For humans, game play is a vital part of how we learn and communicate. At its most basic level gaming creates a simulated environment where a host of character-building attributes – such as goal achievement, competition and collaboration – can be further honed. And reaching these behavioral milestones comes with its own set of compensations like status, social satisfaction and physical rewards.
Appropriately, these are the same types of constructs that successful loyalty programs are looking to foster and augment.
Only recently, however, have loyalty marketers grasped the value of what’s at stake when it comes to gamification strategies from a customer engagement and ROI perspective. Done right, aspects of gamification such as points, challenges, leaderboards, levels, virtual goods and gifts can all be incorporated into a loyalty program’s customer engagement and rewards structure. And these gamification elements can also be implemented through an omnichannel approach as a way to drive, track and measure incremental behaviors throughout the enterprise and customer experience.
The nature of loyalty-based gaming and its future potential was a topic I dug right into in my recent article, Game On for Loyalty Marketers: Learning the Rules of Gamification to Drive Engagement.
While it’s true gamification has become something of a fad (and a marketing term as hyped as Big Data), its brand potential remains. Of course, brands that do adopt gamification tenets must work hard at their pre-implementation homework and make certain they are delivering the specific gamified elements that customers want through their preferred channels of contact. In the end, gamification may not be the right fit for every brand in every vertical.
But for brands that do say “game on” for game-infused loyalty, simplicity is critical – as is repeatable enjoyment that requires few, if any, hoops to jump through. Keeping it simple and enjoyable builds player trust, reciprocity and repeat actions. Ultimately games, like rewards, should be genuinely rewarding and the experiences they create must be delivered in an omnichannel manner, across all channels throughout the engagement and purchase lifecycle.
What do you think about gamification? Does it risk becoming another fad or will loyalty marketers up their game? What steps would you recommend to improve gamified tactics? Share your views with the Kobie community in section below and you can also read the entire article on Loyalty360 here.