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Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests [Hardcover]

Gabe Zichermann , Joselin Linder

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Book Description

March 29 2010
Harness the power of games to create extraordinary customer engagement with Game-Based Marketing.

Gamification is revolutionizing the web and mobile apps.

Innovative startups like Foursquare and Swoopo, growth companies like Gilt and Groupon and established brands like United Airlines and Nike all agree: the most powerful way to create and engage a vibrant community is with game mechanics. 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 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 site/apps. Avoid obvious pitfalls and learn from the masters with key insights, such as:

  • Why good leaderboards shouldn’t feature the Top 10 players.
  • Most games are played as an excuse to socialize, not to achieve.
  • Status is worth 10x more than cash to most consumers.
  • Badges are not enough: but they are important.
  • You don’t need to offer real-world prizing to run a blockbuster sweepstakes.

And learn even more:

  • How to architect a point system that works
  • Designing the funware loop: the basics of points, badges, levels, leaderboards and challenges
  • Maximizing the value and impact of badges
  • Future-proofing your design
  • Challenging users without distraction

Based on the groundbreaking work of game expert and successful entrepreneur Gabe Zichermann, Game-Based Marketing 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.

Are you ready to play?

Product Details

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

TV advertising has "jumped the shark." Online advertising and marketing promises to fill the gap, but despite enthusiasm for buzz-generation and the value of social networks, no one has outlined a workable marketing model that actually leads to reliable revenue . . . until now.

Written by videogame innovator and entrepreneur Gabe Zichermann and writer Joselin Linder, Game-Based Marketing explores "Funware," a new model for incorporating and leveraging games and game mechanics to reach today's customers. Behaviorally 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

Filled with case studies from leading brands such as NBC, United Airlines, the U.S. Army, and more, Game-Based Marketing examines how Funware delivers results today and will be an integral marketing channel tomorrow. Use the tools in this book to reinvent your marketing strategy, or you might be out of the game altogether.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Game-Based Marketing

"If you haven't applied games to marketing, advertising, or brand management, you'll want to get and study this book—or it could be game over for you."—Jonathan Epstein, CEO, Double Fusion, and former EVP, IGN/GameSpy

"The power of games to affect consumer behavior is almost limitless, and examples are all around us. Game-Based Marketing is the first comprehensive look at combining the power of games with marketing to create an exciting new user paradigm: Funware. This is clearly the future."—Joel Brodie, CEO and founder,

"Games are busting out of their traditional borders. No one knows that better than Gabe Zichermann who hit upon the insight early on that everybody, not just game-makers, should use game-like tricks to enthrall fans."—Dean Takahashi, Editor, VentureBeat

"If you think games have already taken over the living room, wait until you see what they can do to advertising. Authors Zichermann and Linder have put forth cutting-edge concepts about the power of game design in non-gaming contexts. And you get five achievement points if you read this endorsement."—Bing Gordon, Venture Partner, KPCB, and former CCO, Electronic Arts

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good concept, poorly executed Dec 4 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am totally on board with the authors' main concept, which is why it was so frustrating to try and read this book.

From start to finish it is poorly written and edited, overly verbose when it could be much clearer and to the point, and nauseatingly vague on important details. For example, it dives into frequent flyer programs without clearly saying what they are, presents grandiose visions of how Facebook could be improved by a leaderboard, and seems to think Starbucks branches have a VIP lane. Plus it keeps using the awful term "Funware" to describe all this.

Throughout, tantalising references are made to interesting concepts or events -- the Microsoft commercial, Flyertalk, Nike+ -- and either assume outright the reader is familiar with these, or provide little followup information for the reader to find out more. Even the section on Richard Bartle, the deity of player characterisation, was poor - lifted straight from Bartle's work with little original material about how this might apply to today's consumers.

If you have any familiarity with games or reward mechanics, you will find this book as disappointing as I did. I wanted to like it, and I want books like this to spread the message that games and fun are a key part of customer engagement. But this book failed to deliver, and needs a serious edit before the 2nd edition. Read an article on gamification instead, and you will come away with all its key points without having wasted your time and money trying to read this.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive, Elementary Nov. 30 2010
By Richard Benci - Published on
Good concept, really poorly written. The author wastes our time by trying to associate his own trademarked "Funware" name with anything resembling gaming mechanics past and present (including incentive programs that were used before he was even born, such as the Boy Scouts, Mary Kay and S&H Green Stamps).

Overly repetitive use of Frequent Flyer Programs, and very little useful information on using game-based marketing in a non-game entity. I really thought it would show how e-commerce, media, or product companies could deploy game mechanics to create a better user experience.

Gaming Mechanics and Game Dynamics are important to understand, unfortunately, this book doesn't help one bit.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Saying in a Book What Could be Said in an Article July 27 2010
By Susan Diamond - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was all gung-ho to learn about game-based marketing. It's a deceiving title. This repetitive book kept talking about frequent flyer programs and fictional campaigns advertisers coulda-shoulda done. Technically, is this game-based marketing? Yes. But it's not relevant to what's really going on with games and apps like Farmville and Mafia Wars.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just the basics Sept. 10 2010
By Melle Gloerich - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I agree with Susan Diamond and 'The big shmoo' in that this book just touches the basics and is quite repetitive in using Frequent Flyer Programs as the perfect example of game-based marketing. I'm now reading 'The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses' by Jesse Schell and although it's a much tougher note to crack it is waaaay better in giving you inspiration in using games for marketing or communities.

If you decide to do anything with games you need a more in depth book anyway, so you might as well skip this book because the contents will be covered in the first chapter of every book about games.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Overly Repetitive, No Much Substance! Feb. 20 2011
By Tom Sawyer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
You will read Frequent Flyer programs, McDonald's Monopoly, etc. across different chapters. It seems there were no coordination between these two authors. The whole book reads like a patchwork stitched with pieces and repeated pieces! It would be much better if they can focus on a concept and a few illustrating cases in each chapter. A waste of money.

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