Tactics to Accelerate Participation in Your Loyalty Program

 Defining the threshold of engagement.

By Dr. David Cox

In loyalty and incentive programs we often focus on the concept of the ‘threshold of engagement’.  This is a critical concept as it defines the point at which the program participant has earned sufficient equity in a program where they switch their behavior status from being enrolled or a member to being an active participant.


The journey of a loyalty program participant starts at the awareness level where they are motivated to join your B2C or B2B program. However, the chasm of disengagement quickly follows in that the participant either thinks the program it is too difficult or complex, requires too much effort to continue the loyalty behaviors to reach an inflexion point where the program now delivers a benefit of even a relative advantage. This inflexion point is call the threshold of engagement – the milestone that defines whether someone is an active participant and advocate of your program, product or service or simply the ‘walking dead’.

However, there are a series of tactics that can be employed to accelerate the journey from enrolment to the threshold of engagement and thus minimize the period that a newly enrolled participant spends in the chasm of disengagement. These include:

Top 3 Tactics to Accelerate Participation in Your Loyalty Program

1.      Provide accelerators such as double points for transactions completed in the first 1-2 months or a fast start such as a bonus points sign-up that will help the participant earn enough points in the program whereby they can redeem a reward and even qualify for a recognition tier. These milestones are positive indicators of the threshold of engagement in your program.

2.      Ensure that your program is not too restrictive, try and avoid earning caps, or inbuilt milestones that inhibit the release of points that can be spent. These types of program business rules only serve to create the perception that it requires too much effort to reach the threshold of engagement and may result in your enrolled members becoming a ‘zombie’.

3.      Become relevant and know your customer. Essential to this tactic is using the analytics and data that you have gathered on each participant to personalize the experience and become highly relevant. If in the early stages of the relationship with the program member, where data may be incomplete, point earning surveys, games and other interactions can be deployed that help build the profile where you can position your program to become an essential part of this participant’s life.

These top 3 tactics are not exhaustive and the most successful loyalty programs have used a number of innovative interactions that particularly resonate with their participants to drive behavior to reach the threshold of engagement.  Thus awareness of this concept has helped many programs to engage with their participants and deliver an effective ROI.

Do you have a Loyalty Program that has more Zombies then engaged participants?