MarketingCharts: Would $25 Buy Your Feedback?

Discussion
Apr 22, 2013

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-to-minute data and research to marketers.

The magic number is $25, says Parago, an incentives and engagement company, in a new research study that asked consumers what their time is worth when providing feedback on products or services, listening to sales pitches and providing personal information to companies and marketers via various methods of interaction.

For $25, a significant majority would demo a product or service if approached in a public setting (96 percent), take a 10-minute survey via smartphone (91 percent), get a quote online (78 percent), participate in a one-hour in-store sales presentation (77 percent) or get an in-home quote (74 percent).

Of those surveyed, 54 percent would also participate in a two-hour focus group for $25, with women slightly more likely to do so than men (56 percent vs. 53 percent). For $50, 75 percent of female respondents and 70 percent of males would participate in a focus group of that length.

Respondents were 35 percent more likely to participate for free with an in-person sales pitch rather than a sales pitch by phone (65 percent vs. 48 percent).

The study also found Millennials more open to participating than Boomers:

  • Millennials are more than twice as likely as Boomers (51+) to say they would participate in a smartphone survey for free (57 percent vs. 23.2 percent);
  • While Millennials are about 21 percent more likely than Boomers to take a phone survey for free (52 percent vs. 43 percent), a payment of $5 narrows the gap to 81 percent of Millennials and 80 percent of Boomers;
  • Sixty-one percent of Boomers and 70 percent of Millennials would participate for free if approached in a public setting to sample or demonstrate a product or service.
  • Seventy-three percent of Boomers would participate in an in-store demo for $25, while only 27 percent would do it for free.

"Every consumer has a price, which is good news for marketers," said Rodney Mason, CMO of Parago, in a press release. "The big headline: marketers spend millions on media for recruiting to change behavior. Given these findings, we conclude that many would be better off reallocating a portion of their budgets to direct behavioral rewards for higher conversions on total spend."

The data came from a 50-question online survey of 1,672 consumers based on the central theme: "What is your time worth in different marketing scenarios?"

Do retailers and marketers understand how much consumers’ time is worth? Based on practice, are they willing to make the necessary investments to better understand their customers?

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19 Comments on "MarketingCharts: Would $25 Buy Your Feedback?"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

While I’m betting that we don’t understand as well as we should, this survey isn’t going to add much to our understanding. Start with the priming title of “What is your time worth”? You’ve already kicked up the starting point. Truth is, shoppers will spend 10-20 minutes in a mall intercept for $5—we do this all the time. Now consider that an intercept is interrupting their day, where an online survey is done at the respondent’s convenience, so worth fewer dollars for the time.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

Time is money or is it money is time? You want my time, I want your money. Certainly most people feel time constrained in their daily lives and as the article indicates, many people expect to be compensated for their time. Not surprising that the Millennials value their time less than boomers.

I did see the number, but wonder what it cost Parago to get those people to answer a 50 question survey….

Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

There are many ways for retailers to incent their customers to gather information. Cash, merchandise and status all come to mind. Regardless of the proffered incentive, retailers need to understand their customers.

By the way, I’m surprised that 54% of the people surveyed said that they would give up 2 hours of their time to participate in a focus group for $25. That doesn’t seem like a real-world figure. It makes me question the accuracy of the entire survey. Many people will say “yes” to receiving money until they actually have to allot the time necessary to earn it.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
9 years 23 days ago

Consumers want both some exposure and some privacy. That sets up a conflict between “time value” and availability, which expands the uncertainty of how much consumers’ time is worth.

Retailers focus on brain picking and want the most valuable information at the lowest possible cost. That constrains the necessary investment to better understand their customers.

Joan Treistman
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

Remember when a 10 cents off coupon could get a shopper in the store to pick up and buy a particular product? My company used to give out $1 lottery tickets to shoppers in the mall so that they would participate in a twenty minute survey. Marketers give out samples of their products to generate trial.

And the point of this article is….? Let me take a stab at it.

At the end of the day, know what you want to accomplish and find out what it takes to achieve that goal, whether it’s participation in a survey or product trial. Oh and by the way, sometimes it’s about $25.

Kurt Seemar
Guest
Kurt Seemar
9 years 23 days ago

$25 for two hours of questions and interviews seems unlikely to me. Of course there are many other factors, such as where and when the focus group will take place and more importantly, the topic. People are much more likely to participate in a survey or focus group if it is a topic that is important to them for some reason. To many people this is more important than the compensation.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
9 years 23 days ago

While any effort to better understand your customer’s preferences is valuable, you need to be cautious about how you spend the money. There are people who love to take surveys, participate in focus groups, fill out questionnaires and so on. The big question, in my experience, is whether these are the current and/or potential customers whose input is most valuable.

Here’s a novel idea. Why not spend time/money asking the associates on the sales floor? They are next to the customers every day, answering questions, fielding complaints, providing service. It’s always been puzzling to me that most retailers prefer to spend large amounts of money on trendy new ways to get questionable data, while a huge resource like the associates in the store gets ignored.

Tom Redd
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

Based on my own face-to-face study of my three Millienials, the results of this study do not fit. Okay, three is not that many of the m-factor (Millennial Factor) but you wanna try sitting around with 3 of them for a period of time? NADA.

The $25 for 2 hrs seems like a “no way” across the m-factor group’s constant need to “be someplace.” That someplace is either online or physical.

The m-factor is just not one to have more than 5-10 minutes for any one specific thing.

Glad to be old….

