I asked myself: as an email subscriber of many brand newsletters and a loyal customer of many brands, what would an interesting microns loyalty program look like?
- Identify microns and points clearly: the Subject line should tell me that the email I have received is a micron, and the number of points I will get by reading it
- Points for opening microns: I would like this; it makes it fun; we like rewards, even though these are small
- Points for actions: clicks, providing some info about my preferences should get me some more points. Actions can be made easier by using AMP – such that the responses and interactions can be done within the micron itself.
- Points should work across brand microns in my inbox: I should not have to be enrolled into separate loyalty programs
- Points visible in every micron: I should be able to see in real-time the aggregate points I have earned
- Points to ensure I read microns daily: this is the idea of a “streak”. Let’s say I get 1 point for reading on day 1, 2 points for day 2, and so on till I get 5 points for day 5. After that, every micron that I read daily should get me 5 points. If for some reason the streak breaks, I get reset to 1.
- Points to encourage me to refer microns to others: a multi-level marketing program for microns would be cool!
- Points as currency: I should be able to make the points I earn as my primary storage; so whenever I give my email to a brand, they should be able to connect their loyalty program to this microns program. This is because I expect to be earning a lot more points through my Inbox than other activities.
- Rewards: what kind of rewards would I like? Perhaps, points which allow me to pay for firewalled content for sites that I have not subscribed for (eg. Nikkei Asia where I would perhaps read 4-5 articles a month and therefore don’t see the need to subscribe). Digital content could be a good starting example of rewards – something which does not have a high cost for the micron provider.
- Levels and Leaderboards: These can be used to drive greater participation and unlock more valuable rewards.
Do all this and the email inbox itself becomes a game! And gaming companies have done wonders in hooking their consumers. Marketing has a lot to learn from games.
The gamification idea is echoed in this excerpt from Game-based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests: “In this socially networked, choice-driven world, the old methods of reaching consumers with advertising messages have simply stopped working as well as they need to. Game mechanics, on the other hand, are steadily rising to the surface. In everything from the airline you fly to the ATM card you use, savvy marketers are turning to the power of games to increase their return on investment, provide essential predictability, and—above all else—engender the kind of customer loyalty that wasn’t before possible… The future of marketing is games.”