A Short Note On Gamification

Gamification. A topic we often hear about nowadays, in a variety of contexts. Marketing, education, market research,… To refresh your memory, Gamification is defined as “the process of using game thinking and game mechanics to solve problems and engage users”. As mentioned on this blog before, we are extremely interested in what gamification can bring to market research to improve the overall process and experience. It is one of the concepts that we see as having a large potential of changing the industry, something that we also defend in our latest R&D paper: “Play, interpret together, play again, and create a win-win-win”. Pretty awesome title, right?
We have been using a whole lot of game mechanics in research community projects over the course of the last year, with very good results. A Curious human being as I am (and all good market researchers are), I wanted to know what our colleagues in the industry are working on. So I went to a MRS gamification workshop, given by the woman that devotes her whole professional career to gamification: Betty Adamou of RTG. The air was thick with creativity all day long, jointly brainstorming about making (mostly) the survey experience a better one for participants. We went from sharing feedback to questions with respondents to interactive surveys in which respondents design your own optimal airplane. I can’t be sure about the latter, but we’ve studied the former, and that definitely works to boost respondent satisfaction…
And after all, that is what it is all about. Renewing our focus on the respondent. Forgetting that our survey solutions are so extremely scalable and cheap, and remembering that respondents need to have an acceptable experience in order to keep doing what they do: helping us and our clients tremendously. Is gamification about designing great games, positioning ourselves as the new competitor to game companies like EA or Eidos? It is not. It is about acceptable experiences.
In a panel debate I talked in, together with Betty and Jon Puleston (GMI) at Esomar 3D, Betty started the discussion with the simple quote “I have a secret”. That secret is that fancy interfaces and lots of eye candy are not necessary for a good respondent experience. Exactly the point that I wanted to make with my slide (see visual underneath):

It is about thinking back about “that guy”, our respondent. It is about re-discovering what drives people to participate in our research projects, listing all the possible motivations, and gratifying them all. Because a gratifying experience will drive people to come back. That’s the way it is in marketing, and that’s the way it is in market research.
Some fancy icing on your cake is fine, but you need a good cake in the first place!

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