Gamification, as defined by the Oxford U.S. English Dictionary, is “the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service: is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun”.
Social network gaming received a huge boost with the popularity explosion of Facebook (Farmville, CityVille, Mafia Wars, Bejeweled Blitz, Angry Birds…). But as usual, one of the latest technological advances has grasped the attention of the business and marketing world. Time Magazine ran a story last summer entitled “Six Reasons Why ‘Gamification’ Will Rule the Business World.” And they are most likely correct. Given our long history of couponing and our societal gravitation towards consumer rewards programs and mobile technology, I’d say it’s inevitable.
But as for me, my favorite way to get my gamify on is Foursquare, the mobile app where you “check in” to your favorite places. I mean, what guy doesn’t want to be the Mayor of The Tilted Kilt? Or check in to his favorite bathroom on campus (you can add any location you want to Foursquare)? Besides, Foursquare is also using typical marketing features for perks like free appetizers at certain restaurants, free or discounted admission to selected venues, etc. And of course, you can sync it with your Facebook and Twitter accounts, etc.