GAME ON: Leveraging Game Mechanics to Enhance Engagement and Harness Zero-Party Data

Nov 2, 2023

Customer engagement is at the heart of successful loyalty programs. In today’s competitive landscape, brands are constantly seeking innovative ways to engage and captivate their customers to build long-lasting relationships. One such strategy that has gained immense popularity is gamification. By incorporating game mechanics and dynamics into loyalty programs, businesses are not only enhancing customer engagement but also boosting brand loyalty, driving repeat purchases, and collecting valuable zero-party data.

At Kobie, we’re dedicated to driving enterprise value through loyalty, and a pivotal part of our strategy is Gamification. This isn’t just a trendy word; it’s a proven approach that has shaped our industry for years. Gamification goes beyond the surface; it’s a strategic tool that transforms customer relationships.​ In today’s world, customers don’t settle for traditional buyer-seller interactions; they desire engaging experiences. Gamification answers this call by subtly influencing behavior, often without customers realizing it. It taps into their emotions, naturally sparking excitement and engagement.

Kobie’s Vice President of Strategic Consulting, Adeline Heymann, hosted a workshop at Global Flight’s recent Loyalty & Awards conference (a meeting point for travel loyalty experts) that centered around how we unlock the combined potential of loyalty and gamification. At Kobie, we believe gamification is key to gaining more insight and more engagement with your members.  The definitions and frameworks she shared are not only applicable across industries, with 65% of adults engaging in video or smart phone games regularly, but key to understanding how and why gamification isn’t just a buzzword or fad – it’s here to stay as the digital customer experience grows increasingly important.


Defining Gamification – Mechanics vs. Dynamics

Gamification in loyalty marketing is a powerful strategy that can help businesses achieve their membership objectives. By implementing a gamification strategy, businesses can drive more growth by directing members towards profitable behaviors that fuel growth and retention. Furthermore, gamification increases engagement through compelling experiences that build brand love helping engage members between purchase transactions, increasing trips and sales across channels, and deepening affinity to the brand and program. Additionally, gamification enables brands to capture valuable insights that enable personalization and content relevance by capturing actionable declared and preference data.

So, what do we really mean by Gamification? It is the application of game mechanics and dynamics in non-game contexts to drive desired outcomes and has shown success across all verticals with various brands. In loyalty gamification, game mechanics refer to the specific actions and control mechanisms used to “gamify” an activity. These mechanics are the tangible elements that make a game-like experience possible, such as points, badges, levels, challenges, and rewards. On the other hand, game dynamics are the underlying motivational nature of the gamified experience. They are the core game design principles that create and support aesthetic experiences. Game dynamics focus on satisfying human needs for reward, status, achievement, competition, and altruism, which in turn drive desired behaviors. Therefore, while game mechanics are the tangible components, game dynamics are the motivational forces that make the gamification experience engaging and enjoyable for users.


The cheat code to zero-party data

While gamification in loyalty marketing can revolutionize the way businesses connect with their customers by creating a more rewarding and interactive customer journey, it is crucial to align with the intrinsic motivations of your members, capture actionable data, and offer persistent and adaptable experiences. Gamification appeals to human nature by providing a sense of achievement, tapping into the competitive nature of gaming and encouraging users to return and engage regularly. It’s a strategy that sets loyalty programs apart from competitors by offering something unique and share-worthy. Through gamified loyalty programs, businesses can collect information about customer preferences, behaviors, and purchasing patterns that can then be used to improve offerings, personalize marketing messages, and tailor promotions to individual customers, ultimately driving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Brands today are seeking to create better digital consumer experiences while collecting zero-party data, which 85% of marketers say is critical to creating effective personalized experiences, and customers want meaningful engagement with brands in exchange for that data. Gamification provides a win-win solution by offering customers positive and fun experiences that go beyond traditional buyer/seller interactions. By using gamified approaches, businesses can tap into customers’ intrinsic emotional motivations without their conscious knowledge, altering the buyer/seller relationship and influencing purchase psychology. This creates a more rewarding and interactive customer journey that benefits both the brand and the customer.  When we dig deeper into types of data, it’s common for brands to have rich transactional data.  A gamification strategy can unlock how to collect and leverage behavioral and emotional data.


Winning big with gamification strategy

It is one thing to apply gamification, but true loyalty bosses know the cheat code to true integration within a larger strategy. To leverage the power of gamification effectively, businesses need to understand customer motivations and preferences. This includes identifying the types of games and rewards that resonate with their target audience. By continuously analyzing the emotional, behavioral, and transactional data that gamification can provide, businesses can make data-driven decisions to optimize the gamified experience and drive business success by creating themed, targeted experiences like self-discovery, fun and exploration, focus and achievement, and connection and sharing.

So, how does your organization stay in the game and reach the final level? Gamification in loyalty marketing is a powerful strategy that can revolutionize the way businesses connect with their customers. By incorporating game mechanics, businesses can enhance customer engagement, boost brand loyalty, and drive repeat purchases. The key lies in aligning with the intrinsic motivations of customers and implementing a persistent, multi-channel strategy that allows for personalized experiences.

Kobie’s comprehensive approach to gamification includes three levels of support: Single Use Promotional, Triggered Lifecycle, and Always-On Progressive Profiling. Each enhances user engagement, data capture, and loyalty.​  Ask us about how we bring gamification to life through our technology. We understand that gamification is not just a concept; it’s a dynamic and powerful strategy that can transform customer engagement and elevate brand loyalty to new heights.

Kobie is ready to work alongside you as your partner and “Player 2” in your gamification journey!