Of the various marketing research strategies available and applied by companies, we will focus a bit on customer marketing research. customer marketing research plays an important role on a company’s relation to its customers. It helps the company to comprehend the needs and wants of its target audience, allowing them to create or adapt products based on the output of their researches.
But, let’s face it – marketing research can be extremely boring to the customer, specially if it is based on questioning. And, most of the times, customers get nothing out of it. Not to mention that a lot of surveys can take longer than 15 minutes, which means people participating will be facing a degrading attention span throughout the survey. If the questions follow a repetitive pattern, people will probably randomize a few answers as well – leading to not-so-accurate results.
We think it’s time to create a meaningful bridge between the companies and their customers, marketing-wise.
Gamification and marketing research
One of the areas that has seen a wide application of gamification concepts is precisely marketing. However, since gamification is a relatively new concept – that just now is starting to get its well deserved popularity – most companies are unaware of it and its amazing possibilities.
We have decided to work a bit around this subject, using our own True Life Game approach. We created an example of a gamification structure applied to the marketing research of a fictitious apparel company that goes by the name of Gorgeous Apparel.
Gorgeous Apparel wants to create awesome clothing for its customers and sell it online.
They want to gamify their marketing research. They start their gamification plan by creating a website that has a series of features, including:
- Product showroom with public access;
- Users can register and create their virtual Gorgeous Avatar;
- Registered users can add products to a wish-list;
- Before purchasing a product, registered users can try out its digital version on their Avatars;
- Registered users can interact with each other using their Avatars, in a forum-like way.
Since Gorgeous Apparel really want to engage their customers, each piece of clothing comes with a Unique ID on its label, which is associated with the correspondent digital item on their website.
Let’s imagine that a Gorgeous Apparel customer called Tracy purchases a pair of jeans. After receiving the jeans at her address, she uses the Unique ID on the label to register these jeans on the Gorgeous Apparel website. This allows her to give a rating score and a brief feedback to that product, if she so desires. Nothing really out of the ordinary, so far.
She then finds out that registering the jeans’ Unique ID on the website earns her a permanent digital version of those jeans, which she can dress her Avatar with, whenever she wants. Now she knows that every piece of clothing she purchases from Gorgeous Apparel will enrich her digital closet. Everyone loves a fashionable Avatar! The Sims, anyone?
But Gorgeous Apparel wants to further reward Tracy for being a loyal and active customer. So, each time Tracy registers a Unique ID on their website, she not only gets the correspondent digital item, but is also awarded with some Gorgeous Points (GPs). After accumulating a certain amount of GPs, she can trade them for a one-time discount on her next purchase – or any other reward Gorgeous Apparel decides to offer.
Then comes the real marketing research
By being registered on the website, Tracy is – along with all other customers – part of Gorgeous Apparel database. The company knows her gender and has access to her history – they know, by Tracy’s product ratings and wish-list, what products she likes the most. If we take all customers into consideration, this is good marketing statistics for Gorgeous Apparel, but they want to go further!
Being experts on gamification, they come up with a plan to better optimize their marketing research results, while further engaging their customers. They do not send out a survey to their customers – they don’t want to scare and bore their clientele! Instead, they send out an email notification to their registered customers, asking them to go check out the Secret Showroom section on the website, where they can help choose the next gorgeous pieces of apparel.
Upon entering the Secret Showroom, Tracy sees a pre-selection of under-study products oriented to her gender and history, which she can try out on her Avatar, Liking or Disliking each product as she goes – probably providing some constructive feedback as well. Even though the designers from Gorgeous Apparel came up with great ideas for new products, the customer base has the final word over the success of each product. So, the company presents Tracy (and all other customers) with these new product ideas, providing her with a fun-oriented game to try out brand new, yet-inexistent clothes. With it, Gorgeous Apparel obtains a free and effective market research, that will output the overall level of acceptance towards each new product.
Then, after the final product is chosen, Tracy and every other contributing customer would be awarded with bonus GPs, given the possibility to pre-order that product with a discount, and get it before anyone else.
The marketing research team could go even further, by allowing Tracy to fully customize a piece of apparel on her Avatar, using a number of pre-selected choices: Jeans with lowered or normal waist; Color black, red or blue; Loose or tight; and so on. Then, based on the average output of the choices created by the customer base, the “perfect piece of apparel” would come to life. That’s gamification AND crowdsourcing!
The possibilities of gamification are only limited by one’s imagination. Don’t you think this is the path to the future?
Note: This subject was brought up to us by Chris Jones: He asked our opinion on how gamification would affect marketing research in the future. If you want to challenge us to develop a topic around gamification, please send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get to it as soon as we can. Also, we have just created a new page (check it out here!), where you can check all the good resources we use in our website.