Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Game-Based Marketing Author Shares Insights On Scoring Loyalty Points With Funware

In an era where the Internet reigns supreme and social interactions account for a large portion of consumers’ online activity, the ever-present question is how to integrate these trends into marketing. Videogame innovator and entrepreneur Game Zichermann explores the concept of “Funware,” a new model for incorporating and leveraging games and game mechanics to reach today’s customers, in his book “Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges and Contests.”

Retail TouchPoints had the chance to catch up with Zichermann to learn more about what motivates consumers best, content that sticks and how the lessons from Facebook’s Farmville game can be leveraged in retail.

Retail TouchPoints: Although the Internet has been established as a place to harvest buzz and social interactions, a marketing model that actually leads to reliable revenue is not in plain sight. What are your thoughts on this? How does game-based marketing integrate?

Gabe Zichermann: While Google has been a major force in driving the discoverability of brands and retailers online, the massive concentration of pay-per-click advertising in their channel plus the ease of browsing online have eroded e-retail brand relationships substantially. “Game-Based Marketing” is the first book to really look at how brands can engage with consumers using the tricks and techniques of videogames. Competitive, leading edge companies like Foursquare, Chase and the US Army cut through the clutter and create lasting, durable loyalty through game mechanics like points, badges, levels, challenges and rewards.

RTP: A key component to the book is the concept of “Funware.” Can you give our readers a flavor for what this is and how retailers can leverage it to their advantage?

Zichermann: “Funware” is the use of game mechanics in non-game contexts, and really springs from the notion that any consumer experience can be made more fun, and through fun, more engaging. One of the simplest “big picture” ideas for retailers is to leverage the lessons of Farmville and refocus loyalty rewards away from discounts and merchandise to “soft” or virtual goods. Example after example shows that consumers are equally motivated by status as they are by cash or prizes, which means that retailers can offer cheaper rewards (virtual branded merchandise, early access to new products/services) in lieu of costly rewards. Such a switch will actually improve retention and sociability (especially among younger demographics) while vastly reducing loyalty program costs.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/dkp2Uo

Internet Gambling Firms Await U.S. Repeal

Nearly four years after the U.S. outlawed online gambling, devastating British providers like PartyGaming, tax-hungry lawmakers could soon reverse the ban.

May 20, 2010: summarized from Bloomberg Businessweek -- London's online gambling giants, led by PartyGaming (PYGMF) and 888.com (EIHDF), are eyeing a return to the vast and lucrative market that dramatically shut the door on them three and a half years ago: the US.

When American lawmakers banned internet gambling in 2006, they cratered the share prices of companies which had built almost their whole businesses on offering online poker, casinos and sports betting to US customers from their offshore hubs, all funded from equity fundraisings on the London Stock Exchange.

But now there is optimism that the ban might be reversed. The reason? The same cocktail that brought Prohibition to an end during the Great Depression, a realization that the ban is not working mixed with the lure of tax revenues from a legalized industry.

PartyGaming is in negotiations with bricks-and-mortar casino operators in the US about possible joint ventures, should the laws be relaxed at a federal level or by individual states, and 888.com, too, is "staying close" to the American casino chain Harrah's Entertainment, with which it already has a tie-up in the UK. Other online sites, too, are ready to jump in with partnership deals or under their own brands, should the law change.

It was for this reason that executives across the industry were yesterday glued to a webcast of a sparsely attended hearing in the bowels of Congress, in front of the Senate's Ways and Means Committee. The event gave a hearing to the two lawmakers who are pushing for a reversal of the ban, testing the waters to see if there might be political momentum behind their idea.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/91yStL

Research Report: Blurring the Landscape: How TV is Merging Digital and Traditional Media

There is a lot of debate right now about how online video and television can work together. The possibilities of digital TV and its place and time-shifting capabilities mean that the line between digital and traditional is increasingly blurred. Online video goes well beyond simply repurposing television content – with opportunities that extend the reach of TV, encourage interactivity and engagement. For agencies and brands, there is a clear need to know how these two platforms – TV and online video – work together; publishers can also benefit from a solid understanding of the interplay between premium-content online video and TV.

Download report at: http://scr.bi/bQJaEU

Research Report: The Future of Social Relations

The social benefits of internet use will far outweigh the negatives over the next decade, according to experts who responded to a survey about the future of the internet. They say this is because email, social networks, and other online tools offer ‘low‐friction’ opportunities to create, enhance, and rediscover social ties that make a difference in people’s lives. The internet lowers traditional communications constraints of cost, geography, and time; and it supports the type of open information sharing that brings people together.

Download report at: http://scr.bi/9m4937