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01Dec

MMK266 Consumer Behaviour Research Report

This marketing assignment solution based on the research study on marketing of king.com. This company is known for games i.e. candy crush series.

Introduction

King digital company which is formerly known as the king.com is one of the biggest hits in the internet era today with one of the most popular games that is available online today that is the Candy crush saga. The company develops games for all ages and across various platforms like Android and iOS and has become one of the high risers in the app world in the last couple of years. Its largely popular game Candy crush Saga is the no 1 game that is played by the users of Facebook and is now available both on the Android and the iOS platforms and is hugely popular among the user. In this report we are looking at how effectively king.com can come out and perform in the space of health apps which is one of the most looked after domains and are one of the areas where they could actually make the differentiation compared to other players. Most of the app developers in the health and lifestyle domain are players like Nike, Adidas etc. and on the other extreme there are a whole lot of other players who are amateurish with their applications and also basis the interface and other applications. King.com should aim at coming out with a comprehensive health and life style app that could redone the lives of millions of smartphone users by coming up with a unique one number system that could measure the body movements and convert them into measurable terms that can judge the calories burnt in a given day and probably give some tips that would help today’s generation in cutting the calorie intake and lead a balanced life (Hayles, 1999). This is all the more relevant given the fact that most of the countries where the smartphone penetration is high, we may say that the obesity levels are on a high and there is genuine need for customers or users to make use of a lifestyle app that could help them in improving their day to day living. There are many apps that are available online these days but one thing that the company can make use of is that being an acceptable online app maker in the market, they have both the competency as well as the capability to come up with a more user friendly app that could actually help the customers login daily and ensure that they live a healthy lifestyle (Paulson, 1999). Most of the tutorials that are available in all the platforms these days are not user friendly and at the same time just a compilation of the materials that are easily available online and the main difference that the company can make here is that they could probably customize the whole application experience to the life style of the user and this can be one of the biggest differentiators in these time. In these times where we find an application that fits our smartphone OS for anything and everything, one of the biggest voids that we face is that there is no personalisation of the experience and by providing that the company can ensure that it can be the game changer in the industry.

Issues facing Customers in adopting this new service

In the past few years, one can say that there is a tremendous growth in the usage of various apps and one can confidently say that these apps have definitely changed the way that we look at things and at the same time one must admit that there are a few barriers also that would mean that for a new app maker in this vast variety of apps that are available over the various platforms differentiation has become of the key factors that would be the game changer for them. One of the main obstacles or barrier is the growth of the health and life style apps when compared to other categories. In the past one year it may be seen that while the other application growth rate has been close to 150%, it can be seen that the fitness category has grown only by 49%. But one of the encouraging sign that we see here is that there is already an improvement in the start of the year with various promotions going on air that the fitness application industry has seen a growth and is set to grow. Thus we may say that the customers are more likely to adopt this lifestyle app and going forward it would be a part of their everyday life. One of the main contributes have been the iPhone and IPad users who are more used to getting adapted to new technologies and it has been seen that there is a growth of usage of these apps in this category that has risen by almost 76% in the past one year in the iPhone and iPad category.

So king.com should be targeting these iPhone users at the first to ensure that they adapt to this new app and hence make it popular. One of the key facilitators in any application development has been the word of mouth publicity more than anything else, thus we may see that king.com has to leverage on the popularity that they have gained by creating the candy crush and may be they have the best platform in getting more and more people online by creating an in app link that can redirect the customers to the new app from Candy crush. Since they have a huge fan base in the Facebook, they can also run various promotional and PR campaigns on the Facebook that would promote the app and thus they can have the essential lead over other applications. Another major facilitator is the promotions that are being run on the internet these days that promote health and lifestyle app and thus making it one of the most essential parts of our everyday living. The company should ensure that they also participate and make partnerships with various initiatives that could help them grow. For example the number of long run competitions has gone up by a large number in the past three years, may be the company may look at partnering with these marathons and be a partner so that many people are being introduced to the same.

Another major factor that can be very crucial is that the attractiveness of the application and its ability to stand out in the crowd (Benige, 1996). There is a large group of applications that are being released every day and we may see that one very few get noticed. The developers will have to make this application a comprehensive mobile app that would cover not only the health and fitness parts, they can actually provide various customised health tips based on the daily activities of the individual to ensure that more and more people make use of the same (Borgmann, 2000).

