The Good, the Bad and the ConQuered
When NjM comes to recruit potential minions from the wide-eyed new batch every year, ConQuest is easily our biggest selling point. People may not know too much about it, but everybody wants to be a part of it, with most applicants vying for positions to get in on the action.
So, what is ConQuest exactly?
The official missive calls it ‘a disguised market research initiative designed to gather insights on the consumer psyche through games and interactive activities’, which is what it is in a nutshell. We take on brands looking to conduct research and the target audience isn’t made aware of the company that they are responding to. This ensures an unbiased response after 5 minutes of mild entertainment, a Spanish Inquisition and a goodie at the end of it all!
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yeahhhh, not really.
ConQuest prep starts a good 3 months before the event. We dig through our old contacts and the juniors are sent to work calling up various brands. Some of them pan out, some of the numbers are no longer available, most of them connect to people who ask us to take a hike. Off the nearest cliff.
It’s excellent for our egos.
But, in all honesty, this is a great experience for people looking to get into sales or wanting to just learn how to approach people. And if you’re on the shyer side, there’s no better opportunity.
So, after months of hard work, attending meetings and getting rejected, we are finally left with a handful of companies that everyone has worked very hard to get on board. And then, the execution phase begins.
Probably the most fun part of this phase? Game design day! After research objectives are finalized, logistics handled and exhaustive questionnaires created, all of us get together to get our inner five-year-old on. It’s like a kindergarten arts and crafts class where everyone is busy cutting, gluing, painting, coloring, having pen fights, throwing confetti and waging war to get their hands on that last pair of scissors.
And when all this is done, we finally get to the battleground that is Times Utsav.
90 hours, 10 days and more than 3000 questionnaires to be filled is not an easy task. Each brand has its own target audience that can range across genders, ages, occupations and interests. Weeding the worthy out of that flood of humanity is an art that every NjM member has to quickly learn to master.
Because otherwise, we’d be left with unfilled questionnaires and empty bags of incentives. This is especially true if the TG is children within a specific age group. Let’s just say that there were times when we were handing out goodies to disgruntled children who were unhappy that they couldn’t participate because of the age limit.
Despite this, children are easily the best to work with (you can ignore the one member who is an awkward potato with the juveniles). They almost always say yes, and actually try hard to give well thought out answers.
Adults and parents, on the other hand, are probably the most difficult. They may be bigger in quantity, but are the most liable to outright refuse or just walk away while aggressively not making eye contact.
Another thing excellent for our egos.
Being turned down can be disheartening, but every conversion that is made keeps us going. And every new insight that we can glean is all worth the exhausted bodies, the blast of the AC that makes our hair fly into our mouths and games fly off the table, and more swipe lefts than nerdy dudes get on Tinder.
At the end of it all, each and every minion is left with a sense of accomplishment, healthy respect for all those survey takers that approach you and a tendency to advertise our services on McDonald’s feedback forms.
(Yes, you can totally contact NjM@NMIMS to gauge consumer opinion on your new burger, Mickey D!)
But work isn’t over yet. Because, this is when our analytical skills and theoretical marketing acumen kicks in. The thousands of forms are distributed among the members and each team works on crunching data, gaining insights and finally presenting our recommendations to the brands that we have worked so hard for.
That’s when we can say that we have completed ConQuest.
Done and dusted, go home and get ready children, ‘cos it’s time for LMS.