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Developing the customer understanding game

Customer: Cariitti Oy


Opening intro

Peter Ruokonen, the CEO of Cariitti talks on why and how they built a customer and market understanding game together with Vision Factory to develop their pilot program service. According to him, co-creation through gamification is especially applicable to marketing reports, and situations where we are working with something completely new. The purpose of the game was for us to learn; to collect customer understanding and information of the market to support our launch.

Our learned results were that the game was considered very interesting at fairs, it draws people in with its cards and meeples, and that it works a lot better in gaining customer understanding than for example questionnaires or survey forms. The understanding of customers and the market was then applied and utilized in publishing our concept.

Peter Ruokonen, CEO, Cariitti Oy https://www.cariitti.fi/


Customer Story

We had worked with Krista earlier in several service design projects of a smaller scale. We interviewed and researched through a gamistic approach on what kind of service we should create around our sauna décor product. We used the CoCo Cosmos co-creation game and I got my first case with gamistic research in service design. I then thought that when one has built a game like that and you can turn research knowledge into a gamistic approach, it can then be applied and duplicated into several surroundings. So, I turned to Krista again with our sauna-spa concept.

We applied for funding from Business Finland to research if there was a market for our sauna-spa concept. Of course, you receive some form of feedback from just taking your product to the market to be seen. We however wanted to find a method to receive clarifying questions and document how the customer sees and experiences our product, and was there a market for it in existence in the first place. We pondered on various choices. The most straightforward and easy method would have probably been to create a survey form and have the customers fill it out, but it would have been its own challenge to get them to answer honestly and in detail. With the sauna-spa concept we quite quickly gravitated to the idea with Krista to create a game to act as our tool in gaining customer data.

Creating the game started from first looking at our customer target groups and the possible questions that might emerge, and what questions we wanted answered. We wanted to find out if there really was a demand for our concept: What are the customer segments and personas who purchase and use really like. We wanted to gather valuable data provided by real buyers and users regarding their needs and cultural features to develop our sauna-spa concept. We needed information on the purchase path of the customer to build our sales processes and channels and understanding to build a production model and a distribution chain. We started off with a load of question-answer pairs, which we sorted together with Krista to create a game board. The idea of the game was that we learn; that we gather customer understanding and information on the market to support our launch.

Our observation was that the game was alluring to clients at the trade fair. It drew people in with its meeples and cards and worked a lot better in gaining customer understanding than survey forms or having people participate by answering questions to enter a contest or raffle. Our game board was alluring in both shape and size, and fair goers came to our stall wondering what game this was and could they play it. “Interested in trying?”, we asked. “Yes, I do!” was the most common answer from our enthusiastic customers. The customers did not even ask what the game was about or what they could win; they just wanted to play.

The discussions we had with customers while playing the game was the added value we gained from the game. We gain customer understanding and information on the allure of our product concept and information on the different needs and purchase affecting factors of potential clients. The customer and market understanding we gained with the game was later utilized in the product launch.

”Developing games and a gamistic approach is one of the unique professional aspects of Vision Factory’s expertise, along with a strong background in research knowledge and understanding. When you look at the completed Wellness Dream customer understanding game, you can say not many others could create a thing like this”, Peter Ruokonen reiterates. “When the customer says they have a challenge like this or that, and now they’d need information from the market whether or not there’s a demand for a product like this, that’s the moment where Vision Factory’s knowledge and unique skillset truly shows”, Ruokonen continues. Here it is important to understand both the needs and goals of the customers as well as the behaviour of the end-customers and their possible reactions. Combining all of this into a game is the challenge.

” Krista took care of us in many ways as a customer and ensured that everything was complete and working in the end”, Ruokonen says. “Vision Factory is innovative and they have new, fresh customer-originating thoughts about both us as a customer and our own customers”, he continues.

Ruokonen says that the model by Vision Factory and Krista Keränen is especially suitable for marketing reports and situations where we are operating with something completely new, like when bringing an entirely new product or concept into the market. “We will utilize this kind of gamistic research in upcoming product development challenges in the future. It has been a good experience for us as well as our customers who enjoyed playing.”

The story is based on the interview made by Birgit Eskelinen / Redesign Markkinointi Oy with Peter Ruokonen / Cariitti Oy.

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