Channel Loyalty 3.0 The Next Generation

The web is one of the most valuable touch points between you and your channel partners. What are you doing to differentiate the experience?

In an age of increasing competition for mindshare, there couldn’t be a more critical time to engage your partners beyond the traditional “do this, get that” model. This is particularly important when your partners represent multiple, competing brands and their attention is becoming scarcer by the minute. With online advertising set to reach $40 billion in 2012, the data couldn’t be clearer: you need a new approach to engagement.

image via Flickr

Gamification is an emerging trend that uses the principles of game design to influence online behavior. With points, levels and rewards, most loyalty programs are already gamified to a degree. So what’s next?

While points and rewards activate the drive to acquire, these mechanics alone overlook other key aspects of motivation such as competition, collaboration and social status. The key to unlocking the full potential of your program will be to apply these game-like dynamics to the overall reward experience…while adding a little fun along the way.

As the quest for true loyalty continues, it comes as no surprise to see other industries adopting gamification: Finance, Healthcare, Call Centers, Education, and CRM. Where ever people exist, the need to motivate also exists.

It’s not just about fun (but it is a good start). It’s important to understand what makes games fun in the first place before designing a gamification strategy. This is not to be confused with promotional games like spin-and-wins. When your customer is interacting with your gamified program, they should not feel like they are playing a game at all. Game mechanics should be prescriptively selected to provide accelerated feedback cycles, meaningful choices, and visual representations of progress without distracting from your content.

The gamification industry is young, but there are some interesting case studies to examine. I’ll share my favorites in my next blog post. Share yours in the comments below.

1 Comment

  • Thanks Nicki. I appreciate you calling out the distinction between ‘games’, ‘promotional games’ and gamification. I like how you’ve positioned gamification as enhancing an ongoing experience by leveraging prescriptively selected game-like mechanics “to provide accelerated feedback cycles, meaningful choices, and visual representations of progress.” Great explanation. Look forward to case studies!

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