In the pursuit of stand-out, engaging propositions, loyalty marketers have been turning to gamification, but that is now evolving into actual gaming for some of the world’s biggest brands.

In The WARC Guide to Marketing in the Gaming Ecosystem, Natasha van der Pas, Senior Strategist at Wunderman Thompson, explains that the motivation to participate in a loyalty programme closely resembles that of gaming – it’s about the thrill of the win.

Traditional programmes, however, risk losing their relevance as audiences get younger and the marketplace becomes more saturated. Gamification tactics – ‘swipe to win’, ‘spin the wheel’ – have been one way to keep things fresh.

And these have been successful; van der Pas cites research showing eight in ten members engage with these mechanics when they’re present, and that programmes benefit from a 1.7x enjoyment lift when game mechanics are used.

The next evolution is into actual gaming. “For retail, instead of simply earning points on transactions, customers are earning game plays, and playing the game rewards them with in-store offers, digital rewards and chances to win,” she says. “For non-retail, the enjoyable experience of playing a purpose-built mobile game can serve as the reward itself.”

Brands as diverse as Starbucks, Shell and Disney have created games not just to engage existing loyalty members but also to attract new ones.

And if creating a new game from scratch seems daunting, there’s always the option of piggy-backing on existing popular games to test engagement there, as Sony Pictures did with a sponsored mini-game within Candy Crush to support the launch of the Jumanji: The Next Level movie.

“With millions of people spending hours a day on mobile gaming, it’s an ideal platform to build engaging experiences for customers that can either enhance or replace a traditional loyalty programme,” says van der Pas.

Read Natasha van der Pas’s article to find out more about How mobile gaming is changing brand loyalty strategies and what marketers can do.

WARC subscribers can read the complete WARC Guide to Marketing in the Gaming Ecosystem here.

The WARC Guide is a compilation of fresh new research and expert guidance with WARC’s editorial teams in New York, London, Singapore and Shanghai pulling in the best new thinking globally. It also showcases the best on WARC – case studies, best practice and data sourced from across the platform.

Sourced from WARC