Gamification to build loyalty
Loyalization strategies have now become standard elements of the corporate marketing mix. There’s not a single B2C brand that doesn’t have a loyalty program. “Miles” have practically become a currency like any other, and most consumers have at least one loyalty card.
With brand marketing strategies expanding to embrace social media, which offers incredible opportunities for proximity marketing, there are new issues to consider.
What are the best ways to attract, motivate and animate your community members? And how do you do so transparently in a highly competitive context?
The benefits of self-service communities are well known:
- greater proximity to customers
- higher satisfaction and better recommendations
- reduced customer service costs
- co-innovation and ideation
But launching a brand community requires more than simply providing a platform; you must find effective ways to bring it to life.
This is where gamification approaches start to make sense.
Before committing to a plan of action, you need clear answers to the following questions, which will help you define your direction and set goals:
- What are the motivations of our community? Do we know? It could be pure altruism, a desire for status, visibility or recognition, a need for self-expression, or a wish to build a reputation among peers… A successful gamification strategy depends above all on understanding the psychosocial profiles of your community members.
- What member actions does the brand wish to highlight, what behaviors does it want to encourage in the context of achieving business objectives? Are you looking for a hatchery for new ideas from members, a place to find brand ambassadors, a forum for self-service support…?
- What kind of rewards system should you implement? How will you recognize the participation of members? Possible options include badges, points, tasks and challenges.
- What rewards should you provide? Rewards can be symbolic or monetary, or they can bestow status on members.
This is worth discussing in detail.
Purists believe this should not cost anything, and that the community should be motivated to support its members for the sake of doing so. Providing symbolic rewards or elevated member status should suffice. This works well for ultra-specialized communities, such as discussion forums, in which acknowledgement from peers is the ultimate reward.
For marketing professionals, it’s a little more complicated. Loyalizing active community members and ambassadors is essential to any social media marketing strategy. From their point of view, integrating community activities into the loyalization strategy is a natural extension of any marketing strategy that includes social media channels.
At what point do you integrate member support behaviors into loyalty programs? Will self-service community members be earning “miles” in the near future? Is helping your peers worth a round-trip ticket from Paris to New York in business?
We’ll find out soon enough 😉
Originally published Oct 14, 2015, updated Sep 24, 2021