Photograph of a laptop showing a screen from the Sales Marathon campaign screen. The campaign was created by Born + Raised for SITA and allowed sales staff to aim for track their sales progress towards a target of a holiday to Beijing.

To most people, the thought of running 26.2 miles without stopping is enough to make them hide in a corner until the person suggesting it goes away. Hopefully 26.2 miles away.

So how did we manage to get hundreds of people to agree to take part in a 12-month marathon around the world? Easy – they didn’t have to leave their computer.

Starting blocks

SITA, the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology, came to us with an issue. Some of the brand’s global sales team were unaware of the wealth of material available to them. And, worst still, those in the know weren’t consistently using the resources. SITA needed to find a way to get its dispersed global team to make regular use of the resources, and get them to interact with each other.

Here’s how we did just that.

The leg work

Humans are hardwired to play games. From a young age, play forms an integral part of our learning and interactions.

We helped SITA tap into this insight and created the Sales Marathon – a 12-month gamified race around the world that encouraged the sales team to make regular use of the materials and learning tools available to them.

A personalised website made sure each person could track their own movement, while league tables added an extra element of competition to the race.

People were rewarded with steps which measured their progress around the globe. It was important that people could earn steps for a variety of tasks. Rather than just collecting rewards for their own progress, we incentivised people to share resources and knowledge and rewarded them with extra steps.

Even more ways to collect steps (like spot quizzes) were introduced to maintain peoples’ engagement with the site.

A good yardstick

The gamification element of the Sales Marathon made it easy for SITA (and the people involved) to easily measure, track and quantify the results.

In just a year, the Sales Marathon increased engagement by 55%, leading to a more informed and engaged sales force. And the majority of employees turned keen ‘runners’, asking for the scheme to continue into the next year.

So what have we learned?

Gamification is an effective tool to have in your bag if you’re looking to motivate people, and marathons are a lot more fun when you don’t actually have to run anywhere.