by David Kirkpatrick
Last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B newsletter article, "Gamification: 6 tactics for B2B marketers
," covered one of the more cutting-edge marketing channels. One of those six tactics involved how B2B marketers could use gamification to motivate employees to take a particular action.
This week we are further covering that topic by featuring how a brand-side marketer included gamification in an overall campaign to encourage social sharing and collaboration from its employees.
Bluewolf is a global consulting firm specializing in enterprise agility, and Corinne Sklar, VP of Marketing, faced a challenge getting employees to share knowledge socially and engage in collaboration -- which she felt was an important aspect for lead generation for a consulting company like Bluewolf.
"We have so much amazing knowledge within this organization, across the entire customer lifecycle from Marketing, to Sales, to Quality, to the call center," she said. "But it is kept locked inside the cyber walls of this organization."
Sklar wanted to build thought leaders within the organization and allow that knowledge to spread through the social networks.
"What people buy is the knowledge that these individuals have. They buy our people," Sklar explained.
She added, "They are engaging with Bluewolf for (our employees’) expertise as their trusted advisor. From a marketing perspective, I have the opportunity with the social Web to really open up and build transparency and give our people thought leadership."
The idea was to provide every Bluewolf employee a "megaphone" in social media and to encourage those employees to build their personal brands.
This case study looks at the process that culminated in a gamification effort to accomplish that goal.
Natasha Oxenburgh, Social Programs Director, was hands-on in implementing the entire effort. It kicked off at the beginning of 2012.
Step #1. Conduct a baseline survey of the entire organization
In January, the team started the entire effort with a baseline survey of the whole company to find out how engaged all the employees were on social networks, including:
- Google Talk
- Bluewolf’s internal social network/group communication tool
This survey asked employees how active they were, what sort of problems they faced on social networks, how they felt about marketing their personal and professional brands, and what might be holding them back from social network engagement.
Oxenburgh said, "We got a lot of feedback from that survey and a lot of statistics. We found that about 80% were actually very open to building their personal/professional brand … but they just needed a little more training on how to best leverage all those social tools."
Employees had concerns about managing social media during the limited time they could devote to it each day, and also wanted to know what content to share and whom they should be following on social platforms.
Step #2. Create a social resource center
To address the social media training concern, the team created a resource center in the form of a "social portal
This resource center included short two-minute videos with concise explanations and training on different platforms and different aspects of those social platforms. It also offered online presentations for each of the major social networks.
"The two-minute video tutorials guided our employees specifically on how they can get engaged and leverage these (social) tools," explained Oxenburgh.
She added that sprinkled throughout all this material was a code of conduct on how Bluewolf wanted its employees to represent themselves on social media.
Oxenburgh said the basic concept was, "Don’t be stupid," and to "imagine your grandma is seeing everything you are posting, or imagine a client or prospect is seeing what you are posting."
Bluewolf keeps track of its employees’ social media activity through a monitoring tool.
Step #3. Create a social profile page for each employee
After accessing its employees’ social media savvy and providing requested training tools, Bluewolf created what it called "pack profiles
" for each employee.
These have turned into some of the most visited pages on the website, according to Oxenburgh, and include employee profile elements such as:
- Functional expertise
- Vertical expertise
- Select clients
- Why Bluewolf?
- About me
- Twitter updates
- Recent musings (blog posts, whitepaper or case study by the employee)
- Social media analytics showing the employee’s influence
"This is an excellent place, for us as a consulting firm, to showcase all real assets, which are our people," stated Oxenburgh. "We actually revamped these (employee profiles) to make them more social and also focused around knowledge."
She continued, "I think the interesting thing here from a marketing perspective is that we are putting every single employee out on the social Web. We are being completely transparent, and we are encouraging our employees to build their personal brand."
The pack profile includes the employee’s last three Twitter updates along with musings, which could be a blog post, whitepaper or case study.
