Read: Cover to Cover
Categories: Gaming, Marketing, Small Business, Communication
What motivates people to do the things they do? Lord knows, I can’t explain why kids put gum in their hair, or why people would want to consume the most amount of hot dogs in a minute, so I was intrigued when the authors try to provide some answers through their expertise in video game design. If you heard about Alec Baldwin and the drama he caused on a flight because he wouldn’t turn off the word scrabble game he was playing, you’ll get an idea of how right they might be.
Look, I’d heard about Angry Birds for months (in case you haven’t guessed, I’m in the demographic ‘late adopter’), and I thought if millions of people are enchanted by this thing – let’s give it a go. I don’t mind telling you, I kept looking for the game to progress, but nope, just pull back the slingshot and release. People. Are you kidding me? At least Alec was making words. So what is it about gaming that has me so excited? It’s not the games (obviously), but the process of developing games and the impact it can have on business. Your business.
There are really two concepts that get me excited in this book. The first is: Game Mechanics: Cascading Information Theory. It’s really quite simple – hilariously simple. The ‘why didn’t I know that’ kinda stuff’. It’s a game mechanic that basically means you give the character (in our case it means the customer) the minimum amount of information they need to advance. It means that when you have a product or service you are trying to sell someone, give them only enough information so they can to progress to the next level of understanding. The second concept is reward. Your customer does something that you her to do, and she gets a “reward” of something – it can be a download, a free sample – an actual product – point is, give them a quest and then a reward.
The theory is to simplify, simplify, simplify. Create a linear path for your customers to learn about you and your product. Example. On your website, what if you had no copy, no navigation on top, nothing but a greeter in video form? After they watch the video an icon like a thermometer pops up with five degrees. By coming to the site and watching the video, they get two sections filled in red. The reward is something from your offering like extra product/time/ebook. Spot feed them one piece of information at a time so they are receiving the information you want them to receive, in the order you want them to receive it.
The authors take you on a journey of discovery, and the reward for reading it is pretty good.
The quick read novella is written in a short story format with twenty-somethings in the title roles, so if you have underwear older than that, you’ll just have to accept the “dudeness” of the dialogue. But this might be the concept that changes your business.
Too often we load everything, say a dozen things about our product or service – trying to push as much information as possible in the smallest or shortest amount of time and space. After all, “experts” tell us, we have only seconds to keep their interest. Look, if millions of people are buying a cow with virtual dollars, spending untold hours playing these games, you know these geeks are onto something that us business sophisticates don’t have a clue about.
This is the book that I have bought and passed on to my network.