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Incentivizing Loyalty with Gamification for Marketing

Incentivizing Loyalty with Gamification for Marketing

Aaron Moncreiff


Holding your customers’ attention is harder than ever. How can gamification cut through the noise and keep them coming back?

As the digital economy opens up new avenues for marketing, the value of each impression is being diluted. People are bombarded by advertisements at every turn. The desire to tune out the cacophony of companies shouting for our attention has launched new industries: ad blockers, spam filters, and DVR machines are making it easier than ever for customers to block out your message.  

But what if the public could be motivated to seek out your message? What if you could use big data analytics to design a campaign tailored to each individual, one that rewards their engagement style and keeps them eagerly awaiting your next move? Gamfication holds the potential to transform marketing campaigns from a one-sided barrage into a dynamic engagement.

Breaking the Loyalty Mould

The average American household is enrolled in 29 loyalty programs, but only participates in 12. People are clearly willing to create an online profile in return for a one-time discount, but keeping them coming back requires the right combination of incentives and engagement.

Creating brand loyalty is a long-term challenge. Customers often try a new brand based on value—they can be lured with discounts and promotions—but their loyalty is cemented through an appeal to values including trust and likeability. A full 86% of customers say that trust in a brand is an important factor in their loyalty decisions, and 83% base their choice at least partly on likeability.

To stand out from the crowd, brands need to move beyond the traditional model of offering discounts, promotions, and points in return for repeat purchases. Instead, the most effective loyalty programs are leveraging values like sustainability and corporate citizenship. Almost 25% of millennials are fully engaged consumers, and their generation is almost as likely to pick a brand based on environmental stewardship as traditional selling points like value or quality.

So how does a company build a reputation that reaches beyond discounts? An innovative example can be found in loyalty programs like Walgreens’ “Balance Rewards”, which awards points to customers that engage in healthy lifestyle choices like exercising, checking their blood pressure, and quitting tobacco. By incentivizing healthy behaviors, the program ties the company’s retail promotions to larger issues in its customers’ lives.

How Gamification Can Help

Gamification offers a powerful tool for engaging customers and building brand loyalty. Platforms like Bunchball Nitro can design a unique rewards program for each customer, providing a structure of challenges, incentives, and engagement opportunities that are tailored to their needs.

In a gamified system, your loyalty program will become a dynamic challenge in which customers set their own goals and join teams in order to accumulate points, earn badges, and advance to the next level. Gamification can draw on your customers’ competitive and cooperative instincts by creating leaderboards and enlisting subscribers in group challenges that further reinforce their loyalty.

A gamified platform will also provide a more granular level of data to better understand your customers. You will be able to see engagement rates in real time, and big-data methodologies can help you evaluate which types of promotions are most likely to entice specific customers. This will allow you to specifically target your top Facebook influencers with a social-media based promotional campaign, while designing a different set of challenges and rewards for customers who are motivated by social issues or economic value. 

Ultimately, gamification can create intrinsic motivation that draws customers in and keeps them coming back. A well-designed program of incentives will help grow revenues, increase page views, and build your social media following. Platforms like Bunchball Nitro understand that the key to being heard in a noisy environment is not shouting louder—it’s getting closer, and understanding the messages your customers are eager to hear.

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