Each employee is able to manage his or her own pack profile from within the CRM, and can customize the profile to include or not include elements such as tweets. If they don’t select any elements, the profiles default back to the corporate channel. Through this process, each employee can "manage" his or her own brand on the Bluewolf website.
Sklar explained, "The way we position it is, you go to college and get a degree. You can take that with you wherever you go. Building your own personal brand is something that nobody can ever take away from you. When you position it that way, people are going to be careful of how they go out in the Web and talk about themselves because they are their own brand."
Oxenburgh added that this process allows Bluewolf employees to leverage the Bluewolf brand while building their own.
Step #4. Gamify the entire experience
To gamify the push to promote its employees’ knowledge and social engagement, Bluewolf installed game mechanics
around internal and external collaboration.
From the internal perspective, employees get points for filling out fields in their pack profile and for both posting and commenting within the internal communication tool.
From the external perspective, a wide range of activities are gamified, such as:
- Publishing a blog post
- Getting 200 unique visitors to the blog post
- Sharing content, such as a blog post or whitepaper, with external social networks
- Receiving inbound clicks on a social network share
Along with the more general areas to collect points, the gamification program also includes challenges
An example of a challenge would be a "spread-the-word" challenge. An employee who gets 50 clicks on a shared link back to the Bluewolf site wins that challenge and receives a tangible reward, like a $25 gift card, along with a badge showing they won the challenge.
Determining the rewards
Jesse Endo, Director of Innovation, Bluewolf, said when designing the rewards program for the gamification effort, the team sought to learn what types of things appealed to Bluewolf employees.
"What are the types of things that people in our organization hold near and dear, and really value," he stated.
Along with intangible awards such as badges and recognition, and tangible awards like gift cards, Endo said the team wanted to include rewards that were specific to Bluewolf’s organization and organizational structure.
He provided an example in the form of Bluewolf’s CRM vendor. That vendor has a major user event each year, and because Bluewolf has almost 200 consultants, only a certain number are able to attend within the budget.
One reward still in planning stages at Bluewolf is to set a certain point value and reward the first five employees who reach that threshold to trade in those points for a ticket to the user conference.
For this effort, Bluewolf tracked three key metrics -- site traffic, internal collaboration and Klout score.
In the almost four months the campaign has run, here are the KPIs:
- Website traffic from social media increased 100% after the gamification effort went into effect
- Social traffic increased 20% month-over-month since the beginning of the entire campaign
- 57% increase in collaboration via an internal social network
- Klout score rose from 43 to 45.28 over the course of the campaign
About the campaign, Sklar said, "I think that game mechanics is definitely a great way to incentivize the desired behaviors we are trying to see. Using the game mechanics, this is still a change management story. We continually need executive support and internal sponsors."
Endo added, "The thing that is really crucial is that we took the time to truly understand the culture of our organization."
The result was a campaign that uncovered how Bluewolf employees felt about, and interacted with, social media and then used that knowledge to drive even higher levels of engagement and collaboration, reaching that initial goal of the effort.If you found this case study useful, you can sign up for our free weekly B2B marketing newsletter.
- Social portal
- Pack profile
- Klout score
- Gamification points
Bluewolf’s Pinterest pageRadian6
– Bluewolf’s social media monitoring vendorSalesforce Chatter
– Bluewolf’s internal communication toolGamification: 6 tactics for B2B marketers
Related ResourcesSocial Media Marketing: 9 tactics for B2B social channel advertisingB2B Gamification: Bold strategy in conservative industry increased website visits 108.5%Why Gamification is the exact opposite of what you think it is
(via Bunchball’s Social @ Work blog)How Gamification Fuels the Social Enterprise
(via SocialNetwork)Latest Game Theory: Mixing Work and Play
(via Wall Street Journal)Social Sharing: Twitter has highest amplification rate, email has highest conversion ratePinterest
– pinboard-style social photo sharing website that hosted Bluewolf’s social portalSlideRocket
– platform the team used to highlight online presentations for each of the social networksKlout
– Social media analytics tool the team used to show each employee’s influence across social networks