game-Based Marketing attempts to do.

"Game mechanics work in so many spheres, from Casinos, to sales teams," the author explains. "When you apply game mechanics such as loyalty, status and upgrades to tasks that are not normally fun, I don't know that it will always work, but I know that it can't hurt." I agree. After all, who couldn't use a little more fun in their life?

Read more at: http://huff.to/9UqOPm

PlayAway on Facebook Wins Place Among Casino Journal’s Top 20 Most Innovative Products

May 6, 2010: summarized from Casino Journal Magazine -- If there’s a thread that pulls together Casino Journal’s Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products Awards for 2009, it’s that the future really is now. The products that made the grade represent forward-thinking, novel concepts designed to take casinos to the next level.

With more than 350 million users on Facebook it’s no secret that casinos have been eager to capitalize on the social media phenomenon. GameLogic’s PlayAway on Facebook is designed to get them there.

With PlayAway, for the fi rst time, casinos can directly leverage Facebook’s most popular activity, games, by running free-to-play games such as slots, poker and bingo tournaments directly inside the Facebook world.

PlayAway also is viral in its design, which helps to harness the real power of social media. GameLogic brings its Software as a Service (SaaS) approach to interactive marketing to deliver a rich social media tool set in a way that is easy to implement and cost-effective to operate. Further, PlayAway supports connectivity among all major casino management systems. And of course it also conforms to all Facebook protocols and APIs.

Judges were enthusiastic. “Can’t wait to use it,” said one.

Another called PlayAway “a great addition to a property’s marketing arsenal.”

“Social media marketing is becoming increasingly important for the casino industry,” he noted. “This product would add interactivity to a casino’s Facebook marketing in a way that would increase customer loyalty and provide additional opportunities for implementation in a SBG ‘Service Window’ application.”

Read more at: http://bit.ly/c3gWJl

Why You Need to Own Your Community

April 28, 2010: summarized from Chief Marketer -- As you’ve probably seen, Ning recently upset thousands of its users by announcing that it would no longer offer a free version of its online community platform.

Understandably, many people were not happy that they would have to start paying to keep their community on Ning. This also raised another issue: If you wanted to move your community off Ning, how would you do it?

The good news is that a few smaller open-source platforms stepped up and said they’d help people migrate their community from Ning to their solution.

While this Ning situation was unfortunate for community owners, it brings to light an interesting issue: the importance of owning your community data and platform.

For companies that are serious about building a community that fits with their business goals, owning the data from that community is a must—for a variety of reasons.

First and most important, you need to have access to the data for marketing purposes so that you can measure everything that’s going on in the community. What kind of content is effective? What are community members sharing and discussing? What are they buying? Which community members are the most active? Which are the most likely to invite friends?

Owning this data so you can study them and compare the value of community members to noncommunity members is essential to measuring return on investment and determining the success of your community. Ideally you’d have a platform that integrates with your overall database so that you could learn how your community members are different from your general customers.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/cRyo3Q