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Gamification and AdLand
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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When we were first introduced to language involving "games" that didn't involve Monopoly or Madden NFL was in economics. We studied game theory, and we researched and discussed the most efficient ways players acted and responded based on either their own best interests or their best action given their opponent's action. Game theory is absolutely fascinating because it helps assign reason and motive to the way people or organizations respond.

Unfortunately, as communications professionals, we know that sometimes reason and logic are the last indicators of action.

Now we hear the term "gamification," which refers to adding game-like incentives to unusual environments, like getting points for visiting and patronizing certain places, getting badges on social networks, and being rewarded and greeted for activities you have done or products you've purchased.

Gamification seems to be the evolved form of loyalty programs. The more involved people get in the "game," the more likely they will stick to the product and service that provides the game. There are certain CRM elements that can be derived. A brand can look to see which customers are more involved in the game, what they are purchasing, and more. For those not too involved, a brand can look to see what is holding them back.

What's next? How will AdLand capitalize on this trend? Augmented Reality (AR) is around, but like the "rise of mobile" it is moving more slowly than we expected. What campaigns do you see that involve gamification?

As this next generation reaches maturity, we will see gamification even more than we do now. We're thinking grocery store "leaderboards" with real-time check-ins and savings, or in-store promotions where people can show that they sampled a product and their review goes up somewhere live. As advertising and marketing continue to play in this increasingly online world, it will learn that its role will be to add a brand connection to the consumer experience. 

Who in AdLand will make the big move? Maybe a shop from WPP, since it recently became the largest digital shop in the space. Or maybe one of the thousands of little shops will get on the national scene and make a statement.

Just like game theory, when someone makes a move, it will be interesting to see how the other players respond and act.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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