5 Lessons for Marketers from Adweek’s Science of Gamification Panel

5 Lessons for Marketers from Adweek’s Science of Gamification Panel


Marketing Experts Weigh in their thoughts at Adweek’s Digital Flash Science of Gamification Panel

Last week, New York City hosted Advertising Week, an annual event where leaders and experts of the marketing industry gather to share their thoughts and ideas. Amidst the 200 events, the gamification industry shared the spotlight as Digital Flash hosted a panel discussion themed “Science of Gamification”.

While they are well known in the marketing circle, the four panelists are very familiar with gamification and have utilized its concepts and mechanics for its field. The panel consists of founder and CEO of BoomBox Inc., John Hendricks, co-founder and CMO of Plyfe, Jeff Arbour, former McCann Erickson CXO turned angel investor, Lynn Teo as well as president and CEO of DwinQ, Patrick Sweeney. Throughout the session, the panelists tackled tough questions from the audience and shared their insights on gamification with a marketing lens. Below are the five key points drawn from the discussion panel.


1. The term “Gamification” itself

The term “gamification” is no stranger to marketing world. The industry have long been using it albeit no one had previously conceptualize a universal term. Nonetheless, the panelists explained that the term is not explicitly used throughout the industry. The subject should be cautiously approached especially when dealing with clients as each may respond differently. Moreover, organizations should avoid transforming gamification into a buzzword as it serves only to  distract the group from achieving its primary business goals.


2. Understanding the “Science”

One of the primary reasons why gamification systems fail is often due to the implementer’s overexpectation of gamification systems as they fail to thoroughly determine the potential and limitations of the system. To rectify, it is important to educate oneself and understand the science that drives gamification, particular psychology and behavioral economics to name a few. Thus, organizations should definitely pay close attention the scientific research and development on gamification.


3. Marketers value metrics

Like any other industry, quantifying and analyzing measurements plays a pivotal role in the marketing industry. It is imperative that other organizations not only focus on basic metrics, but also identify key milestones. These key milestones allows the organization to concentrate on achieving its goals while avoiding the over expectations effect as mentioned previously. In the long run, the results can serve as a reference for the organization and showcase as a case study.


4. Success hinges on collaboration

The difficulty of implementing gamification increases with organizations that are heavily constrained by regulations such as the financial and healthcare industries. To overcome such difficulties, the panelists pointed out the importance of close collaboration between marketing agencies and their clients. When the organization’s culture grounds itself by focusing on the long term strategy in moving the business forward, success will follow soon after.


5. Let case studies do the talking

By now, marketers are well aware of Gartner’s report on the 80% failure rate for gamification implementations. To avoid being part of the statistic, marketers are realizing that learning best practices through others is key to continuous growth. The abundance of case studies coming from the panelists demonstrates the significance of having examples and key results to support future gamification efforts.


With interest in gamification growing rapidly over the past few years, there are many individuals who are seeking guidance for their burning questions. This panel discussion highlights the importance of providing opportunities for experts to discuss their work while enabling people to seek first hand knowledgeable from them. It is undeniable that gamification is here to stay and to quote Winston Churchill, “now it is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, the end of the beginning.”

Cover image via epSos.de


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