One of the encouraging shifts that we are seeing in the industry is that more and more females and higher age group of the users are moving to using the health and lifestyle apps, the case was pretty much the opposite a few years ago which means that there is a scope for improvement in this area and the company will have to put in efforts that can help themselves familiarise among this gap (Nelson, 1990). Again the major barrier that the company would face here is that the majority of users of the Candy Crush are males and younger age group, so they will have to do something additional to make sure that the users in the other segment can come in and make use of the app. In general the trend that more and more customers are becoming health conscious and introduction of various lifestyle products in the market that can be the change in the promotion of this application. They will have to create the differentiation that would help them differentiate from other players and for this they will have to make the application a little more than just functional. In this age of the digital media, one may say that getting your app connected to the social media platforms is one of the most important ways to get noticed (Laurel, 1999). This would ensure that the user is not alone while using the application instead he will have a bunch of his friends who would be a part of the whole thing and then we may see that there is an increase in the number of people who would be using this application because they find it as an extension of the social media life that they are living. One of the main things that has changed over the past few years has been that everyone is out there to create a virtual media identity for themselves and thus when we try and provide them the cool quotient that they are looking at we may say that this would be beneficial to the company in the growth and introduction of this app (Bolter, 2000).

Another major barrier that the developers would face would be ensuring that the users would make use of the app and the time spent on various applications. They will have to ensure that the application is non-intrusive and the users should be rewarded in terms of points or other freebies for using the app more. One of the common problems that the developers face is that they get their application downloaded in the devises of the users, but there is very little incentive for the user to come back and use it again and again and thus make it a part of their lifestyle (Moulthrop, 1997). The GUI and the design can only help the company in getting the initial downloads and one has to make sure that the functional usage of the application will have to be improved so that the customers keep using the application that can help the company in getting the money back that they have invested by means of the in app purchases and others. Thus we may say that the main focus initially by the company should be to ensure that more and more people download the application by leveraging on the popularity that they have with the release of the candy crush application and the second major focus should be on getting these users to spend more and more time using the application on a daily basis. This is possible by providing various rewards to the users by means of different points and may be by having different levels that the users would graduate into by using the application more and more. This should also be linked to various social media platforms that would ensure that these activities are being tracked and followed by a group of friends and followers of the user which would eventually lead to more and more time spent. Another major obstacle that the company will face here is to monetize the time spent by the users so that they can benefit from the same (Haraway, 1991). One of the most discouraging facts for many customers is that the users are not willing to spend upfront on an app purchase unless and until it has really taken off. There were many users of the WhatsApp who raised their concerns when there were rumours that the application would be made paid and they were ready to move out to a different platform. So the company will have to make sure that they make gains not by asking the users to pay upfront on the subscription charges rather than this they should be depending on the in app purchases and other advertisements that would provide the users additional benefits to be used in the application as the model to work with. The company should work out a clear financial plan to see if the release of the application is worth for them financially as there would be a lot of promotional expenditure that they will have to spend in the initial years of the launch of the application and they will have to justify the same by the user ship in the initial few years (Landow, 1991).

Consumer Responses

We have done for semi structure interviews to find if the application would really work and it would make sense for the customers to actually buy into this idea of the new fitness application if they will have to download it and make use of the same. We have identified users from different profiles and categories to ensure that there is no bias in the whole process of this feedback. We have also ensured that these set of users are introduced to the world of applications so that there is no need to explain the benefits to this crowd. Let us look at the responses one by one.

Prince

Prince is a techie working with a major MNC who is used to the world of applications and he has started hitting the gym to overcome the unhealthy lifestyle that he has been into. He is a user of many applications and he sees mobile as a functional tool. When we went in detail to check what would be the uses that he uses his mobile. He came up with a straight answer “I use my mobile pretty much to be my life companion; it assists me in everything that I do”. There were specific questions to understand whether he has used any lifestyle applications. He was used to using some of the applications but he was candid enough to admit that he hasn’t spent much time on the same. He was open to the idea of a new application that would take care of his fitness concern and was excited to know that it comes from the stable of the makers of the candy crush. The brand recall was high and there was a sense of loyalty that we could observe within him. One of the important things for him would be to ensure that the application not only provides various fitness tips but should be customizable also. Another key concern that he has was over the price and he has made it clear that he is not willing to pay upfront for an application that is not yet tested but he is willing to upgrade the application to make use of more features if he finds it suitable. Thus we may conclude that prince is looking for a more functional application that would take care of his fitness needs but at the same time he is willing to graduate a better version if he sees value in the application.

