Social Media Week Tag

In its infancy, advertising was an interruption. Ads were part of the price of watching TV or flipping through a magazine. More recently, brands have experimented with ways to make their messages desirable in their own right, via social engagement and branded content. But at a Social Media Week event at the Time-Life Building in New York City this month, Gabe Zichermann argued that in the future, brands will use game mechanics to go beyond just getting a customer’s attention. Instead, they will make themselves a part of the rhythm of their customers’ lives. Games are “a process, not a destination,” Zichermann argued. Zichermann said he defines “gamification” as the use of game mechanics and game-based thinking to solve problems and create user engagement. But more broadly, he explains, a solid game-based marketing program is really just the final incarnation of the loyalty programs businesses have been using for almost 200 years. In the first phase of loyalty programs, customers were given free merchandise for buying a set amount of product. Think of those cards that promise you a free pizza after you buy nine pizzas at the regular price. These are still the most common form of loyalty program, he says, but they’re not the most effective. They tend to offer incentives