Awards case study: Ideal Bathrooms boosts sales by £5.1m with gamification

Discover how We Are helped Ideal Bathrooms to drive customer engagement and achieve 35% sales growth with a gamified virtual yacht race 


Part of the Saint Gobain group, Ideal Bathrooms are the UK’s leading distributor of bathroom products. However, its closest competitors had recently been engaging in more aggressive marketing tactics, which were beginning to win market share from Ideal.

Ideal had been focusing on developing and maintaining service excellence as part of its customer value proposition, but although this performed well it was identified that it wasn’t enough on its own to drive substantial growth.


  • Create a highly effective sales incentive campaign that would stimulate a significant year on year increase on sales figures.
  • Engage customers and give them a compelling reason to promote and sell Ideal Bathrooms products.
  • Regain market share.

Target audience

Ideal Bathrooms customers are bathroom showrooms and trade counters who specify products for end users. Ideal Bathrooms track the performance of its customers throughout the year based on the volume and value of bathroom product orders they make.

While stock levels, service excellence and speed of delivery rate highly with Ideal Bathrooms customers, they are always looking for a good deal and are motivated by sales incentives. They will therefore switch suppliers if they believe they will get a better deal or a more attractive incentive for themselves.


As a distributor, Ideal Bathrooms has many exclusive brands and product ranges that only it can sell in the UK. However, it also shares the distribution rights of many other brands and products with its competitors. We Are identified that influencing buying behaviour towards Ideal Bathrooms among these shared brands and products would be the best strategy to influence growth and win back market share.

Research showed that its target audience would respond well to sales incentive programmes offering a big one-off prize. However, if it became apparent that there was small chance of winning, engagement would decline significantly.

The campaign was therefore developed to give every customer who signed up for the initiative a genuine chance to win. This was achieved by issuing every customer an individual sales target based on a percentage increase of their current spend. This levelled the playing field and meant that smaller customers who naturally bought less product would be able to compete with larger customers who ordered in higher volume.

Race to Dubai Ideal kitchens mobile campaign image


A sales incentive programme called The Race To Dubai was devised. The gamified virtual yacht race was designed to keep customers engaged via a highly personalised campaign microsite where they could track their progress. This was supported by a series of tactical and behavioural emails delivering ongoing engagement about progress and campaign activity.

  • The campaign launched with personalised direct mail to the customer database, segmented using the qualification criteria.
  • The direct mail was followed up with email to the database to encourage sign up.
  • The campaign was also promoted through sustained trade advertising and sales team interaction with target customers.
  • At sign-up, customers received a personalised email detailing their individual sales target and login details.

This meant they were essentially competing with themselves. The reward message was simple. Achieve your target and you’re going on a luxury trip to Dubai.

At the heart of the campaign was a highly personalised website that tracked each customer’s progress and showed their position in the race on a world map, leading to the finish line in Dubai. With each order from Ideal they would earn miles and move further on the map, relative to the percentage of the sales target they had achieved.

Ideal’s sales team were able to log in to a personalised section of the website to look at real-time data on campaign engagement and sales performance of its customers. This enabled the team to see how its customers were performing, identify which customers were lagging behind and make efforts to reengage them. There was also a league table showing the sales people whose customers were performing best. This introduced an element of healthy competition between the sales team and ensured members were also kept engaged in the delivery of the campaign themselves.

The overall performance of the campaign was linked to the personal targets and objectives of the sales team. Meanwhile, comprehensive real-time reporting gave Ideal’s management instant, up-to-date visibility of how well the sales team was interacting with the campaign.

At key points during the campaign, the agency sent out regular personalised tactical emails to customers to maintain engagement. The emails provided updates on the campaign, showcased the luxury hotel in which they would be staying and made suggestions about some of the amazing activities and locations they could visit in Dubai if they won. The emails also gave the opportunity for Ideal to promote products and special offers.

To further maintain engagement with the campaign We Are also designed personalised behavioural emails. If customers were performing well in the race they would be congratulated. If they were falling behind their target they would receive messages of encouragement to re-engage them in the campaign.

Post-event PR showcasing the winners was deployed to extend the life of the campaign and demonstrate the quality of the prize and incentivise customers and potential customers to sign up to the next Race to Campaign.


  • 686 customers registered which was 18% response rate.
  • Overall sales increase of £5.1m.
  • Helped to achieve year on year growth of 27%.
  • Overall sales growth of 35% for companies taking part.
  • Ideal increased their market share by 1.2%.
  • Gained 40 new customers.
  • 85 delighted winners went on a luxury holiday to Dubai.
  • Ideal Bathrooms moved from being the lowest performing.
  • Group in Saint Gobain to the best performing inside 6 months.
  • The campaign was so successful that Ideal have made it an annual.

“We needed to protect our position as market leader and move further ahead of our competitors. This campaign has enabled us to do just that, raising the bar on every level. From engaging customers, to increasing sales and regaining market share. We’re absolutely thrilled with how it has performed!”

Danielle Lillis, commercial director, Ideal Bathrooms

B2B Awards 2016

This case study was submitted as part of the judging process for the B2B Marketing Awards 2016. It won Best use of digital techniques or technologies: 'Race to Dubai' for Ideal Bathrooms by We Are. 

See the winners