Mobile Market Research Trends, Part 1: Mobile Gamification

mobile gamificationOn January 30th, 2012, Survey Analytics sponsored a webinar on Mobile Market Research Trends. The webinar was moderated by Esther LaVielle of Survey Analytics and featured Romi Mahajan, CMO of Metavana, and Chad Bhandari, co-founder of SurveySwipe. Today we bring you the full text of Part 1 of the webinar, which covered the topic of Mobile Gamification.

Esther Rmah LaVielle

Esther Rmah LaVielle

Esther LaVielle: Here are our trends that we’re going to be talking about; gamification, panel communities, passive data collection, HTML5, mobile ethnography, and hyperlocal surveys.

So the first topic we’re going to pose to our speakers today is about gamification. Why is gamification important? Why do you believe it’s important, and do you believe it’s the future of market research?

I’ll go ahead and direct this question over to you first, Romi.

Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan: So first off, thank you very much for the opportunity to be on this webcast. This is my second webcast with the Survey Analytics family, and last time was very enjoyable, and we got some good feedback. So I do hope that those of you who are listening send us the bouquets or the brick bats depending on how well we do. And let us know if these are useful for you, or if you want to see more complexity in the way we do these and more detail.

So gamification I think is a trend that you’d have to have been under a rock not to have been reading about, right, recently. It’s really about the application of an age old construct, that of the game, to business, to web interactions, to financial services, to the medical field, to almost anything. And the notion here is that a game, when you break it down into its fundamental parts, is actually pretty easy to understand.

There’s an objective. There’s voluntary participation. There’s some level of feedback you get along the way. There’s an element of fun to it. And we’ve come to understand that’s the metaphor of gaming is applicable to people of all ages and all societies at all levels of the economic totem pole, et cetera. And as such, gamification has become a very powerful metaphor, again, for how we do business.

I think about gamification a couple ways when I think about market research, when I think about marketing in general. At the very, very basic, you think about the fact that each one of us has gotten a survey at some point in our life that says, fill it out, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $500 gift certificate, or a Ferrari, or some other artifact that that’s delightful. And that is a form of gamification as well, right? When we make a game out of interaction, and as such, people will participate.

As a parent, I remember gamifying the dining experience of my kids. The classic take your fork, put some food on it, and pretend it’s an airplane, and tell the kid that the airplane’s coming into the airport, right? So gamification has applicability to almost anything we do.

Doing it well, however, is difficult and I look forward to some of the other panelists talking about either examples of gamification that have not gone well or have gone well.

Esther LaVielle: So I do want to pose one question that I get a lot from clients that I’m talking to about gamification, and a lot of them are very resistant to it. So clearly, this goes against any traditional research techniques in a very aggressive manner. What would you guys say to those doubters to encourage them not to dismiss gamification as a fluke, but as another avenue to collect data in the future?

Romi Mahajan: So I think gamification, there are people, as you say, who think about it as a trivialization of research or anything else. And I think part of that is people being caught up in the notion of just the word itself, the game. Games, people tend to think of games as frivolous.

In fact, every good interaction when it comes to data collection, when it comes to the web, when it comes to moving a customer from one experience to the next, is gamified. We’re trying to create interesting experiences. We’re trying to help them understand what they can get at the end of participation, whether it’s greater knowledge, whether it’s some sort of monetary artifact. And so, in a way, we’re already doing gamification. The point of christening it as a category is to say, let’s do it better. Let’s think about some rules.

I look at the slide you have up there, and I see that we have badges up there. Badges clearly are working. Look at FourSquare, look at– I know there’s a company called BadgeFarm that you guys are working on. All of those are incredibly, very powerful, again, a metaphor for how business is done. And so to me, I would tell the naysayers that they’re probably already indulging in gamification. And if they believe that it’s a frivilous category, then they’re probably not doing it well.

So that would be what I would submit to them. Maybe breakdown the point at its beginning without actually debating the merits, because gamification is here, and it’s here to stay.


Chad Bhandari

Chad Bhandari: I just want to kind of add to what Romi said about gamification on SurveySwipe. What we’ve done is SurveySwipe is built with the reward system built in, so panelists earn points when they take surveys. But that’s an example of the basics of gamification that we built into SurveySwipe.

And over time, we’re going to integrate BadgeFarm into SurveySwipe as well. In fact, we’re already on beta for that. So it’s definitely– BadgeFarm, gamification is going to be part of SurveySwipe.

Romi Mahajan: That’s great, Chad. I think that SurveySwipe is already such a powerful platform. I really enjoyed the demos that you guys have done for me and enjoyed thinking through the applications. On gamification, I guess my last point would be that for those people on the panel who are intrepid enough to read further on this, I would recommend Jane McGonigal’s book called Reality is Broken and the O’Reilly media book called Gamification by Design. Both are incredibly good and lucid expositions of gamification and their their application to different areas of business.  So we’ll go from there.

Chad Bhandari: Absolutely, be certain to read that book. It’s absolutely awesome.

Esther LaVielle:  Great. So let’s go and move on to the next topic here, which is panel communities. Basically, what are panel communities and what do you believe is its benefits to a company?

That’s it for Part 1: Mobile Gamification.  The upcoming installments will cover the following topics: panel communities, passive data collection, HTML5, mobile ethnography, and hyperlocal surveys.

Click This Link to Get the Webinar Video and Slides

About Dana Stanley

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


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