Playing The Loyalty Game

Feb 3, 2017

Gamification is one marketing strategy that can add significant value to an organisation through customer engagement and brand association but many marketers overlook the need for constant review and refresh of the content.

The application of game-thinking concepts in non-game contexts can deliver some extremely interesting results in this connected world; and it’s this shift in the mechanics of gaming and the application of them in environments such as loyalty and retention coupled with the constant change in technology that provides an ever-evolving opportunity.

For many marketers, the very mention of the word ‘gamification’ can prompt negative thoughts and derision. Mistakenly they associate gaming with gambling and completely overlook the opportunity to connect with a younger audience. However, it’s not just kids that like fun and games, remember the ‘Candy Crush’ revolution, every generation engaged with it.

There are many examples of the successful use of gamification; for example PINK Nation, a subsidiary of Victoria’s Secret launched an in app game in 2016 called PINK-O. The game is based on the classic ‘Bagatelle’ where balls drop through the pegs and fall into numbered slots; the difference with PINK-O, users win points and prizes such as wallpapers for their phones. The app also uses other gamification methods such as collecting badges which are unlocked by users as they complete certain tasks such as looking through brand catalogues, playing other in app games ‘Scratch Offers’ and ‘Trace to Reveal’ or logging visits to different stores. All these techniques enable the application to create a fun and rewarding experience for the users that keep them coming back for more.

However there is an increasingly important influencing factor in the emergence of the use of gamification and that is the maturation of the iGeneration or Generation Z; the so called ‘Centennials’. It has been reported that with the influence on parental spending, Centennials have approximately £28 billion annual purchasing power a massive and growing market opportunity for business!

Centennials are ‘digital natives’ and are a growing and maturing market and have little hesitation when it comes to using multiple applications and information sources to keep ahead of trends; this is no more apparent than with the use and diverse nature of social media with almost 2.5 billion users (source: statista) making use of these platforms. With this number only likely to increase, the need for innovative, evolving strategies to engage customers is becoming ever more important.

Social media platforms are making greater use of bots and AI as the building blocks for their future evolution to provide a compelling and intuitive user experience. However, gamification has a significant role to play; and an important one at that! With so much choice available to consumers now, it’s the apps that integrate with these platforms and these technologies that also provide the sticky, rewarding and engaging features that will win in the race to retain and grow a loyal consumer base.

Engagement methodology must increasingly encompass gamification, its set to be a key component in this next phase of social networking where our devices become our personal assistants. Unlike Millennials that are seen as a more loyal generation; Centennials are less so, preferring to shop around looking for the best complete package of price, service and experience. As such the apps that can provide a holistic experience that tap into the growing needs will undoubtedly be the big winners in securing loyalty across the generations.

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