Processing the Results
The open-ended nature of the game allows customers to generate a variety of potentially useful information. The first step is to transcribe and categorize the type of the textual and graphical contents on the box along with any selling statements made by customers while they were selling their box to your product team. Here are some categories to get you started:
Feature Statements related to a specific feature.
Benefit Statements related to a benefit.
Labels or slogans Marketing messages, statements, or titles. It is often quite interesting to see how customers repeat, change, or paraphrase your own marketing messages. You may want to separately categorize fun, fictitious "endorsement quotes" that customers often add to their boxes.
The second step is to categorize how each statement, pitch, or graphic is related to the product. Here are some secondary categories that you may find useful:
Accolades Something outstanding about the product or company in general. Review these to see how they should influence your marketing mix.
Adoption Comments on how widespread the product is used or desired. Review these to understand whether you're hitting the right segments.
Community Comments on elements of the user community such as websites, newsgroups, user conferences, and so forth. Review these to understand if you've created an infrastructure that allows your customers to love your product.
User experience Comments related to the user experience. How easy is it for your customers to do things such as unpack, set up, configure, use, store, or otherwise interact with your product? Review these items for specific ways in which your product is perceived as superior to competing solutions.
Support Comments related to your support infrastructure. Positive comments here often represent a fresh way of marketing your solution.
Technology Comments on your product's technological foundation. Having a technology foundation that is considered so "cool" or special that customers perceive it as a selling feature is a special advantage in today's market.
Price Comments on the specific price, including discounts, rebates, special offers, promotions, various versions or differentiated models (for example, "Basic" vs. "Deluxe" or "Standard" vs. "Professional").
Value Comments on perceived value. Review these to ensure that your perception of the value provided by your products is congruent with that of your customer, and be willing to adjust your point of view as needed!
The third step is to assess the degree to which your current product matches the idealized product your company has described. For example, suppose that customers have written positive comments about their idealized user experience. This may be because your current product has a great user experience. It could be that they are responding deeply to something they can't stand about your current offering. Thus, you must analyze the boxes with a critical eye, looking for the gems of truth that represent things your customers want in their idealized product that you're currently not providing.
When you're finished analyzing the boxes, display them in a prominent location. Looking at something created by a customer, in the customer's own handwriting, is much more compelling than reading a boring report on the session.