Loyalty Marketing

If you really want to better understand why loyalty is so important in marketing, all you have to do is look at the following statistic: according to one recent study, the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60 and 70%. The probably of selling to a new prospect, on the other hand, is only between 5 and 20%. Likewise, it is usually between five and 25 times more expensive to sell to a new customer than an existing one.

But loyalty itself isn’t something that you can command – it’s something that you earn by placing a heavy emphasis on the engagement of your campaigns. People aren’t going to be loyal just because you want them to – they must want it themselves. This is where gamification comes in to play – it can get your existing customers to engage with your brand. Gamification gives your customers a reason to want to engage by challenging them, giving them goals, and making it fun to play.

Loyalty Marketing and Gamification 

When your brand offers a customer loyalty program (such as an account people sign up for to earn points and other reward credits for future purchases), you’re unlocking multiple benefits at the same time. Engagement levels increase as people now have an active relationship with your brand, and customers that are actively engaged tend to make purchases about 90% more frequently in transactions that are usually worth about 60% more than average.

By virtue of such loyalty programs you have already gamified your brand. You have given your customers an account that they can log into and see points they’ve earned from their activity and the rewards those points can redeem. The activity should always be the focus of your gamification. Ask yourself “WHAT is it that I want my customers to do?” Then, incentivize your loyal customers to do what you want.

Let’s look at a couple popular travel brands and their loyalty gamification strategies:


Lyft would like you to use their ride sharing services more often. Therefore, they have recently started sending statements to their riders. These statements don’t just have ride history and spend, but have added badges that you can earn for reaching goals in various categories such as:

Early Riser

Night Crawler

Busy Bee

Planning Pro

Happy Hour


Weekend Social

City Hopper

Ride Share Champion

Referral Pro

These badges have “random reward” associated with them. “As you earn more badges, you may be surprised with a reward down the road — so make sure to keep an eye on your inbox”, according to Lyft’s website.

Lyft is tapping into the basic human instinct to accept challenges and the desire to succeed and win. You already start with a badge since you have ridden and fallen into a badge category. This too makes the customer feel invested in the game by giving them something before they even knew they were playing.

American Airlines AAdvantage Program

This is an oldie but goodie. For every mile you fly with American Airlines or its partner, you earn points towards travel. That’s the basic game. American has since upped the ante with gamification and rewards when it launched the Virtual Passport, challenging members to share their travels socially, track friends’ travel and answer trivia questions. Members earn points for these behaviors and may redeem them for traditional AAdvantage Travel awards. This played out very well for American Airlines, tapping into something we already love sharing, our travels, and adding brand engagement with trivia, fueling the fire to want to travel. And who do you suspect these folks will be traveling with? They do have bonus points on American!

This program was a smash hit for American, delivering over 70% more stamps than forecasted and ROI in excess of 500%.

Gamification and Loyalty Marketing have been holding hands since they were born. It is how you decide to implement these strategies that really impact your results. You need to identify the triggers you want to happen for your brand and build your game around them. Remember, people like playing games, so make sure you are getting what you want and build a game around it. People will play so long as you continue to give them challenges and value.

If you would like a FREE consultation on how to GAMIFY your brand to increase engagement, please click here to book your complimentary appointment.



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