Gamification attracting growing number of B2B players
Gamification, or using game mechanics to engage people in non-game activities, has been a staple in B2C precincts for the last several years. But now it’s starting to creep into the B2B arena, according to Steve Curran, founder and CEO of Pod Design, a digital content agency that specializes in Gamification. “You’d be hard pressed to find somebody in the business world who doesn’t play any games at all, whether it’s mobile or desktop,” Curran said. “It’s not just the fact that games have a wider acceptance, but the reason there’s so much buzz around Gamification is that it’s proven to work.”
Curran said that he is now working with B2B marketing agency PJA Advertising on how some of the agency’s clients can integrate gaming mechanics into their marketing programs.
They are working with a major electronics company on a game that encourages product discovery through a virtual scavenger hunt and a large industrial products firm that wants to "gamify" its sales force training.
“B2B clients are looking at [Gamification] closely as something that can motivate a wide range of things, from employee motivation to prospects learning more about their products [and services],” Curran said. “Early on, we hit on the fact that if you can effectively combine a marketing challenge into a game, it has a strong viral potential.”
While it is not novel, Gamification in the last few years has gone mainstream throughout the workplace.
Indeed, by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will be using Gamification, according to a study released earlier this year by Gartner. By 2014, more than 70% of Global 2000 companies will have at least one gamified application.
According to Pod Design’s tracking data, the games the company has produced are played an average of roughly nine minutes, compared with a “few seconds” that users interact with banner ads, Curran said.
He said that within the B2B sector, Gamification can be used to help to educate the marketplace, build loyalty among existing customers, increase retention rates and motivate the sales force.
For example, Pod Design created on behalf of Veev Distillers a game-based sales training tool that employed a series of three mini-games that helped to educate the company's sales channels — such as regional distributors, managers and bar/restaurant employees — about the three key product attributes of the launch of their Veev Spirit and how to deliver the message to customers and prospects.
One of the applications is a "mixology memory" game that challenged players to read through a drink recipe and then virtually “mix” it from memory.
Pod Design created a game-based training tool for Veev Distillers that helps to educate the company’s sales channels about the liquor brand’s attributes.
As players progressed, each game revealed factoids about the brand and then quizzed users on those facts. Players that finished the game with highest scores were rewarded with prizes.
B2B marketers that want to invest in Gamification have two options on how to go to market, according to Curran.
The first option is to integrate Gamification into existing sales and marketing platforms, via such platforms as Bunchball and Badgeville, for lead-gen purposes. The second is option is to build a customized gaming platform into a Zynga-type game that can be used more as a branding effort.
“A custom solution is closer to a marketing effort, where it’s part of a B2B promotional campaign,” Curran said. “It allows the campaign to be more tailored to their products and services and directly to the hot buttons of that audience.”