Natasha

Natasha is a teen who is into the social media day in and day out. She is out there to create an asocial identity for herself and pretty much everything that she does her like to share in the social media network and get more likes. When we asked her about the application the first reaction that she had was that this is a really cool application that they would have. She is aware of the candy crush saga and finds the game to be really cool one. She expects the application also to be attractive. She wants the user interface to be simple and easy to understand and use. Another major factor for her would be to ensure that this application should be connected to various social media platforms where she can share her activities with her friends and followers and at the same time this would add on another dimension to her social media existence. She is willing to spend more time on the application on the daily basis if it is worthy and if it connects her to other platforms as well. She is of the opinion that more functional the application would be the more would be the time spent of these applications. She is also looking at some good deals that she can grab along with it. One of the suggestion that she has for the developers is to have tie ups with fitness gear manufacturers and get some discounts if the users cross a certain level of activity in the application. She is also of the opinion that she would make use of her friend contacts to ensure that more and more people are made introduced to the application if she is benefitted by upgrades. Thus we may conclude that for an average college goer, such kind of application is suitable only if it provides an extension to the social identity that they have created for their own (Aarseth, 1997).

Jamie

Jamie is someone new to the world of apps and he is taken over by the wide variety of things that it does. He is of the opinion that there is a lot that is still left unexplored for him and this world of apps and was quite excited to hear about the new application. According to him the app should be no frills and he would also prefer to have the application to be a wearable devise compatible so that there is an extensive use for the same. He would like to have an attractive user interface and this according to him is the key to ensure that the customers make use of the application again and again. He is also of the opinion that the application should be made free to the users and unless and until the functionality of the same is tested, there is no way that they are going to pay for the same. He also points out the fact that there are a whole lot of applications that are available for free download and if one has to make a difference it has to be through recommendation from the friends and colleagues. He believes that the news that is going around on various social media and the mainstream media are the key influencer in deciding whether to download the same or not. He also points out that the application should be non-intrusive in his life in terms of unwanted ads and messages that he keeps getting even after uninstalling the application. He is of the view that such intrusive promotions will only downplay the benefits that the applications have created and ultimately leading its users to uninstall them and somehow get rid of the same. According to Jamie, an ideal application would be the one which supports your need from the background and the user will be forced to go back to it to fulfill his needs rather than the application reminding you that you have not used it for a long time.

Joseph

Joseph is a journalist and he makes use of different applications to keep him in touch with the world. He finds this as an essential tool to his being and when he was asked about the app. He had a question that “how would that be beneficial for me, there are thousand others that belong to the same category” For him differentiation and value add is something that he is looking from an application. He is more than willing to download and try out something that comes out from the king.com stable but he is also quick to add that life of an application is as short as the first few minutes that the users use it for the first time and if they don’t find it augmenting their lives, they would be willing to abandon the same. He also points out that designing an application is only the first step and the next most important step is to bring in additions that are valuable to the customers, He also points out that there are a very few app makers who actually listens to the voice of the customers and bring in additional functionalities that are beneficial for them. In most of the cases updates that we see in case of applications are just peripheral changes without adding any value to the user. Joseph is willing to pay additional for the application and spend more time but he feels that it should be different from the existing ones at least in some aspects before he does that. He also feels that the promotions through the social media platforms can be the game changer and that is how most of the people he knows gets introduced to different applications.

From the structured interviews, we got a fair idea on what makes the customers tick and how they could be lured into using these new applications. Most of them want it to be a functional tool and should have a differentiating feature that would make them go for the initial download. They are also of the view that there should be continuous improvements basis the experience that the customers have.

Conclusion And Recommendation

From the study findings we feel that the application should be launched by the company given that the brand name resonates in the minds of the customers and given that they have a huge fan base to make use of (Lessig, 2000). They should ideally leverage upon their brand reputation and design something that was as novel and refreshing as Candy crush. The target segment is growing with multiple promotions and an essential shift that we see these days in more and more people getting health conscious (Steur, 2012). One of the key things that they will have to ensure is that they should try and differentiate themselves from other similar applications that are available in the market or else they may well see the application die out within a few days of its launch (Guattari, 1994). They should also try and promote the new application through social media platforms by creating a dialogue and story around the whole experiences. As we see it most of the customers are not willing to go for an initial purchase of the application rather most of them would like to have it as a free download and many would be interested in upgrading the same for additional functionalities if they feel that there is a genuine need for it (Poster,1990). The signs are encouraging that the app usage and downloads have gone up in the past two years and it is only going uphill from here as most of the forecasts show that the smartphone penetration is increasing especially in the South Asian markets which is also one of the largest base for the company. There are a few initial barriers that the company will have to address in terms of the awareness and usage of the application but it can be said that they would be able to see through the storm given that they make effective use of the available resources. One of things that they can look at is partnering themselves with similar companies by entering into strategic promotional activities that would give a bigger stage for the company. King.com has both the expertise and the experience to ensure that they come up with a comprehensive application that can take care of the health and lifestyle needs of the users. Their biggest success story candy crush was a simple idea put out in a novel way and it needs to be seen how they manage to repeat their success once more.

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