BEIJING: Gaming is such a large part of the culture of young Chinese that they are more likely to respond to gamification in marketing campaigns when they become adults, two industry figures have argued.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Ogilvy & Mather China's chief knowledge officer Theresa Loo, and research manager Jane Liu, point to 517m, mostly young, gamers who are growing up understanding the incentives offered in games.

And they highlight earlier research among middle managers and above by Ogilvy & Mather China and the Communication University of China which showed that, in ranking of corporate functions to which gamification can be applied, the top ten were marketing and sales-related.

Today's Singles Day is actually an example of gamification. "The game mechanic used here is 'appointment'," the authors explain.

"Marketers make an appointment with consumers to celebrate and shop on November 11th, creating not only a great deal of delayed gratification as consumers wait until that day to shop at deep discounts but also overcompensation, as many also tend to over-buy in order to take advantage of the low prices."

And while Singles Day has been spectacularly successful – it is now the world's biggest online retail sales day and KPMG expects this year's event will break the $10bn barrier – the gamification has yet to take off in a major way: over half (54%) of the managers polled in Ogilvy & Mather's research believed marketers don't fully understand the concept.

But that will change over the next five years. Two thirds thought that, by 2020, gamification would be widely used, not just in sales and marketing, but in education, health and work.

"The beauty of gamification is that it is a wildcard that can be deployed on anything," the authors say. "Its limit is the imagination of marketers and experience designers."

Data sourced from Admap, Inside Retail Asia; additional content by Warc staff