Market Research Trends 2012: Part One – Gamification

On December 14th 2011 the Market Research Trends 2012 webinar featured moderator Ivana Taylor and panelists Lenny Murphy and Romi Mahajan discussing the most prominent trends for market research in 2012.  Today we bring you the full text of the first part of the webinar, where there was a very interesting discussion of the hot trend of gamification.  

Here is a list of all the parts of the webinar with links, to be updated as each section is published:

Esther Rmah LaVielle

Esther Rmah LaVielle

Esther Rmah LaVielle:  Welcome, everyone, for joining us today for our webinar, which is ‘2012 market research trends to look out for.’ We’ve got some great speakers and a wonderful moderator with us today. And we strongly encourage our audience to interact with us, ask those questions, give us some comments. We are very excited to be able to do this and be able to pick our presenters’ brains, and so we encourage you guys to do the same. Again, go ahead and use that by going to the GoToWebinar control panel.

So this Market Research Trends webinar is sponsored and brought to you by Survey Analytics. So we are an enterprise survey software company and we also do mobile field research as well. So again, welcome, everyone, and I’m going to go ahead and pass this over to Ivana Taylor, our moderator.

Ivana Taylor

Ivana Taylor

Ivana Taylor:  I’m Ivana Taylor. I’m the publisher of and the editor for the Survey Analytics Blog and QuestionPro Blog. And I am absolutely thrilled to introduce you to some of the best experts in the business.

Today we have with us Romi Mahajan, CMO of Metavana, Leonard Murphy, CEO of BrandScan 360, and we were supposed to have Vivek Bhaskaran, the CEO of Survey Analytics, but I believe he got pulled away at the very last minute. But I promise you, as much as we love him, you will not miss him too much because we’ve got Romi and Leonard here to keep us on track. Before we get started with the trends, what I’d really love to do is to give our presenters the opportunity to tell us a little bit about themselves. Romi, why don’t you go first?

Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan:  Thanks, Ivana; thanks, Esther. My name is Romi Mahajan. I’m the CMO of a start-up company called Metavana. We are a start-up based in the San Francisco Bay Area that’s building a social sentiment engine for use for brand value and for companies to decipher what’s being said about them on the social web.

MetavanaPrevious to this I was director of sales and strategy for the digital marketing and search team at Microsoft. I’ve done two stints at Microsoft, in total about nine years. And I’ve also been a marketing strategist and consultant in my own company, KKM Group, for the past several years as well. I’m incredibly excited to be on this webcast and if I might throw in a plug for myself, I’ve got a book coming out in the next 60 days, so watch out for it. It’s called Cool is for Fools, and it’s about marketing from an irreverent standpoint. So that’s a bit about myself.

Ivana Taylor:  Well, thank you Romi, and I expect to get a copy of that book, so I can review it.

Romi Mahajan:  You bet.

Ivana Taylor:  OK, let’s toss it over to Leonard Murphy, CEO of BrandScan 360. Leonard, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Leonard Murphy

Leonard Murphy

Leonard Murphy:  I am Leonard Murphy, CEO of BrandScan 360, which is a start-up focused on the intersection of mobile and social media for business intelligence and data collection.

Most people probably know me more as the editor-in-chief of the GreenBook Blog and the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Survey, and the GreenBook Newsletter. So industry pundit, which just means I have a big mouth and I like to talk about things and think about the future of research. So glad to be here. This is certainly in my sweet spot. And thank you.

Ivana Taylor:  Excellent. Excellent. And like I said, Vivek is supposed to be here and he got pulled away. Esther, do you want to put in a plug for Survey Analytics and tell us a little bit about what Vivek’s been up to recently?

Esther Rmah LaVielle:  Boy, you know, this could probably take the whole webinar, so I don’t know if I should go there. But yes, Vivek Bhaskaran has been very busy. We are growing quite large. We’ve got mobile research platforms. We’ve got field research platforms. We’ve got our basic tool, QuestionPro, still going very strong worldwide, as well as exponential growth in our enterprise-level, which is Survey Analytics.

