In January 1992, the C.E.M.S. Research Group undertook the Hexadec research project. The overall purpose of the study was to determine how to market and improve the card game, Hexadec.
In order to reach our goals, we have conducted a focus group study and distributed survey questionnaires to gather data. After conducting the focus group, we determined that the Hexadec game "Access" is actually playable. The participants had some difficulty interpreting the game instructions and provided a few suggestions for future improvements.
Furthermore, our survey findings have shown that a brand name card game should be targeted toward individuals with some college background, especially those between the ages of 19 to 25 years old. The majority of the survey respondents indicated that they would go to either a toy store or department store to purchase a brand name card game. Most respondents stated that they would pay between $10 and $20 for card game. Word-of-mouth advertising is the most common way our respondents would receive information regarding new card games.
Based on these findings, Hexadec, with several improvements, has great potential as a successful product.
Market Survey, Full Text
[The following is a report by a Marketing student group at California State University, Hayward.]
1. Research Objectives
In order to address the problems, stated in the preceding section, we have chosen the following objectives:
2. Limitations of the Study
Due to time constraints, our research sample was conveniently selected. Therefore, our findings can only be applied to the sample studied, and may not be a representation of the general population.
Because no similar product could be found on the market, no secondary data is available for our research. Our study is solely based on primary research. Furthermore, because there is no comparable product to Hexadec, it is difficult to accurately determine the price survey respondents would be willing to pay.
Researchers were not able to play any of the games because of the above mentioned time constraint and left that task for the focus group. It took them almost two hours to play a few rounds of the selected game "Access", hindering the groups playing any of the other 15 games.
Description of Methodology
1. Research design:
In order to examine the research objectives outlined above, we used both exploratory and descriptive research designs. For objectives 1 and 2, exploratory research was used in gaining insights and implementing new ideas for the Hexadec product. For objective 1, testing the product to see if the games are actually playable assisted us in determining the product appeal and any hidden qualities the product may hold.
This ultimately guided us into objective 2, determining the product improvements for Hexadec. The use of a focus group assisted us in exploring people's perceptions and attitudes about the Hexadec product.
For objective 3 and 4, we used descriptive research design. Descriptive research design is used to evaluate the demographic characteristics and attributes and the frequency of data. This assisted us in identifying the target market and the optimal promotional mix (product, price, distribution, and promotion) for Hexadec.
2. Data collection method:
Primary data sources were conducted through a survey research method. The focus group interviews (conducted among 7 individuals) helped us in obtaining insights of how consumers think and feel about the product. Structure-disguised questionnaires and a few open-ended questions were used in determining the characteristic similarities of the potential market for Hexadec. The questionnaires were administered through personal interviews on a one-on- one intercept. The personal interviews allowed us to have more control of the sample group. And the response rate was higher for personal interviews.
3. Sampling plan:
Due to the time and the budget constraint, we decided to choose a non-probability sample technique for Hexadec. For this research, a non-probability convenience sample of 180 individuals were chosen for the survey. The focus group of 7 individuals were also conveniently chosen. The convenience sample population for the survey and the focus group included high school students, college students, and business professionals (non-students). The survey questionnaire's objectives were to define the target market and the promotional mix for the Hexadec product. And the data collected from the focus group helped us in determining any possible product improvements, and test the product to see if the games were actually playable.
4. Survey questionnaire:
The survey questionnaires were constructed into two parts. Each part is devoted to a separate objective. The following is a list of objectives and the types of questions used to gather data. Note, however, objectives 1 and 2 are not included in the survey questionnaire.
Objective 1 was evaluated by playing a Hexadec game using a focus group.
Objective 2 was evaluated also by using a focus group. Open-ended questions were used to evaluate people's perceptions of the Hexadec product.
Objective 3 (Part I) of the survey questionnaire was evaluated by several types of questions in determining the target market. Multichotomous questions were used to determine if individuals are computer literate, for what purpose they use computers, and how often they use computers. Few dichotomous questions were used to determine if people play computer games and card games. And one open-ended question was used to find out any other card games they might have played in the past.
Objective 4 (Part II) of the survey questionnaire was evaluated by two types of questions. Multichotomous questions were used to determine people's shopping habits for card games and their motives for buying a card game. One open-ended question was used to find out how much people were willing to spend on a brand name card game. The overall purpose was to determine the promotional mix for Hexadec.
5. Statistical procedures:
In order to analyze the data collected from our survey questionnaires, we used several statistical tools on the SPSSX program on Cyber Mainframe Computers at California State University, Hayward.
First, raw frequency distributions were used to determine the optimal promotional mix and target market from our survey respondents.
Second, cross-tabulations were employed to determine whether there were any correlations between the variables and the demographics of our sample surveyed.
1. Focus group findings
Objective #1: To determine if the Hexadec games are actually playable.
