The Simple Genius of Gamification

Your Loyalty Program needs it

There is a lot of smoke and mirrors in all industries, and the Loyalty industry is no different.

There is always the latest and greatest buzzword that comes alive from a thought leader or tech provider. I think we’ve all seen people (or perhaps ourselves) that have been guilty at some stage of using a buzzword without really understanding the context and full meaning?

Gamification in loyalty

And that sometimes works, until you get asked a question on how it can be applied in a client scenario, or what impact it will have on their business, not just the sales increase.  

Let’s make sure when you are asked a question by the CEO, your prospect or customer, that you can smile on the inside and proudly display your inner loyalty geek.

Buzzword: Gamification

I remember the first time I heard this one, in early 2012.

“We need to use Gamification.”

“Ok, what’s that?”

“Oh, gamification is leveraging game design and game mechanics into a customer-centric loyalty and engagement environment”.  “Ummm, yeah ok.  But how does it work?”



Yes, that’s what I thought. The rest of the conversation was me drilling further into the phrase, and ended up something like “rewarding customers for completing a desired behaviour using a different approach.”


Isn’t that fundamental loyalty? Giving something to a customer for a purchase for a greater reward?


Yes and no. It can be. In can also be much more.   


According to two leaders in this space (Bunchball and Badgeville - they both do some fantastic work in this niche area), they define it as:


“Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. Gamification taps into the basic desires and needs of the users impulses which revolve around the idea of Status and Achievement.” (Badgeville)


“Gamification is the process of taking something that already exists—a website, an enterprise application, an online community – and integrating game mechanics into it to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty” (Bunchball)


One of the greatest things about the world we live in right now is that there is so much technology at the fingertips of the loyalty marketer. This opens up the possibility of adding new elements to the loyalty lifecycle such as non-transactional activities and then rewarding those activities either traditionally or non-traditionally.


Let’s look at some basic examples:

Customer makes purchase, customer receives points basedd on the spend value.
Customer takes advantage of bonus points offer by purchasing product X in their basket.
Customer has many points to redeem, putting pressure on liability costs.
Buy a product, receives an entry into a price draw.
Customer shares on a social network, get’s a badge (and/or points).
Customer completes a task in return for access to the next task.
Customer has 10 badges, and is now 3rd on his leaderboard, and can unlock the next level up.
Buy a product, play and win a prize, points or advance to the next level.


In essence, Gamification as a concept is not new.

In its purest form, it’s about getting someone to do something in return for a reward. Today, however, the concept is overlaid with great technology, modern thinking and the application of these elements. And it provides an opportunity to engage with customers with a non-purchase message or focus.

A Gamified Loyalty Progam delivers an element of fun for the consumer and shows that you, as a (loyalty) brand can be more creative around your interactions.

Of course, at the end of the day, the bottom line is for people to buy more. But creating an emotional connection using gamification is a fascinating and innovative way to keep your brand top of mind for when the purchase decision comes.


Gamification. It’s not a dirty word.

It’s all about taking a tried and tested technique
and expanding into new realms brought to life with technology.

Your program needs it.


Paul Malcolm Vivid Engagement Loyalty Program
Paul Malcolm
Founder & CEO, Vivid Engagement

A specialist Loyalty and Engagement Agency focusing on Loyalty and Engagement Strategy, Gamification, and Marketing Technology.

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