Bj’s 30 Years in 30 Days—June 17 The Universe: Interested

  Bj Kirschner      17 June 2022     

The month of June marks my 30th Anniversary in market research. Since 30 days hath June and I love a good countdown, I have decided to do a Market Research Thought of the Day each day in June. Enjoy! Bj bj@just-worldwide.com

Bj’s 30 Years in 30 Days—June 17 The Universe: Interested

Welcome back to this week’s multi-post discussion of feasibility in recruiting.  If it seems a little basic at the onset, that’s by design.  Sometimes we need to revisit the parts we think we know just to re-establish the baseline.

Here is the statement for the week (tomorrow I’ll bring all of this week’s posts together):

The universe is not the population of a country, the number of HCPs in a given specialty, the number of patients with a condition, all drinkers of wine, etc.  The universe is people who are reachable, qualified, available and interested.

What does it mean for someone to be interested?  Let’s stick with qual studies for consistency.  It means participating seems appealing to a potential respondent.  Like previous entries, we are looking only at that, ways to appeal to a very select group of people.

Though we are looking primarily at healthcare studies, there is a truth about interest that supersedes all others: people want the money.  Of course people are interested in the topic, of course people love to be heard, of course people want to contribute to something larger, but they also like money.  No incentive for a quick quant study of a few minutes?  That’s a lovely gesture, it’s not proof that cash is not the single-most important factor in piquing interest, but they will see benefits of participation (other types of studies, racking up points, etc.). 

Let’s get one elephant off the table: this is not the place for a fair market value incentive discussion.  I am not going to say that it is a ridiculous idea completely misunderstood by people who have agreed to follow the concept blindly and actually does not apply to most market research.  I am not going to tell you my three favorite ways of handling FMV.  I am not going to tell you how to help even your end client understand why it does not apply.

At least not here.

Anyway, before we tackle incentive, what else is interesting to respondents?

  • Topic
  • Relating a person to a topic
  • Be part of change, of improvement, of evolution
  • Improving lives

All of those are important and it’s our entire industry’s job to figure out how to sell what we do to our customers…and those customers are not our clients, they are our respondents. 

What is of prime interest to some of the respondents we met this week, improvements on a device used to administer treatment or the wording, colors and usefulness of a marketing campaign?

  • Late-Stage NSCLC Patient?
    • BOTH
  • Hemophilia Patient
    • BOTH

A condition that puts one’s mortality directly in front of them versus a condition that is with you forever, how is it possible that they would both feel the same way?  That’s the crux of the issue, isn’t it?  We are in the business of recommending to one group how to grab the attention of another group, who better to explain to respondents why a study is of interest? 

Market research does not directly save lives, but it can improve them.  Just the fact of knowing someone understands the device you are using constantly can be bettered and is working on doing just that means a great deal.  Spin that, it’s the truth!

Consumer research?  Same thing.  Okay, new packaging may not save lives, but anyone who has a better way of designing microwavable soup containers so they do not burn hands is improving life for people who currently get their hands burned on microwavable soup containers.

Market research can be useful and positive and every opinion counts.  But money is still a factor.  These days, it is easier every day to fill 24 hours.  My goodness, fall down a rabbit hole on YouTube and seven hours later you are two hours later for work!  All you did was scroll and click, but you were so focused that you missed a thunderstorm, dinner, six phone calls and that “Law and Order” marathon you wanted to watch.

What is the best way to jolt a person from another activity?  The taking or giving of money (hey, some people find shopping relaxing).  Stop thinking respondents are mercenary for wanting money, and as much of it as they can get.  Everybody wants money.  We are not paying respondents to like a product or an idea or a company, we are paying them for the time it takes to discuss the product or idea or company.

Notions of what kind of money equals someone’s time change constantly, but they never decrease.  We need to remember that.  The cost of everything increases over time, incentive payments included.  A respondent once came to me crying because she was told by the moderator that the incentive was ridiculously high and if she were not currently unemployed, she would be doing this research for free.  The only way to get her to smile was to say that I would do my best to make sure the moderator learned that lesson from behind her in the unemployment line. 

So I say again, the customers of this entire industry are not the clients, they are the respondents and it is our job to keep them happy.  Without them, we do not exist. 

Find the ideal mix of emotion (importance, topic, etc.) and practicality (incentive) and our customers (clients and respondents) will eagerly join us on whatever crazy journeys to which we invite them.


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