The focus group, which was conveniently chosen, consisted of 7 individuals (3 females, 4 males). The session was conducted for 3 hours. We did allow for two 15 minute breaks. Due to the time constraint, the focus group was only able to play one game. With the contents supplied, the focus group was able to play their chosen game. Objective #2 findings will provide more details of the actual process of the game played.
Objective #2: To suggest product improvements in packaging, printing, and instructions based on people's perceptions of Hexadec.
When shown the unopened package of Hexadec, the focus group's first impression was that it was some type of a computer game. One observed that it could be a box of diskettes, however, it is too heavy. Another person observed the statement "the playing cards of the computer age" so thus thought computer card game.
The focus group came to a consensus that inside the package was a computer disc and a manual.
After the focus group opened the package, they were quite surprised to find a deck of cards and no diskette. As the group examined the product, they stated that the quality of the materials used is excellent and also that it is convenient to have the entire contents in one small box.
B. Deck of Cards:
The focus group concluded a few negative things about the playing cards after having played a game called "Access":
C. Users' Manual:
The mediator directed the focus group to choose one game and play it. At that point, the members of the focus group began looking through the user's manual, completely disregarding the two supplementary guides. Their first observation was that they had a difficult time finding where the rules of the games were. They stated that there was too much introductory material, which seemed irrelevant. Simply put, there was too much to read. [Or in the words of Emperor Josef of Austria, There were too many notes.]
Once they finally located the "Access Key Index" they chose the game called "Access". As one focus group member read the rules out loud, the rest of the group attempted to interpret the rules. All of the focus group members stated that the directions were extremely complicated and confusing with so much computer terminology inserted.
After all rules were read the focus group attempted to play "Access". When questions arose during the game, the group referred back to the user's manual. However, they found the rules to be incomplete. The manual could not answer any of their questions. At that point, the mediator pointed out the 2 supplementary guides, which were previously overlooked. The focus group read the "Read me First" and immediately had a better understanding of the game "Access".
2. Survey Findings
Objective #3: To identify the Target Market for Hexadec.
How frequently do you use computers?
10.6% of our sample surveyed stated that they never use computers. 23.5% of our sample stated that they use computers on a monthly basis, while 25.1% use computers on a weekly basis. 33.0% use computers on a daily basis.
For what purpose do you use computers? (Respondents were able to have more than one purpose.)
46.7% of the respondents use computers for school purposes, while 45% use computers for work purposes. 23.9% of our sample surveyed use computers for recreational purposes. Only 17.8% have home uses for computers. 7.2% of the respondents use computers for other purposes such as church records, home business, résumé writing, and club organizations.
Do you consider yourself computer literate?
16.2% of our sample considered themselves highly computer literate, while 8.9% considered themselves completely illiterate. On the other hand, 74.8% considered themselves generally computer literate.
Do you play computer games?
55.6% of our sample surveyed stated that they do play computer games, but 44.4% of our sample stated that they don't play computer games.
Do you play computer card games?
25.3% of the respondents stated that they do play card games on computers, but 74.7% stated that they don't play computer card games.
Do you play card games?
63.1% of our sample surveyed stated that they do play card games. 36.4% stated that they do not play card games.
How often do you play card games?
Of the 63.1% of our sample which do play card games, 57.1% play only a few times a year. 24.3% play cards on a monthly basis and 18.5% play cards on a weekly basis.
When do you play card games? (Respondents were able to give more than one answer.)
19.4% of the respondents stated that they play card games during holidays. 23.3% of our sample surveyed play card games on weekends. 32.8% of the respondents stated that they play card games during their spare time, which could be anytime all year round. Only 10.6% stated that they play card games during other times which were not stated above. The most common response for this 10.6% of our sample was that they play cards when friends visit.
Please list all card games which you have played.
The most common responses from our sample surveyed were Blackjack, Poker, Solitaire, Rummy, and Go Fish. However, there were many other games stated.
Objective #4: To determine the optimal promotional mix for Hexadec.
Where do you receive most of your information about new games? (Respondents were able to give more than one answer.)
Only 4.5% of our sample surveyed receive information about new games from radio sources. 3.9% receive their new game information from television advertising, 25.6% from magazine or newspaper advertising, and 22.8% from in-store displays. 51.1% of the respondents receive their new game information from "word of mouth".
Where do you shop when purchasing any type of game? (Respondents were able to choose more than one place.)
28.3% of the respondents purchase games at computer stores. 32.2% purchase games at department stores, while 46.7% purchase games at bookstores and 16.1% shop at gift shops. 8.9% of our sample surveyed purchase games at other locations (e.g., specialty game stores).
Where would you first go if you wanted to purchase a brand name card game?
