Friday, June 22, 2012

The Loyalty Game – Part II

Earlier in the week I outlined the benefits of loyalty marketing.  I also indicated that technology was enhancing the quality of the programs being promoted.  Now marketers are taking their programs to the next level by incorporating an element of gamification.

Read On:
Before I continue, I need to explain gamification, a topic I first addressed back in 2011.  In a nutshell, gamification is where companies capitalize on the competitive nature of their consumers and design games complete with rewards.  These games use the collaborative technology platforms of Web 2.0 to leverage markets, networks and communities.  One of the first pioneers of gamification was Foursquare, a mobile, location-based social networking service that was first introduced in 2009.  Foursquare now has 20 million registered users.  Users earn points/badges for checking into a venue – the ultimate goal based on accumulated check-ins is to be crowned “Mayor.”

This year I have been awarded the opportunity to speak at numerous conferences about mobile technology and how it is impacting consumer impulse purchasing.  Consequently, I have become aware of some new, innovative loyalty programs that incorporate gamification.  Detailed below are my top picks:

·      Shopkicks is an amazing location-based mobile shopping network that drives customer loyalty.  Download their app, locate a participating Retailer, step into their nearest location and immediately earn “kicks” (a.k.a. points/rewards).  You will earn additional “kicks” when you buy designated products.  Rewards can be redeemed at participating Retailers – Target, Old Navy, Toy “R” Us, dining certificates, iTune downloads, etc.  ExxonMobile just jumped on the Shopkicks bandwagon and is testing the loyalty program in three markets.

·      CheckPoints is another shopping app that consumers can use anywhere (e.g., grocery stores, pharmacies, department stores, etc.) where they scan featured products, earn points, plus a coin.  The coin is then used to play games in their Bonus area for additional points.  CheckPoints has a huge selection of rewards, some of which can be delivered to your phone for instant gratification.

·        Plink is a new restaurant and shopping loyalty program that members can earn Facebook Credits at more than 25,000 locations nationwide (e.g., Burger King, Taco Bell, Outback, etc.).  Facebook Credits can be redeemed to buy virtual goods or games like Farmville or Mafia Wars.  There are approximately 60 million social gamers in the U.S.

As I stated in Part I & II of the Loyalty Game, loyalty marketing thanks to mobile technology and the competitive nature of consumers, is constantly evolving.  Let the games begin.

Did you find this post rewarding? 


  1. Hey Jim
    I always enjoy reading your posts, short but with significant content, including this one in which you give great examples of social media capitalizing on our constant desire to reward ourselves. By incorporating a simple app that captures critical market data with a small reward component by retailers, they will undoubtably increase their presence with techno-savvy consumers.
    Well done...

  2. Hi Jim,

    What I find particularly noteworthy is how in each of these cases, there's that noticeable shift from marketing simply talking at consumers to trying to find ways to engage them first with something they'd enjoy (ie, play games, provide informative content, etc) before making any attempts to sell them on their offerings.

    Although some companies still haven't got that social media is not simply another outlet for push marketing, approaches like these will definitely help to serve in informing organizations of the need for more pull marketing tactics like the ones you describe.

    Thanks for the informative post, Jim.