by Vincent Alonzo | May 26, 2015
There's an old saying in journalism: "Once is a fluke. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a trend."

I experienced that firsthand in March while carrying out my duties as editor-in-chief for Incentive and its sister publication, Successful Meetings. First, the marketing manager of a real estate company called to pick my brain for suggestions on how to create an online game that would help his company reach potential clients. Then, the director of marketing for a meetings industry association emailed me asking for help promoting a March Madness-style bracketology game geared toward engaging meeting planners. The last part of this trifecta found me, at the request of the marketing director of the Singapore Tourism Board, on stage in front of 150 attendees at Successful Meetings' SMU International event playing an online game designed to educate potential clients on everything that Singapore has to offer incentive and meetings groups.

The trend revealed is two-fold. First, gamification is everywhere. Second, it is really starting to be embraced by marketers at all types of organizations as a go-to tool for identifying and building relationships with potential customers and maintaining goodwill with existing clients.

That's the topic of this month's cover story. In it, Senior Editor Andrea Doyle interviews experts in game theory, marketing, and training, and profiles companies that have successfully used gamification in marketing programs. It's a great piece that will give you all the information you will ever need to create gamified strategies that will engage potential and existing customers.

It also brings up a great point about how the whole concept of selling is changing. The days of the sales pitch are definitely coming to an end. Today, the way to a sale is through information, and gamification is proving to be an effective way to deliver content that consumers and clients need to make decisions. For more on that particular topic, turn to our Strategies column. It is all about how to sell by not trying to sell. It's interesting stuff.

If you're wondering how I did playing the Singapore Tourism Board's game on stage at SMU International, well, it's not easy coming up with answers when a big crowd is watching you. So let's just say I learned a lot about Singapore -- and I now know how miserably I would perform if I ever appeared on Jeopardy!