18.5% of the respondents believe they would go to a computer store to purchase a brand name card game. On the other hand 25.9% would shop at a department store and 40.1% would shop at a toy store to purchase a brand name card game. Only 4.9% of the sample would shop at a bookstore to purchase a card game. Similarly, 4.9% would go to a gift shop to purchase a brand name card game, 5.6% of our sample surveyed would shop at other locations (e.g., specialty game stores).
For what reason would you purchase a brand name card game?
Of the three choices available to our sample, 45% stated they would purchase a brand name card game for self-enjoyment purposes. 33% of our sample surveyed would purchase a brand name card game for gift purposes. 21.9% of the respondents either chose both self-enjoyment and for gift purposes, or had other reasons (e.g., parties).
How much do you think you would spend on a brand name card game?
After analyzing the open-ended answers, we found that our sample surveyed had a very large price range from $0-200. [The graph in Figure 6 in students' report indicates 28.9%: $0.00-$9.99; 50.0%: $10-$20.99; 15.8%: $21.00-$49.99; 5.3%: $50.00-$200.00.]
3. Demographic profile composite
Our sample consisted of 83 males [53.9%] and 97 females [46.1%]. Our total sample was 180 individuals.
The ages of our sample respondents were broken down into 4 areas:
# of respondents% of sample
18 years or under 40 22.2
10 to 25 years 58 32.2
26 to 45 years 51 28.3
46 years or older 31 17.2
The current educational level of our respondents are as follows:
# of respondents% of sample
High School 43 23.9
High School Graduate 28 15.6
College 76 42.2
College Graduate 27 15.0
Other (e.g., trade school)6 3.3
The current employment level of our respondents are as follows:
# of respondents% of sample
Employed Full-time 57 31.8
Employed Part-time 68 38.0
Unemployed 54 30.2
The ethnicity of our sample surveyed was broken down into 2 categories:
# of respondents% of sample
White 92 51.4
Non-white 87 48.6
In cross-tabulating our results, we found a few significant factors.
The gender of our survey respondents was not a determining factor when cross-tabulated with the question "Do you play card games". 33.5% of our females and 29.5% of our males sampled stated that they do play card game. In our sample surveyed, females made up 53.9%. This could explain the slight difference in female and male percentages.
Respondents between the ages of 19 and 25 years old were shown to play cards more than any other age category. This coincides with the frequency of card playing. When age of respondents was cross-tabulated with frequency of playing card games, the age group of 19 to 25 years old was dominant.
In our original survey findings, we established that work-of-mouth was the most popular way of receiving information about new games. When this fact was cross-tabulated with gender of survey respondents, we found females to receive information through word-of-mouth twice as much as males.
Implication For Action
In reviewing the data collected and analyzing the information found from the survey and the focus group, we have come to several conclusions. The conclusions are stated below.
In evaluating people's perceptions of Hexadec, it became clear that many improvements are needed in the packaging, the instruction manual, and the playing cards. We have also concluded that the game "Access" is actually playable; however, the rules make the game difficult to understand.
After evaluating our survey, we have found that the respondents' age and current educational level are significant factors in determining the target market. Our results show that respondents between the ages of 19 to 25 years and those with some college background play cards more frequently than any other respondents.
Most of our sample surveyed (51.1%) stated that they receive most of their new game information through word-of-mouth. Furthermore, females are twice as likely as males to gain game information by way of word-of-mouth.
In our sample surveyed, toy stores tend to be the most popular place to purchase brand name card games.
The majority of our survey respondents stated that they would be willing to spend between $10 to $20 for an unidentified brand name card game.
Throughout our study the employment level of the respondents had no impact on the variable results.
Based on the research findings, Hexadec should consider the following recommendations.
Hexadec should target both genders and ethnicities (whites and non-whites). The product should be targeted to computer oriented individuals with some college background, especially between the ages of 19 to 25 years old.
The Hexadec product should be distributed in toy stores and department stores. With the packaging unchanged, we do not recommend the product be sold in computer stores. The product may mislead consumers in thinking that Hexadec is a computer (card) game.
We have found that store displays were not an effective promotional tool as are other forms of advertisements. We recommend Hexadec to use other promotions that may be considered effective and efficient.
Even though Hexadec has already set its price for the product, we recommend that Hexadec change its pricing strategy. Since the company and the product itself is in the introductory phase of the product life cycle, we recommend an implementation of a penetrating price strategy. This would mean that Hexadec would charge low price and increase it as it grows through its stages of the life cycle. This strategy would help Hexadec gain market penetration and reduce the consumer's perceived risk.
Since the packing is misleading to consumers, we recommend Hexadec to change its packaging of the product in the future. Keeping the package in its original size, here are a few suggestions:
3. Focus Group Recommendations
At the close of the focus group session, the participants provided us with some suggestions for Hexadec. Their suggestions are as follows: