Will Brackets Take Over Surveys and Polls as the Best Method for Consumer Engagement?

November 1, 2013

11:00 am

Whether it’s responding to a poll from their website or getting invited to fill out one of their online surveys, companies are always looking for ways to engage the consumer and learn more about their wants, needs, and general insights. The reality, however, is that unless we’re deeply passionate about a specific experience with a company or a specific product or issue, there is very little motivation for the majority of us to take part in these polls or surveys (no, not even the “chance to win a $2,000 shopping spree” will get me to fill out your 5-minute survey).

Why is that, though? Why is it that, even with the possibility for a large prize, we tend to refuse something as simple as a survey? For Craig Zingerline, the CEO and cofounder of Bracketeers, the issue is that these consumer engagement tools aren’t, well, engaging.

Bracketeers is a Web platform for connecting businesses to consumers through March Madness-style tournament predictions and voting contests. The brackets are aimed at helping businesses grow their audience and marketing list with innately high-engagement contest tools that encourage participation because it makes things a little more fun than a typical survey or poll.

“When we started doing research in the marketplace…the nexus was all around this March Madness stuff. We saw a lot of people creating ad-hoc brackets for so many different things and noticed that there was so much engagement in that space,” says Zingerline.

Simply: surveys are long and boring, while brackets are fun and engaging. “Engagement and list-building is challenging and costly, and excitement is really tough to achieve,” says Zingerline. When it comes to lead generation and consumer engagement, the problem with surveys and polls is that people are really just tired of them. Surveys have a tendency to ask questions that either seem irrelevant or nonsensical. From there, surveys are also plagued with 1) having response options that are either too limited or too wide on a spectrum, 2) poorly designed interfaces, and 3) the mere mundanity of the content (“How was your experience drinking water?” – What? Who cares?). Polls, on the other hand, are too simplistic, and often don’t allow for the nuances in consumer behavior and thought.

“We want brackets to be universally recognized right up there with polls and surveys as an awesome way to collect sentiment,” says Zingerline.

What is it about brackets that give them a higher potential for user engagement? According to Zingerline: “Aside from being fun, I think it’s this sheer notion of getting your opinion out there and heard.” The gamification concept that is inherent in this bracket-style consumer engagement is certainly something that puts it in a category separate from mere surveys and polls, but there is also something to be said about this idea of having consumers engage with each other rather than with a business itself – something that, I think, is largely missing in this business-to-consumer engagement market right now. Additionally, the use of brackets offers companies multiple touchpoints to engage with the consumer: from pre-contest to the contest itself (where you can engage with the consumer on a per-round basis). This is in opposition to the often one-time engagement method associated with traditional polling or surveying.

Brackets are a unique new way to engage consumers, and for Zingerline and his team at Bracketeers, they’re hoping to discover more ways they can be utilized.

“We’re continuing to learn about new use cases for the platform based on how our clients are using the system. Eventually, we want to be known as the company for brackets.”

Bracketeers was featured in last month’s DC Tech Cocktail Mixer & Startup Showcase

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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