Gamification for a digital marketing context may be defined as the process of using game mechanincs in an initially non-game environment for marketing purposes and better ROI.
Gabe Zichermann offers a short generic definition of gamification: "The process of using game thinking and game mechanics to engage audiences and solve problems."
Intermediary goals of gamification are:
positive association with the brand
enhancing user’s experience
encouraging desired actions - subscription, trial, sharing, etc.
Game mechanics and features used in gamification mainly come from video and social games, they are:
badges & statuses
An example of badges usage:
Gamification is based on psychology, persuasive design and behavior management and is often tied to social features - see social gamification. Competition is often an important factor in gamification.
In marketing context, gamification is also used for sales team
An example of gamification on a Pepsi website:
An interesting introduction to gamification by Gabe Zichermann:
An example of gamification usage in software trial process: