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Utsaha- The Storied Legacy Continues

Sidharth Suresh IPM 2018-23

“Don't find customers for your product. Find products for your customers." — Seth Godin.

Conceived with the unique objective of gathering information in a disguised manner for market research before the product launch itself to understand the dynamics of consumer buying behaviour in untapped semi-urban and rural markets, Utsaha- The Annual Marketing Festival of IIM Indore has a storied history tracing back two decades. Founded by notable IIM-I alumnus Mr. Saurabh Bajaj, currently leading the Prepaid Marketing division of Vodafone Idea as Executive Vice President in 2003-2004, Utsaha attempts to bridge the gap between a marketer’s plan and consumer purchase behaviour by functioning as a data repository for actionable insights. ​ From its inception to date, Utsaha has conducted gamified marketing experiments to foster market research and decipher the consumer’s mind. Traditionally, a rural marketing research festival based at Janpav Kuti near Indore wherein live projects are carried out in real rural environments as opposed to simulations, Utsaha has gradually expanded its horizons to cater to urban markets as well in subsequent editions. Fostering associations with a plethora of brands such as Airtel, LIC and Policy Bazaar, IIM Indore students have carried out complex projects ranging from studying the perception of rural consumers about online payments to identifying key influencers in the rural value chain. Over the last three editions, Utsaha has also conducted extensive projects to measure the digital KPIs of brands, such as awareness, perception and recall in the rural landscape, along with traditional marketing projects profiling new product launches, brand analysis and validating marketing strategy. ​ From its inception to date, Utsaha has conducted gamified marketing experiments to foster market research and decipher the consumer’s mind. Traditionally, a rural marketing research festival based at Janpav Kuti near Indore wherein live projects are carried out in real rural environments as opposed to simulations, Utsaha has gradually expanded its horizons to cater to urban markets as well in subsequent editions. Fostering associations with a plethora of brands such as Airtel, LIC and Policy Bazaar, IIM Indore students have carried out complex projects ranging from studying the perception of rural consumers about online payments to identifying key influencers in the rural value chain. Over the last three editions, Utsaha has also conducted extensive projects to measure the digital KPIs of brands, such as awareness, perception and recall in the rural landscape, along with traditional marketing projects profiling new product launches, brand analysis and validating marketing strategy. ​ With a mission to create value across its entire stakeholder network, Utsaha believes in learning on the job while contributing to societal welfare. Along with the core fest competency of executing cost-effective and high-quality projects backed by extensive research and data analysis, Utsaha conducts career sessions for students and unemployed residents of Janpav Kuti, striving to empower the rural population with knowledge about business opportunities and facilitate the transfer of knowledge. Rural sensitisation is also an important imperative of the fest, with teams carrying out workshops and information-sharing sessions to spread awareness on relevant topics such as sanitation and personal hygiene amongst the student populace. The students of IIM Indore eagerly look forward to Utsaha every year as it gives them a chance to implement classroom B-school knowledge to real-life problems, fine-tuning skills in marketing, operations and management, a precursor to taking up leadership roles later on in their careers. ​ A unique campus festival like no other in central India, this year’s edition of Utsaha, scheduled from 28th to 30th October promises to be an exhilarating and fun-filled affair, much like its predecessors. With the festival being held completely offline for the first time in three years, there is much hype and fanfare amongst the participants and organisers of Utsaha’22. Featuring top brands and luminaries from multiple industries and sectors, let’s stay tuned and enjoy the action!

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Market Research: Why and How

Nanki Rana PGP 2022-24 BATCH

Market research is truly the buzzword of the business world. But that is the thing with buzzwords, people rarely know what they mean or what their scope is. When a customer sees an advertisement for a product that seems ideal for them, they celebrate their good fortune, yet this situation probably wasn't (and shouldn't have been) the result of luck. Companies use strategic market research to make these situations conceivable. In essence, market research provides correct insight into how to run a firm, what business decisions to make, and how to save money by putting money into what will work and staying away from what the facts indicate won't. This is the power of research and analysis. So then how to go about conducting a study? 1. Begin with your notion and query. Every market research project begins with a concept. In other words, what is the concept you have that will revolutionize a market, fill a need, or address a challenge that isn't being addressed at the moment. When you have that thought, you must turn it into a question. Your inquiry will act as a polestar to direct you through the market research procedure. Research into the market is driven by ideas. However, keep in mind that before putting your idea into action, it is crucial to undertake careful market research, regardless of how amazing your idea is (or how good you think your idea is). You can end up wasting a lot of money if you don't take the next stages in market research. 2. Identify the issue and establish a goal Organizations can make the mistake of investigating subjects they believe will best suit their needs rather than focusing distinctly on holes in the market. This may take businesses down a route where there are either too many, incorrect, or no solutions. It's crucial to define the issue instead. To find the holes in the market, this entails looking at actual data. It will be much simpler to define clear goals and carry out a research project that will produce useful insights if the problem is clearly identified. You may clearly define the goals of your study once the issue has been recognised. What is it that you desire to learn? What specific queries do you have? 3. Choose a research design. Once you are clear on your question, consider the best method for gathering data. It's vital to keep in mind the Voice of the Customer when conducting research, whether you do it yourself, hire a company to do it for you, or utilize research software to gather data. In other words, you've already had multiple interactions with your clients. How do they usually reply to your demands the best? Do they like interacting with you through surveys? Interviews? focusing groups Internet forums? A mix? One of your best options for figuring out the ideal approach for selecting a sample and gathering data will be to look at how your consumers normally respond to feedback. 4. Create and ready the research tool You will need some assistance to complete this step correctly. No matter whatever approach you use, there are several subtleties to designing a survey, running a focus group, or doing research. Your best option is to do some independent research on how to set up a study and use software that handles the tedious work for you. There are several tools available that can help you set up an online community, sample your consumers and a broader online panel, conduct an online interview, and more. They can also help you create the ideal survey. 5. Data gathering and evaluation Technically speaking, gathering data and analyzing it are two different processes. However, it's simple to combine these two phases if you employ a clever, automated technology for gathering market research. Why? Because the tool will handle the data collecting and calculations on your behalf. The majority of market research tools will employ algorithms and AI as soon as you design your study and launch it to gather the data and transform the numbers into insights that you can quickly understand. All that's left to do after the study is finished is read the findings. 6. Show and explain the outcomes. Gathering your research findings and visualizing them so that your marketing teams, executive board, and any other stakeholders can understand them is the final phase in the research process. Once more, the majority of market research tools enable you to quickly and easily visualize the most crucial information. After that, it will be up to you to present the findings and decide how to proceed with the introduction of your product, reorganization of your customer care department, or other study-related insight. Wrap up There is no justification for not conducting market research every time you have a query when there are so many accessible, reasonably priced instruments at your disposal and when you consider how effective one small study can be. You'll be able to see firsthand the influence market research will have on your company if you take the measures indicated above.



The Rise of Gamification in Marketing

Sidharth Suresh IPM 2018-23 BATCH

“Games are the only force in the known universe that can get people to take actions against their self-interest, in a predictable way, without using force.” ― Gabe Zichermann. The history of gamification is a long and storied one. From the millennium-old Gurukul system prevailing in India to the advent of movements such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, various forms of gamification ranging from group tasks to performance badges have enabled its beneficiaries to utilise reward-based systems. Jobs once thought to be tedious, time-consuming and straight-up boring could now be split into smaller tasks with incremental benefits to the performer. This would also have the dual benefit of aiding an increase in retention rate and recall. Defined as ‘the application of typical elements of game playing in a non-game environment to encourage engagement with a product or service’, gamification is rapidly changing the way we interact, engage and think. Gamification and game-based systems utilise biological mechanisms to hijack and reformulate the way individuals perceive the experience of carrying out different tasks. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter of the central nervous system produced in an area widely known as the brain's reward centre. The reward centre is part of an evolutionary mechanism developed to ensure the survival of our species by satisfying basic needs like food, shelter and reproduction. The increased dopamine production is directly linked to the perception of feelings like pleasure and satisfaction in the brain, encouraging us to repeat the behaviours that created these feelings. Gamification takes advantage of this process and retargets it towards the product, information or service being gamified, generating a spike in the interest levels and attention span towards that experience. Therefore, the question naturally arises - Are we being biologically hacked as a result of gamification? The short but not-so-subtle answer - Yes. Gamification is increasingly being used as a powerful marketing tool that can potentially sway interests and increase consumer loyalty at the same time. The discipline of gamified marketing is a fast-growing one with organisations, irrespective of size and brand equity, attempting to capture a chunk of the attention economy that constitutes the world today. Unlike traditional marketing, games cannot unexpectedly pop up in users’ feeds and attempt to divert their attention. Instead, users are given the option to try the game through an incentive. This means that all engagements from the opt-in point forth will arrive proactively from the user - they are given control of how they choose to interact with the brand or organisation. Omni-channel marketing campaigns of some of the world’s leading brands with components of gamification continue to linger in our minds a long time ( in today’s attention span terms) after they took place. One of the most famous ones, The ‘My Starbucks’ Reward programme, is notable for revolutionising the beverage industry's brand-customer experience. With its transaction-based reward system gamified with different tiers and personalised offers catering to birthdays and special events in their consumers’ lives, Starbucks attained a previously unreachable level of customer connection. This success prompted Starbucks to launch an integrated rewards system with its mobile application and Starbucks cards to essentially create its own payment ecosystem. The aforementioned gamified marketing strategy ended up helping Starbucks receive deposits of more than 1.5 Billion USD by its customers worldwide at effectively zero percent interest. To put this figure into perspective, Starbucks was ranked sixth in the list of United States financial institutions holding consumer cash! Other major brands such as Nike, Coca Cola and even the United States Army soon followed up with their own gamified offerings with considerable success, capitalising on an increasingly online audience. Gamification strategies have also helped social networking giants like Snapchat (with their streaks feature) and Facebook (still remember FB friendship anniversaries? xD) make their products more attractive to a diverse userbase, increasing their earned media. Streaming giants like Netflix have taken this concept to another level with titles like ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’, where consumers had the opportunity to make choices that affect the movie's storyline. When almost every major brand in the world attempts to gamify its offerings, it is reasonable to conclude that it is working for them. Gamification, therefore, has invigorated the brand-customer relationship and interactions with the onus on marketers to think out of the box to gather intelligent insights and generate additional incentives like never before. It is a limitless well of unending riches and customer loyalty. However, the future of gamification will depend on what brands choose to do with the increased connectivity and data. Will they attempt to generate newer games to attract larger audiences? Or will they be used to personalise the consumer experience further? Let us wait and watch.


Himani Narain PGP 2020-22 BATCH

If only we could gauge the colossal horizons of Marketing, we’d know that it is seemingly impossible to confine it into any particular channel known to mankind. It has always been an art which tests one’s limits of creativity as one understands human perception and behaviour. As long as the 8 billion people on the planet don’t share the exact same ideology, there is no way Marketing can be mechanical. So, not anytime soon! But Marketing in itself, is not a stand-along entity. The strategies that a marketer fabricates do not come out of the blue. Rather, they are based on a heavily studied, researched, refined, and filtered data, that is a result of the hundreds of iteration of the source figures. The source? People. This process of collecting data, so as to eventually fabricate a relevant and appropriate marketing strategy is called Market Research. The backbone of the entire concept of marketing, it provides the companies the means to achieve their desired goals. Through a one-on-one interaction with the target audience, the company understands the deeper sub-conscious sentimentality among the customers. Utsaha, through its very name and purpose, captures this relationship between the companies and their target group. It believes in the power of data, and hence in the strength of research. It acts as a bridge between companies and their not-so-easily approachable rural market; all this whilst celebrating the intricacies of Indian carnival in the form of our very own ‘mela’. Commenced in the year 2003-04, Utsaha has been spreading its wings as it provides crucial insights into the consumer perception about the brand to its corporate partners. Its vision is to constantly provide a reliable, thorough, and ready-to-use set of market data to its corporate partners. This data is collected in real-time in a disguised manner, through gamified surveys. Hence, indicates the current and future trends in the consumer behaviour towards the brand, while also highlighting the psychological aspects which generally remain hidden in the face of biases, otherwise very common in direct market research.  Utsaha is 3-day long carnival. The process of problem-solving, however, is not restricted within these days. The process begins with bringing in relevant research objectives/projects from corporate giants, and construct a methodology that will be appropriate for the particular problem statement. This is followed by an extensively iterated round of preparing questionnaire and the gamified surveys, the objective of which is to collect the necessary data without revealing this objective to the respondent. The data collected in the span of the three days at Janapav Kutti is then treated and refined through various research tools and techniques. A descriptive statistical analysis is performed which highlights the trends and patterns in a visual manner. This helps in creating a coherent report, with clear insights and recommendations, which is then submitted to the company.  All through its 12 editions, Utsaha has successfully achieved the desired objectives on behalf of the company, and has only came out with flying colors.  However, the event does not just end here. Alongside the rigorous tasks of conducting the ground market study by our Projects team, we host a plethora of events which make it even more vibrant, and informative. This includes the much-coveted Marketing and Leadership speaker series led by industry experts, the workshops primarily aimed at educating the participants on trending subjects, panel discussions on important yet debatable topics, etc. Between all this, Utsaha also does its part in giving back to the society, through its social initiative’s arm, ‘Ummeed’. Ummeed, with a mission to uplift the rural society, undertakes initiatives aimed at eventually improving the quality of life of the rural population. All through its past activities, it has impacted the lives of over 500 underprivileged students by conducting computer training workshops, art & crafts workshop, carrier counselling sessions, and clean water facility workshop. The team works in and around Janapav Kutti, and also expanded its operations in Harsola and other villages.  The year 2020 brought about a huge change as we moved on completely digital platform. This year was also marked by the first edition of Urban Utsaha, where the research for projects was conducted essentially through the urban population. This posed a lot of challenges as the conventional disguised surveys were now digitally gamified to create the same environment and receive unbiased results. All events were held on a virtual platform, but nonetheless, the participation and appreciation we received was completely overwhelming.  This year, we are all the more determined to take Utsaha to new heights as we explore new and unconventional ideas in the field of Marketing Research. Our quest for bigger and better events is on full swing, and one thing is for sure, it will be a lot more fun!




Anjali Mishra PGP 2020-22 BATCH

The pandemic of 2020 changed the world in ways only the Simpsons could have predicted. As the ways of living and communication changed, the standards of marketing altered; right from research to advertising. This became an era where the one who adapts, survives. So we adapted, for the better! ​ Ever since its inception in 2009 in the lively land of Janapav kutti, the Utsaha family is growing with innovative modifications every year. 42000+ respondents became a part of Utsaha and more than 1000 participants attended the marketing workshop in 2019, portraying the ever-increasing connections. As exciting is the path that lays ahead, there’s no better time than this to pause and reminisce how a team made one fest grow into a community. ​ Utsaha started with an idea of helping the corporate understand the consumer patterns of the rural section, in light of the saturation of the urban market and a large untapped consumer segment in India’s unurbanized areas. Using disguised market research with the help of gamified surveys, the actual consumer trends, and how they understand brands and products could be tested. However, what started as an application of Marketing 101 for the students of IIM Indore turned eventually into environs of growth. Eventually, the paradigm of the surveys taken by Utsaha in collaboration with popular brands diversified so did the process of collecting and collating the data. The process has modified across the years to five major steps, deciding on the primary and secondary research objective, designing the game concepts and surveys for the research, conducting the survey, analyzing collected data using relevant methodologies, and ultimately integrating the findings into a report. Currently, the skillset of Utsaha varies from rural marketing to brand management and retail management strategy. ​  As the family grew, the team felt a responsibility to give back to the community, which was onset for “Ummeed”, an initiative wherein projects related to rural education and provision of basic amenities were undertaken. With an underlying motive of bringing about positive change in society, the team has impacted the lives of more than 500 students by various sessions on career counseling, education in addition to proffering pure water facilities. 2017 saw the opening of a public library for the students of Janapav. In 2019, Ummeed visited five primary schools around Indore and conducted computer training sessions and counseling sessions, contributing their significant part to make them industry-ready. ​ This year marks a huge change in the history of Utsaha. In the decade of exponential growth in digitalization, Utsaha is embarking on a new venture of shifting its research on an online platform, allowing access to a larger audience. Though the methods have changed, the gusto instilled in each participant who makes Utsaha ’20 a reality is as high as it’s been for the past years.



Saurabh Singh PGP 2020-22 BATCH

Let’s face it. Customers don’t do what they say they’ll do. A respondent who knows the brand being surveyed may alter his or her responses as per the brand. For instance, if Mondeleys asks you to choose between Bournville and Lindt, there’s a high chance you’ll choose the former if you love Dairy Milk, or the latter if you’re sick of them. Why? Bias. The way humans respond is always pertaining to one bias or another. However, this is just one of the reasons why disguised market research has become the talk of the Marketing town in recent years. ​ Allow us to list why should you give this concept your attention and not leave the article midway to switch to Instagram. Why is surveying so tricky? ​ We told you before, there’s no escaping to the fact that the traditional surveys consumers do are not exactly accurate. The responses change on the basis of past experiences, word of mouth, and self-confirmation bias. This deviation between responses and actual behavior can be detrimental to brands when they plan their product launches and marketing strategies around these results. Don’t believe us?  Consumers said that would never buy Sony’s Walkman cassette player that didn’t have the capacity to record in market surveys, and users would be irritated by the use of earphones. The Walkman went on to sell 330 million units. What if Sony had believed the research? Starbuck’s mazagran failed inspite of focusing on things which consumers wanted,  a cold, lightly carbonated coffee drink. Although Starbucks recovered by modifying the product into one of their best product innovations-the frappucino, your organization might not be that fortunate. ​ Don’t question your integrity yet, biases are natural and difficult to overcome What is the solution? ​ It’s pretty simple, you collect their responses in a way they don’t get to know they are being surveyed.  That is exactly what disguised market research, or disguised observation is. The surveys are gamified to make it more engaging and creative. The questions are more open ended to allow respondents to think and answer without anchoring themselves. This form of research has specially gained buzz ever since the growth of internet and social media, where people want more engaging content all the time. “The Game Experiments” to Jon Puleston and Deborah Sleep highlights how this form of observation is more effective in terms of data quality in terms of traditional surveying. ​ However, the idea of indirect surveys can backfire if the goals of surveys are not clearly set. A proper mapping of these surveys and the goals you seek to achieve with the data should be in place before you take your survey out to the audience. ​ So the next time you think about floating a survey, try and go sneaky with your questions, let the audience out their thinking cap on.

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