And we’re really excited. Next year we’re going to expand into even more products and items, so if you are a fan or research and you love technology, I would suggest highly to sign up for our blog. And Ivana’s a wonderful blog editor, and we’ve got wonderful people that write for us and keep us in their mind, because we’re still going very strong after all these years.

Ivana Taylor:  Well, that’s wonderful. And we’ll be talking about some of the new stuff that you may have to jump into later. But first what I’d like to do is set up the gain space, so to speak. What you see on your screen now are the top trends in 2012 that we’re going to be talking about. What you can expect is not a lecture, joy of joys.

What you’re going to hear is a lot of bantering, communicating back and forth. Probably the only structure I would like to put in place is that we more or less speak about one at a time. So I’m going to put a trend up on the screen, and then I might ask a few questions. And I’d just really like to hear what Leonard and Romi have to say about the trend that’s going on.

And so the basic format will be describe what the trend is, give us maybe some examples and maybe some tools or things that we can expect to see in the future, how we can take advantage of that trend,

OK? So I’m just going to jump right in there with gamification. Who would like to start? Can someone explain exactly what gamification is for those of us in the gifted class?

Romi Mahajan:  Yes. So this is Romi Mahajan. It’s one of the trends that I have been thinking about a lot, talking about, writing about, and actually enacting through some of my own business deals. Gamification at its essence is essentially taking the spirit of a game, ie, an engagement platform, something that has rules and voluntary participation. something that’s fun and interesting, and applying it to a variety of different areas of business, whether it be how you design a website, how you design a mobile interface, or frankly, how you design a motivation system for your employees.

We’ve noticed that games are universal, they’re understood universally, and that they can be enormously helpful in creating some sort of action, whether that action be people clicking on your website or your seller selling more software, as it were. So gamification, again, is applying the concept of a game to anything and everything. I think that it’s quite clear that people are familiar with the metaphor of a game, but very few people are actually applying that to their business processes and their models for incenting or exciting or eliciting human behavior. So that’s what gamification is at its essence. I’d love to hear Lenny’s perspective, but I think it’s a huge trend and one that if one misses– if you miss that boat, you’re going to miss a huge area not only for profit but also for having a kind of fun in the world of business.

Leonard Murphy:  Yes, thanks, Romi. And I agree with your definition entirely. I, like you, have been playing in this arena for about two years now with actually bringing this to market, especially in the realm of market research. And since the slide’s about gamifying your surveys, I think there’s a challenge there to make that happen.

It goes against the way that we think about structuring market research traditionally. However, there’s a significant amount of evidence now that the whole process of asking questions in kind of a false scenario is not necessarily the optimal way to be able to gain insight. So I think the real opportunity for gamification, particularly from an insight standpoint, is to create scenarios where consumers are actually letting go of the cognitive aspects, where they’re not really thinking about the decision making but instead are acting out scenarios that may be more honest and more appropriate to actually how they make decisions.

Romi Mahajan:  Yes. I would agree with you Lenny. I would agree with you totally on that point.

Leonard Murphy:  Yes. Yes. There’s tons and tons of evidence out there. And that’s a real paradigm shift in research. It’s a pain point. It’s going to be a while before we see that really take off. And there’s a lot of companies from outside of the traditional market research space that are applying those principles, and are gaining traction and being successful.

We’re going to see it certainly happen, I think, with Facebook and a lot of the social media networks. It would not surprise me at all if Zynga actually started doing this more from an insight generation standpoint. They’re collecting buttloads of data as it is, they just structure it at little bit differently. So I certainly believe that it is going to be one of the big trends, probably one of the defining aspects over the next five years.

