Cash cleans up market research

Steve Hemsley’s article “Paid Informers” (MW August 19) asks whether the market research industry should start to pay respondents. In the first paragraph, he points out that the UK population is already having difficulty distinguishing between research and selling.

This is because, for years, the marketing industry has been rewarding consumers for supplying information. Many bona fide market research exercises offer respondents the chance to win prizes in free draws, and many branded direct marketing campaigns will, in their thirst for consumer data, offer guaranteed rewards or prizes. Not surprising, therefore, that the consumer is cynical about surveys.

This kind of activity has had two effects. First, by bolting on”tacky offers”, which often bristle with “promo-speak”, the researcher’s or the brand’s credibility is undermined. Second, the researcher risks attracting responses from a disproportionately high number of habitual promotional respondents.

So, yes, maybe the industry should start paying respondents. In this case, the money would be clean and honest, whereas using bad promotions can dirty the waters and skew both the response and the brand perception.

Leys Geddes

The Active Branding Consultancy

Surrey

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