24 Mar 2021
Sasin School of Management recently welcomed Assistant Professor Karuna Yampray from Dhurakij Pundit University, who gave a talk on Applying Gamification to Lifestyle-Based Market Segmentation of Aging Customers as part of the school’s Research Seminar series. Asst. Prof. Karuna is a Ph.D. candidate in the Technopreneurship and Innovation Management (TIP) Program at Chulalongkorn University, where she works with Dr. Songphan Choemprayong, a member of Behavioral Research and Informatics in Social Sciences Research Unit (RU-BRI) at Sasin School of Management, and Chair of the Department of Library Science, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. Her studies are a result of changing demographics and an aging population. New economics and data processes are evolving to embrace the opportunities provided by the emergence of “Silver Economics”. As society grows older, businesses are adapting to the differing needs of the elderly, modifying product development and services to cater for this rising demographic. Asst. Prof. Karuna believes that the way to unlock insights into aging consumer needs is to focus on their behavioral and lifestyle data. With a background in Game-based Learning and Gamification in business, she decided to see if the same principles could work for data collection. Her dissertation topic is about applying gamification techniques to classify cognitive and behavioral data relating to older consumer groups. Asst. Prof. Karuna identified the primary concerns of the elderly as well as the predictable issues of physical and cognitive problems. Older respondents were reluctant to share things like opinions or financial status and did not like questions that revealed identity. However, she discovered that older participants were more receptive to sharing data if it was fun. The research also found that elderly respondents were surprisingly into playing games. The games they favored tended to focus on relaxation and entertainment, socializing with others, brain-sharpening and mentally challenging activities, and interaction using new technology. Games such as Candy Crush, Bejeweled and Sudoku were particularly popular. Gamification is defined as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts”. Asst. Prof. Karuna wants to test the viability of using game-like mechanics to get information from the older generations. Her dissertation began with the exploration of the classification of aging consumers’ lifestyle as well as the identification of factors that would improve aging consumers’ lifestyle-based segmentation. During the exploration phase, the researchers recruited 420 Bangkok-based residents as well as marketing professionals and scholars to participate. The information was gathered using questionnaires, interviews, and observation, and the data was analyzed to produce valid and reliable lifestyle-based measures. At the early stage of prototype and testing, a mobile game is currently being developed to be compatible with the newly developed lifestyle-based segmentation measures. The testing covers the usability and acceptance of the gamified lifestyle-based market segmentation. Tentatively, the game consists of a series of quizzes and mini games where users are tested on topics such as food or exercise, with the players ranking nutrition or calories, for example. This gets them in-game points and allows them to personalize things like avatars and virtual apartments, all of which can provide additional insights. Asst. Prof. Karuna thinks using gamified mechanisms could be a valid and effective way of getting data. She said, “The key point is how to engage the user. What is different from a questionnaire is people’s perception that questionnaires are boring. Games help people connect more than traditional methods.” If the older generation finds these games enjoyable, the information gathered could be of immense benefit for age-related industries such as life insurance companies and medical specialists. One of the attendees, Sasin Assistant Professor Sabin Srivannaboon, Ph.D., Faculty of Operations and Technology, said: “I think it’s interesting and it matches the trends of society now, especially with older people. There are many aspects to gaming and gamification, including how older people are returning to activities of their youth – such as playing games.” The talk by Assistant Professor Karuna Yampray was fascinating, and it will be interesting to see the results of her work.