The object of the game should be to reach, teach customers

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Amy Shah is VP-marketing at TE Connectivity, a provider of power supplies and data protection products for several industries, including consumer electronics, energy, healthcare, automotive, aero-space and communications. BtoB asked her how b-to-b marketers can best use gamificaton to their advantage. BtoB: What are some of the marketing challenges, as well as opportunities, for b-to-b gamification? Amy Shah: For very complex businesses like ours it's not a simple thing to sell half a million products in various ways—online, direct and through distributors. How do you simplify this business and also train people on how to sell our products? I definitely feel that gamification is a way to engage people, both internally and externally, in learning about our products in a more engaging way than the traditional Web-based “brochureware.” Our second biggest challenge is globalization. Two-thirds of our business is outside the U.S. Gamification can solve some issues in foreign countries where standard marketing doesn't work. With games, you can get through language barriers with better results. BtoB: In what ways can gamification accomplish things better than traditional marketing strategies? Shah: Some of our customers are very passionate about our products, and we're thinking about how to make them an extension of customer service through games. For example, a question could be put on a chat board, customers could answer it and you could rate their answers—putting their names on a leaderboard, for example, according to how many times they answered the question or the answers that are most popular with others. BtoB: What's the best argument for embracing gamification? Shah: Games do entail a leap of faith, like social media, and I don't think everyone understands it yet. But we feel that this is where we need to be. If we're not engaged with gamification, someone else will have the idea and outrun us. We can't afford to be behind in this. —Christopher Hosford
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