Cover Story: Direct Marketer of the Year: Sandy Carter
That approach, for instance, is evident in CityOne. The game explains IBM's technology and the problems it solves to the water/energy and banking/retail verticals during game play.
"One of my very favorite marketing [accomplishments was to] create that game," Carter says. "It was fascinating, because what it enabled me to do was to activate the social media skills. It enabled me to capture something super fun. My customers actually had fun while giving me information about themselves. It was different. It was wildly successful. Not just in one market, but multiple markets. And it enabled me to go to market in a creative, different way while capitalizing on the social/mobile trend."
While gamification became one of IBM's top marketing tactics, she credits her boss at the time—Steven A. Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive, Software and Systems—with encouraging her in taking such a chance.
"It was great to have that support from a senior leader at IBM who was willing to let us try to experiment," Carter says.
He was also willing to accept some social media marketing failures.
"At IBM, we were looking at several categories," Carter says. "And we wanted to see how we could leverage marketing to really grow our insights on a category. For us, it was around a technology area. And so we decided to experiment, which I think social is really great to do with. We experimented with things like YouTube and then Twitter very, very early on, saw immediate impact, made some mistakes, recovered quickly, failed fast, and started over again and just saw tremendous impact in that particular brand that I had focused on at the time. So it really came about just as a way to experiment and to take a category that we were marketing to the next level."