Market Research, Games, Gamification and Betty Adamou | Episode 079

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Betty Adamou is the Founder of Research Through Gaming, Author of Games and Gamification in Market Research (Kogan Page Publishing, 2019), and a serious game designer specializing in market research and marketing.

Adamou is the inventor of ResearchGames™ (a new research methodology) where she designs games as instruments for consumer research on behalf of Fortune 500 brands. She is frequently invited to give keynote presentations and university guest lectures to share her business cases, expertise and research to a global audience.

Betty has been voted “1 of 7 women shaping the future of market research” and is a multi-award winning entrepreneur and innovator, including the NGMR Disruptive Innovator and Enfield Entrepreneur of the Year awards. She has been noted both as a ‘pioneer’ and ‘revolutionary’ in the research field and is frequently voted as a top researcher and researcher of influence. Adamou is regularly interviewed to share her unique work and customers success stories, including several newspapers and magazines, podcasts and radio stations (including BBC Radio). She notes her greatest achievements as climbing Hong Kong’s Lantau Peak, writing a book, and achieving a 97% completion rate among teenage audiences.

Research Through Gaming is based in the UK and since its inception in 2011, has worked with a diverse range of global brands, and has been in the GRIT Top 50 Most Innovative firms twice.

A regular day for her could be exemplified by what she did on the day of the interview, and she has been doing graphic designs for a research game that she is creating for an alcoholic beverages Fortune 500 brand! She’s currently creating a storyboard for an upcoming presentation for this client. Looking at scenarios, polishing details, the user experience itself, aesthetics and so on is something that is constantly going through her head on these projects. Before getting to this stage though, she had to spend a lot of time researching the consumers of the client!

Her process for projects starts with receiving the brief by the client where it talks about what the research objectives are and how these objectives relate to their business need. As a generic example, assuming a brand wants to research what people think of a food product that it wants to put into the market, the data to be collected would inform how to make a great packaging or flavor, which is the actual business need. With that information, she also asks for as much information on what they already know of the consumer market, which is followed by her own extensive research of these profiles. She wants to get a deep understanding of what the participants of the potential market research, that she will conduct through a game, already might think and feel for this product or category. It all starts by understanding the players! With this information, she attempts to further engage the participants of the market research game, because the better the engagement the better the data that will come as a result. This then leads into the design stage where she builds all of these storyboards for the client to approve. After the design, comes the actual coding or development that she manages, which is followed by a very strict set of tests to make sure everything is working correctly.

Betty’s favorite fail happened when creating a research game for a large brand. As usual, when working with large brands a lot of the legal documents are prepared by them. This ended up in something not being entirely clear for her and the final product ended up being programmed by another team! This is something that she normally took care of with a team of her own and it was stipulated in the legal terms, so it wasn’t really a problem because she was even compensated for it. She felt that they took her design and had someone else do it and took it personally. It was an opportunity to also reflect on the fact that perhaps that is not even her favorite part of these projects and realized that it is ok if many times she is not taking that side of the work! This led also to the general reflection of where to focus on when you can and whether or not everything needs to be controlled by you as the creator of gamified solutions.

A best practice for Betty would include something that she has in her book Games and Gamification in Market Research with regards to what she calls the four value types that games give:

  1. Knowledge value
  2. Self-discovery value
  3. Narrative value
  4. Transcendent value

Betty says that if a game provides these four values to people then they are going to be intrinsically engaged. Her favorite games would be Scrabble and Monopoly as board games, and World of Warcraft as a video game! She would certainly love to listen to Dr. Rachel Lawes. The book she would recommend is Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal.

A superpower that she has is empathy! There are hardly too many things that are more important when creating games and gamification. A bit of final advice would be to take 20-minute timer to brainstorm ideas to design a game or gamified platform to solve whatever problem you are facing. She claims that you will be surprised by how great things can come through.

You can find out more about Betty and connect with her on Twitter @BettyAdamou, on her webs for the book or her company at

Quick summary of this episode’s links

Betty On Twitter

Founder: Research Through Gaming

Author: Games & Gamification

Book Recommendation: Reality Is Broken – Jane McGonigal

Favorite Games: Scrabble, Monopoly and World of Warcraft


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