As someone who straddles the marketing world and the gaming world I’ve been struck by the convergence of goals between the industries and I think that marketers are likely to move boldly into creating games as a growing part of their mix. There has been experimentation with platforms like Foursquare and more recently with Facebook places and deals, but in my mind these are not tools built for marketers and don’t offer much in the way of depth of content or more importantly game design.
Here are a couple of thoughts on the convergence of goals between marketers and games:
- Customer Acquisition is a metric to build a business on for both advertisers and game designers (worth watching Scott Foe’s talk on the economics of games here)
- Progressive Immersion and Continuous Engagement – both game designers and advertisers want to move prospects and players progressively through a lifecycle. For advertisers it might be from awareness to consideration with game designers it’s from one level of challenge to another.
- Communicate and Influence Culture – Advertisers communicate and influence culture through stories and symbols. Games immerse players in a value system from which culture or sub-culture is created.
- Motivation – this is where games and marketing collide, game designers and ad planners are both masterful at understanding human motivation and the empathic design necessary to move the emotional levers. If you put a conference together of ad planners and game designers I believe that sparks would fly
There are some startups emerging to help marketers develop games like SCVNGR and StashGames providing the ability to create a deeper game experience. SCVNGR provides a simple framework for stitching together mobile scavenger hunt type games. StashGames on the other hand has a game design platform that enables brands and agencies to develop immersive story lines and add their own creative content via a white label mobile application.
It’s going to be very interesting over the next couple of years to see how games evolve to not just contain advertising, but become a key tool in the advertisers and marketers playbook for telling stories and engaging audiences.
Image source: Karl Long