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bigdoor555BigDoor, the Seattle startup led by entrepreneur Keith Smith, is moving beyond its gamification technologies with a deeper focus on brand loyalty programs.

Smith announced the changes in a blog post today, pointing out the natural evolution of the company over the past four years.

“Gamification is still a great way to engage users and build loyalty, but building lasting customer loyalty in today’s world requires tactics so far beyond pure gamification,” writes Smith. “We also discovered that big consumer brands were eager to find a solution like ours that would help them increase loyalty and engagement with their massive audiences. It became clear early on that if we were going to provide a solution for the demands of world class brands, we needed to significantly improve the power and flexibility of our product.”

Keith Smith
Keith Smith

Loyalty programs which help build brand loyalty are commonplace, so BigDoor is entering a crowded field. Yet, Smith thinks they’ve got a different approach, driven in part by its roots in gamification — the idea that readers or users of a Web site could be rewarded with points used towards goods and services.

Those roots have helped shape the company’s new approach, with tools that encourage “hard user actions” like purchases and “soft user actions” like social sharing, as well as enhanced analytics and an improved rewards center to make it easy for brands to reward customers.

Writes Smith in the blog post title “The Next Generation of Big Door:”

Through years of past lessons in watching how users respond to gamification tactics, BigDoor is set up to do loyalty differently. We understand true engagement — engagement that values both the brand and the customer in every action. Based on our years of building effective loyalty solutions — and sometimes not so effective — we’ve pinpointed a common theme between the programs that are doing it right: an approach to customer loyalty where the brand gives back even before they get anything in return from their customer. This idea is what we call “reciprocal loyalty,” and it is the key to developing a deep and lasting relationship with your customers.

BigDoor, whose revenues grew by more than 400 percent last year, raised $5 million in venture funding from Foundry Group, Founder’s Co-op and others in April 2012. Total funding in the 25-person company, located in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, now stands at $16 million. BigDoor now competes against the likes of LoyaltyLab, CrowdTwist, and PunchTab, and its customers include Pepsi, Microsoft, Starbucks and CBS.

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