Romi Mahajan:  If I could just add two quick things, and then Ivana if you wanted to move on to another trend, that’s fine. To Lenny’s point, gamification can be done well or it can be done badly, right? So if it’s some sort of false thing in which the gaming aspects are being exposed too much, it’s clearly going to be seen as some sort of false way of eliciting information from people. So again, gamification, like any other trend can be done badly, it can be done well, it can be done OK. And my advice to people is to really get into the depth of it, and to understand how best to elicit action and behavior, as opposed to just thinking of throwing up a game on their website is going to work.

Reality is BrokenI definitely recommend Jane McGonigal’s book, Reality is Broken. I think it’s the single best book on gamification that exists, as well as some of the O’Reilly Press books on gamification, including one called Gamification by Design. Those two are very interesting books that will certainly set any reader in good stead with regard to gamification.

The second thing that I think about broadly with gamification, is that if you’re in a profession– I’m a marketer and the last five years marketing has had to fight sort of battles that it never really had before. The battles were around justifying itself to other parts of the company. And I think that if you’re in an area that is under attack or is somewhat moribund, gamification might be a great way to introduce others to what your profession does.

Gamification by DesignSo for me, market research has been siloed for too long. And if market researchers can gamify what they do and expose it to other parts of the company, I think they’ll be given their due accord internally as opposed to what exists right now. So those are two facts of gamification I’d like to bring out.

Ivana Taylor:  One thing that I would like to ask you guys is if you have any examples. Romi, you mentioned something being done well and something being done poorly. Do you have an example of something we may have already experienced or can you give us an easy way to get started successfully.

Romi Mahajan:  I’ll tell you a bad example of gamification. And this is an age old one in market research around taking a survey and 1 out of 250,000 people will win a Ferrari, or one of whatever people will win an Xbox. And that’s not going to entice people. That’s, of course, a game, but it’s so ham-handed and it’s so old and old-fashioned, and I don’t think that’ll really get people to behave, or it’s certainly won’t elicit truthful answers. So I think that’s a bad example.

A good example I can bring from my own past was around an IT department at one of the companies I worked for that used to do incredible work. And what it would do is it would send out these emails to the broad base of employees and have the employees guess, for instance, how many pieces of spam did the IT department stop? How much is the average downtime when you do a server room move, and how much is our downtime? And got people to start engaging and guessing and thereby really won all kinds of plaudits internally for finally people understood how much IT does for the rest of the organization.

I thought that was a really interesting example of gamification. So again, you can do it in the ham-handed, primitive way or you can do it in an intelligent way. It really depends on you to do it right.

Ivana Taylor:  Leonard, last word on gamification.

Leonard Murphy:  Just to echo Romi, sweepstakes, yes, that’s probably not the best way to do things. A great example, I think, and this is totally appropriate for market research, Dunkin’ Donuts was working with a company. I don’t recall the name right now, unfortunately. But on the Dunkin’ Donuts Facebook page, we can go in and create your perfect beverage, utilizing their different flavors of coffee. And that is an interactive game, it looks like anything else that you would play online, but it’s designed for them to understand the preferences around size and choices on their coffee consistency. And that’s how they’ve been rolling out new beverages based on the feedback they’ve received through this game process. So that is a research game.

Ivana Taylor:  That game sounds like fun to me.

Leonard Murphy:  It is. It absolutely is. Great, great, great analogy. It absolutely is. You’re making trade-offs and you’re doing it in a visual way and it’s very fun. And you don’t realize that you’re playing a game. I’m sorry– I got that backwards. You don’t realize that you’re actually taking a survey. You just think you’re playing a game. I think that’s a great lesson for us to think about, that eventually we may reach the point where if respondents think that they’re taking a survey, we’re probably doing something wrong.

Ivana Taylor:  Love it. I love that point. I love that point.

That’s excellent. And that actually brings us over to a trend that Romi had first started talking about, so I’m going to give him the first word, is consumerization. Say more about that.

That’s it for Part One – Gamification.  Next up is Part Two – Consumerization.  Make sure not to miss it by subscribing to Research Access email updates.


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About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.

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