Anne Howe
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

I agree with Kurt on this one. Consumers will decide the value of their time based on what matters to them personally, not what matters to marketers. On the other side of the coin is public value, which is harder to create than personal value. But if a marketer can create a sense of public or civic value by supporting causes that are meaningful within groups of people, that marketer or brand can receive the gift of a lot of time from the consumers with no requirement of “payment” at all.

I suggest reading “Cognitive Surplus” by Clay Shirky for more on this topic of personal value vs. public value.

John Boccuzzi, Jr.
Guest
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
9 years 23 days ago

Great study. Interesting to see how Millennials and Boomers respond differently. Also interesting to see what people need to get paid. If you look at Taskrabbit.com, fiverr.com and rewardable.com (launching in June) as examples, people will do a lot for very little. On the fiverr site as the name suggests, people will complete a lot of tasks or provide feedback for as little as five bucks. Rewardable.com will be offering $3-$30 per task depending on the complexity.

$25 gets you to 91% (in this study), but do you really need 91% to hit your target? Maybe $5 will get you to 70% and that is enough to accomplish your goals.

Only testing will help you truly understand what you need to offer to make it work for you. This study at least provides some insights on the differences between Millennials and Boomers, which is helpful.

Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
9 years 23 days ago

Buying it is not a very good way to get reliable and valid information. I thought everybody already knew that.

Once recently I did agree to meet with developers, and role play and interact with a new website configuration that a local venue was in the process of implementing. As a frequent consumer of that “product” I was happy to do it because I felt I’d either benefit mightily (or suffer from) what they would ultimately implement. After the session I was given some tickets and another nice perk for my time and trouble. But that was not a condition or promise up front, and I assume they weighted the value they had gained from my stated opinions when giving out the freebies afterwards.

I cannot think of a single retailer or product marketer whose offer to interview me would be met with a “yes”, for any amount of money.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

I agree with the points the other panelists have made, but…before we take anything at all from this survey, shouldn’t we be questioning the methodology? Was there a payment to take the survey? If not, doesn’t the fact that panelists took the survey contradict the answers they gave? If so, don’t we have a very biased sample?

The real point is: beware primary research asking consumers what they will do. What people say they will do differs greatly from what they will actually do. If you really want to know, you need a real world test. Actually go out in different situations, ask folks to take surveys, participate in focus groups, etc., and see what they really actually do.

David Zahn
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

Lots of questions raised here:
1) Is there a difference between what people SAY and what they DO? Sure seems to be—they will often answer questions for far less than they claim it would take, on the one hand. On the other, when you tell them it will take two hours, they will do a mental calculation and establish a value for that time up front.
2) The influence of how questions are asked/phrased on the responses received.
3) Sampling of respondents (by self-selection to choose to complete the survey) and projecting to total population.

And far more….

Herb Sorensen, Ph.D.
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

Shoppers’ time is more important to them than their money. Nonetheless, we have shown repeatedly that 60-80% of the shopper’s time in-store is wasted. See: “The Three Shopping Curriencies.

In spite of all the data showing that the efficient shopper spends more money, retailers are still seeking to get them to spend more time in the store, typically by impeding—slowing down—their shopping. Given poor retail results, it is clear that many retailers are succeeding in wasting even more of the shopper’s time. Increasing sales? Not so much.

Dan Rishworth
Guest
Dan Rishworth
9 years 23 days ago

This study is a bit like an exit survey at an ice cream shop asking people if they like ice cream.

It is a survey of SURVEY RESPONDENTS about responding to surveys. I think this explains why so many people would participate in a 2-hour focus group for $50.

Some insight can be gained I’m sure but overall there is significant bias here.

Bill Hanifin
Guest
9 years 23 days ago

I cast a strong vote for “Very Worthwhile” in the instant poll. My conviction lies in the fact that transactional data doesn’t tell the whole story for brands and that personal surveys are extremely valuable. I imagine that some might agree but caution on the size of the investment across a larger audience.

I’m also not surprised that the hurdle is lower for in-person contacts as consumers are possibly more “in the mood” to sit through a product demo while in store. The email or phone version of this represent varying degrees of interruptions to our day.

AmolRatna Srivastav
Guest
AmolRatna Srivastav
9 years 23 days ago

An interesting question indeed. Wondering whether there will be a significant difference in how people have responded to the survey vs a real life scenario. At best, I think the survey results are more directional.

Vahe Katros
Guest
Vahe Katros
9 years 23 days ago

Every consumer has a price and processing or making sense of the outcome has a cost. When I think about how much content is generated by a short exchange, and the time involved in making sense of what was said, I think, do retailers and marketers understand how much good design research costs and is worth?

In the end, it depends on the levels of insights you are after and the outcomes you hope they will drive. But to be sure, intercepts are a great way to identify folks you might recruit for in-depths.

Alexander Rink
Guest
9 years 20 days ago
I don’t know that it is an issue of retailers and marketers not knowing what their customers’ time is worth, so much as it is the practical reality of their trying to get information as inexpensively as they can. For example, marketers have gravitated to email marketing because it is so inexpensive compared to other forms of marketing, and they can withstand lower response rates as a result. Similarly, retailers may be fully aware of what their customers’ time is worth, but they are working within their limited budgets to attempt to get as many responses as they can. The question is really whether their efforts and tactics could be more effective. Some of the common forms of eliciting responses (offers on receipts to win a $1000 shopping spree for filling out a survey) have such a low expected value that they will tend to attract only those who enjoy gaming or entering contests – which biases the response set. An alternative approach could be to target the specific group they would like to reach:… Read more »
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