How Games and Gamification Revolutionise Market Research

Author: Vanessa Heinz, UEA Marketing Student

As a proactive researcher in the field, she’s earned remarkable recognition as “one of seven women shaping the future of market research”. She founded the company Research through Gaming where she and her team of engagement specialists design market research games for brands and organisations that wish to better understand their customers and markets.

In her talk, Betty emphasised on how games are much more than a pastime. Games have the potential to energise and enliven us as well as give us the chance to reveal us to ourselves and others. When engaging in play, we experience flow, a concept that is colloquially known as “being in the zone”. We get lost in a new world that allows us to escape reality and in which we are able to thoroughly focus, immerse ourselves and enjoy the experience. All of it voluntarily and out of intrinsic motivation. Research has also found that intrinsically motivated individuals tend to develop a desire for continuation and completion. Doesn’t this sound extremely attractive to market researchers who struggle to harness all these reactions with traditional research methods?

Game-based research methods include games and gamification, which are generally conducted online for maximum efficiency in collecting insights. As previously mentioned, a game in all its forms or shapes (e.g. action, adventure, role-playing, simulation, strategy, sports, puzzle, etc.) enables players to get fully immersed in a different world and hence allows researchers to gather authentic and rich data. Gamification however, gamifies situations that usually would not be considered as games and rewards participants with badges and points to develop brand loyalty and awareness. The challenge in designing market research games consists of collecting data and insights in a subtle way that ensures that participants feel connected and wish to finish the games while staying within ethical parameters.

In order to understand the concepts Betty familiarised us with, we engaged in a workshop where we got into teams and had to make use of game ingredients, game components and game elements to design our own research games. Around the theme of sustainability, groups came up with outstanding ideas around how to fight climate change, reduce waste, recycle properly and push the fashion industry to ethically source materials. The winning team got to take home a signed copy of Betty’s new book “Games and Gamification in Market Research”. To wrap the session up, we moved over to the buffet to network over catered food and hot drinks.