The Value of Implementing Gamification & Points Rewards Programs

By: ITA Group

Gamification and points-based incentive programs are powerful tools for boosting engagement, creating a sense of community and increasing brand loyalty. By adding game-like elements to incentive programs, businesses can tap into the human desire for recognition, competition and achievement. Points-based incentive programs provide a tangible way for participants to track their progress and earn rewards, which further enhances their engagement. 

Want to know more about gamification and points-based reward programs? Let’s break down each element, highlighting benefits and success stories, to show why it makes sense to use both gamification and point-based rewards when your incentive program needs to boost motivation and change behaviors. 

incentive participant viewing leaderboard on mobile device

What Is Gamification?

Gamification is the use of game mechanics and experiences to motivate people to act.

From points and badges to levels and leaderboards, gamification influences people through innate human motivators like competitiveness, reward seeking and the fear of missing out.

Gamification leverages data insights to create experiences that push desired behaviors. 

Gaming itself isn’t new. Game principles date back millennia—long before the advent of modern video or computer gaming (as we tend to think of gaming now). People have participated in games for generations, and often these games mimic real life to teach key skills in engaging and enjoyable ways. 

How Incentive Programs Can Benefit From Gamification

Gamification within incentive programs is highly effective when used appropriately. It has a positive impact because it uses psychology to motivate audiences to be more consistently and deeply engaged. 

By adding an element of fun to what might otherwise be a flat user experience, gamification helps with:

1. Participation

Gameplay elements alleviate boredom and encourage friendly competition. These tools encourage program participants to maintain a high activity level.  

2. Performance

Competition can increase performance through leaderboards, comparisons, peer groups, goal setting, etc.

3. Intrinsic Motivation

Inspire participants by helping them visualize the progress they’re making. Here are some examples of intrinsic motivations.

  • Autonomy: The desire to be self-directed and in control of one's own life, such as self-selected learning.
  • Mastery: The urge to continuously improve at something that matters, demonstrated through achieving different badges or levels.

4. Visualization of Progress

Showing goals, rules, earnings and promotions can build a person’s desire to achieve. Examples include thermometers, speedometers, thumbs up or down buttons, charts, etc.

5. Engagement

Using gamification allows organizations to take engagement to an all-new level. When used in programs, gamified systems help participants stay involved and know what action to take next while offering both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Gamification Success Stories 

1. Encourage Program Participation With Tiering Tied to Exclusive Elements

Virtual employee engagement came to life via an organization’s integrated approach to growing the participant experience using gamification, badging and communications before, during and after the event. Tiers tied to exclusive elements during the event encouraged participation in ongoing incentives.

2. Boost Ongoing Engagement With Relevant Awards

Looking to remedy disengagement and subpar training certificate rates, a leading automotive brand added quizzes and additional gamification into their channel incentive program to drive program engagement. Aspirational awards, including tangible items and experiences, motivated dealership and individual participation. The result? A 55-point increase in their J.D. Power Customer Service Satisfaction Score.

Free White Paper: Ultimate Guide to Creating High-Return Incentive Programs 
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example of points-based incentive platform

What Is a Points-Based Incentive Program?

A points-based program issues points to the recipient each time they engage in certain desired behaviors. The recipient redeems their points for awards that are meaningful to them.  

Points-based programs offer great flexibility and encourage behavioral change. They can be especially effective in non-sales incentive programs.

How Incentive Programs Benefit From Using Points

Flexibility is one of the strongest benefits of points-based incentive programs. Unlike other types of rewards programs that are difficult to change and explain, points-based programs can readily adjust to the organization’s changing needs and objectives, and those changes are easy to communicate. Participants can readily understand points-based incentive programs (“I do X to get Y points to use on Z award.”).  

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to earn the many benefits of a points-based program, including: 

1. Scalability

Using points is scalable and allows program administrators to roll out changes quickly. This is especially true if organizations need to see an uptick in a particular behavior at a specific time—or even to target a specific segment with a tailored strategy.

2. Memorability

A points-based incentive supports a more direct association with a specific activity or behavior. It’s important to connect the action and the award to create a link between the behavior you're driving and the positive award reinforcement. 

3. Flexibility

By offering freedom and flexibility when it comes to earning points and awards, brands can make their programs more valuable to participants. Organizations can adjust the number of points earned based on the value of each behavior, rewarding both large and small activities.

4. Consistency

Points-based programs are common around the world, so many participants are already familiar with program rules. Points-based programs can account for parity and conversions upon redemption while maintaining reliability.

5. Value

It’s easier to motivate people to act when the award isn’t easily converted to a dollar amount.

Points-Based Incentive Program Success Stories

1. Offer a Multitude of Options for Everyone

Feeling that cash awards are too forgettable, an insurance company added world-class award experiences to its program to create meaningful connections between participants and the brand. Everyone was given access to an extensive catalog filled with name-brand merchandise, activity experiences and philanthropic options. The points-based incentive program immediately made an impression on producers; they were excited to see the wide range of options available and appreciated being able to select their own meaningful reward.

2. Infuse New Excitement in Well-Established Programs

By revamping and shifting its incentive program to points, a manufacturer significantly increased sales. The organization asked us for strategic ways to expand the pay-for-performance concept outside of year-end growth awards, capitalizing on the program.

Use Both Gamification & Points-Based Incentives for Increased Results

Gamification supports engagement. Points support flexibility and perceived value. Together, they are a powerful motivator that offers a lot of benefit to incentive program owners and participants. While certain incentive strategies might use one or the other, they work best in tandem to position a program for maximum engagement and motivation while providing flexibility for the future.

Looking to drive adoption of your B2B loyalty and incentive programs? Learn how with the Ultimate Guide to Creating High Return Incentive Programs

Ultimate Guide to Creating High-Return Incentive Programs
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