Enhance Loyalty Through Emotion and Facilitation, Not Manipulation

Enhance Loyalty Through Emotion and Facilitation, Not Manipulation


Creating The ‘Selfie Value’

This interview occurred at the GSummit 2014 conference. The interview was conducted by Clark Buckner from TechnologyAdvice.com (they provide coverage content on loyalty programs, employee on-boarding software, gamification trends and much more). Also be sure to check out their Tech Conference Calendar for other exciting events happening this year.

Maritz Motivation was utilizing gamification principles to enhance loyalty software long before gamification was a buzzword — or had a conference centered around it. Now, Bill Hennessy (@bill_hennessy) and Barry Kirk (@barrykirk), team members of Maritz Motivation (@MaritzMotivates), are two of the foremost authorities on the subject. They’ve also presented this before on Gamification.co.

Because they have spent so much time working with gamification — over half a decade — they have had the opportunity to see how it has evolved and grown from a misunderstood fringe science to a best practice. The biggest change, Bill says, is the ubiquity of the term. He used to find himself constantly explaining what the term meant. Now, most forward-thinking business are chomping at the bit to incorporate game mechanics into their loyalty programs. The question has changed from, “what is it,” to “what flavor should I use,” he explains.

However, there still is a line of thinking that needs to be changed, if gamification tools are to be maximized. Maritz works with clients who have a population to motivate, be it employees, customers or sales partners. More often than not, clients still believe in the pervading mindset that money motivates. The science says otherwise, and their strategy reflects that.

Bill Hennessy, Clark Buckner and Barry Kirk at GSummit.
Bill Hennessy, Clark Buckner and Barry Kirk at GSummit.

Gamification works best when you’re facilitating what people want to do, not when you’re trying to manipulate them, they said. The focus has to be shifted. Their model asks what does the target population want to do, and how can the business help them achieve that. Once again, it used to be that money was the bottom line, which recent science has debunked.

Even before we decide what we want, we know what we want — the unconscious part of our brain essentially chooses first, the front of our brain then rationalizes the decision. This means our initial response is emotional, not rational. This is the core realization companies need to make, and that’s exactly what Maritz helps them do. One way to play to the emotional response is to make it fun.

Too often, companies are afraid of fun. Other gamification authorities, like Nicole Lazarro in a recent interview, have insisted on the importance of it, and crafted entire strategies around the fundamentals of fun. It doesn’t take science, just common sense, to realize that making something enjoyable makes people want to participate.

This is the principle behind the phrase Maritz is trying to coin, ‘selfie value‘.  People share selfies because they want to share an experience they deemed worth sharing. By leveraging game tactics and creating an environment that inspires your population to take selfies or any other social action, your motivating them to act. This, in turn, creates awareness and further generates loyalty. Moving forward, this is what they believe will be at the core of gamification principles and techniques.


This interview was provided by Gsummit media partner TechnologyAdvice, an Inc. 5000 company that is dedicated to educating, advising, and connecting the buyers and sellers of business technology. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner.


Need help with behavioral science and gamification? Get in touch with our boutique consulting agency Dopamine.