The Gaming of Market Research

One of the hot topics in MR today is gamification to make the research experience more interactive, compelling and dare we say, addictive. The idea being that an engaged respondent will prove more likely to be an insightful respondent.

But when it comes to the world of gaming, I would say the tail is wagging the dog. And it’s the respondents who are running this game.

Truth be told, I don’t know where our industry would be right now without the professional respondent. Bless their little mercenary hearts; no survey or in-depth experience seems too long for them to handle.

For the better part of the last decade, there have been conferences and debate dedicated to the issue of declining response rates and respondent quality. Alas, this whole movement seems to have largely fizzled out, despite general agreement that MR participation has been shunned by the vast majority of the populace (A.K.A. Folks with a life).

gaming of market researchBut we go on unabashed and unaffected. Of course, we set certain boundaries and safeguards designed to trap the truly reckless professional respondent. Heck, they don’t even deserve to be called “professional” if they fall for one of our straight line quality checks.

The whole scenario reminds me of the character Claude Raines played in Casablanca.  He is shocked to find out that Rick’s Place has a casino on premises.  As he is declaring his outrage, one of his underlings delivers his nightly winnings from the roulette table.

And he also delivers the line most apt to MR at the end, when to appease the need for justice, he instructs his men to “Round up the usual suspects.”

Let’s hope that MR can once again capture the attention of regular folk, be it through gamification, co-creation or other forms of interactive, compelling experiences.   It would be wonderful to put the “usual suspects” out of business because we offer a user experience that appeals to everyone.

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