Branded B2B interactive trivia quiz lures hard-to-reach execs

Presidents, CEOs, CFOs, VP of sales and marketing.... They are often hard to reach - especially if you're trying to sell them something. And even if you do get in there to talk to them, you've probably only got a few precious minutes to cram in as much as you possibly can about your high-end, highly complex IT solution, for example.

Presidents, CEOs, CFOs, VP of sales and marketing…. They are often hard to reach – especially if you’re trying to sell them something. And even if you do get in there to talk to them, you’ve probably only got a few precious minutes to cram in as much as you possibly can about your high-end, highly complex IT solution, for example.

Products like that – with high price tags and long sales cycles – are particularly hard to peddle: companies tend to rely on outdated market penetration strategies and they usually focus on the product(s) instead of the consumer, contends Michael Bidu, president and founder of North Vancouver-based Fourth Company, which has created and piloted a tool to help sales and marketing executives accelerate the buying cycle.

Success in B2B will come easy, he suggests, if sellers embrace new channels like e-mail and the Net to build stronger relationships with presidents, VPs and the like. Oh, and it can’t hurt to tickle their egos a little, he adds.

‘Everyone – from the 17-year-old kid to the 43-year-old CEO – gets engaged in quizzes of some kind to test intelligence and knowledge. It’s a form of entertainment that touches a human chord, and can build knowledge and trust,’ says Bidu.

Industry-related trivia quizzes are at the core of Fourth Company’s ‘Show You Know’ product, a knowledge-driven interactive tool to help companies find, keep or grow a base of B2B customers – though, he adds, it could be applied in the B2C environment as well.

Richmond, B.C.-based Voice Mobility International, developer of unified communications, was the first to trial the tool in a branding/lead-generation campaign targeted at top execs in medium-to-large telcos across North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

After partnering with reliable business list owners (in this case, publications including Wireless Review and Broadband Week), Voice Mobility sent a personalized e-mail encouraging those hard-to-reach execs to register online at ShowYouKnow.com to participate in a trivia quiz series for a chance to win one of several daily and grand prizes.

‘It builds a relationship over time – we included a span of five quizzes, over two weeks. And each contact tells Voice Mobility’s story – it’s not heavily commercial, but it tells you a bit about the company little-by-little,’ says Bidu. ‘We’re engaging people in a dialogue, we’re educating them and they’re educating us – that’s the beauty of it: it’s not just us talking to them, but also the reverse, which is even more important.’

Of the 10 questions in a quiz, eight were industry-related, he says, while the last two (optional) related to the recipients profile. Ninety per cent of people who responded, answered those questions, he says, adding that even execs will tell you about their needs if you ask them the right way.

The average click-through was between 30% and 38%, he says. Show You Know produced over 300 leads (50% above Voice Mobility’s target), and closing just one of those leads, will more than pay for the program, Bidu adds. (The complete Show You Know program ranges in price from $25,000 to $100,000, depending on how complex it is.)

‘This could also be used to find new customers, to keep existing customers or to grow your customer base. The reason it can do all three is because it has such a strong educational component – this is not about gaming or a trivia quiz as we currently know it. We’re using a trivia quiz as a vehicle to gain knowledge and share knowledge with

customers.’