In the world of business, executing an idea before testing the waters is considered amateurish.
Therefore, before a company goes ahead and spends a million bucks in designing, manufacturing and advertising a product, it’s important to know beforehand whether there is even a market for it.
This entire process is termed as market research.
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Market Research Industry is Huge!
Market research generates huge business volumes.
American companies alone spend more than a billion dollars every year on different things like product testing, focus groups, surveys and interviews; all with the aim of determining which logo enjoys the highest recall factor or which cola flavor is enjoyed by the most number of people or which movie will become the next summer blockbuster.
In order to save money and time, many of these companies have started to use internet market research. Surveys, for instance, are pretty easy to conduct either via websites or even emails.
Roughly speaking, an email survey for a size group of 200 will cost anywhere from $2,500-$5,000. Comparatively, if you want to conduct the same kind of survey through snail mail, expect the cost to be around $5,000-$7,000. Surveys conducted over phones can even cost up to $15,000.
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Over the last few years, most American market research companies have established online survey panels that are responsible for recruiting panels and gathering information.
The power and reach of internet allows these companies to seek responses from thousands of people within a few hours or days instead of the many weeks or months it took earlier to conduct surveys and interviews via phone or postal mail.
Another advantage with online market research is that previously untapped demographic groups (due to limitations of phone and mail mediums) are now being brought under the umbrella of online research.
Some of the biggest brands and companies all over the world pay these market research companies millions of dollars to know more about the opinions of people about their products and services through these online surveys.
The responses from every survey you finish play a huge part in the development of different products/services by top companies.
Why Pay People for Their Opinions?
To motivate consumers and encourage their further participation in online surveys, many survey companies tend to offer rewards.
The reward points can be further exchanged for things like free airline meals, product discounts or gasoline gift cards.
Surveys that carry incentives are better placed to attract a wider and more demographically suited range of consumers as compared to surveys without any incentives.
As such, paid online surveys are akin to a win-win situation for both the consumer as well as the company.
While the company is able to lay its hands on extremely useful market research data collated from a targeted audience, consumers are paid handsomely either through freebies or discounts on products they like to use.
That said, there is just one drawback to rewarding consumers for their opinions; this tempts them to cheat.
The amount you earn will directly depend on the number of surveys you take. This prompts many survey takers to adopt creative methods.
For instance, a few might try to answer survey questions as fast as possible, some might create multiple email IDs in order to take the same survey repeatedly, and some others might provide false demographic information (for instance, a white man claiming he’s black); all these tactics to help them qualify for a survey that they otherwise would have not.
However, market research companies are improving every passing day at taking out such cheats.
The Process of Becoming a Panelist
There are also many survey sites in operation – while a few may cater exclusively to Americans, others might stick to only Australians, Canadians etc – with each offering variations of the same basic concept; paying consumers for answering online surveys.
Here’s a lowdown on the functioning of most of these sites:
- Sign-up with the site and provide basic information about contact and login.
- Receive an email that contains a link that directs to a page asking for more demographic information in detail. For instance, details about sex, address, race, education, employment, marital status etc.
- Accordingly, you start receiving email invites to surveys that have been chosen as per the demographic information provided by you. Some of the sites even allow you to decide how many surveys you would like to receive per week.
- On average, each survey can be completed in 10-20 minutes.
- You reward for completing a survey is connected to the time you take for it. For example, a survey lasting an hour at e-Rewards pays you $29 while a 20-minute one nets you $6.
- In case of you not qualifying for a survey (like the survey is for pet-owners only and you don’t have a pet), expect to receive a partial incentive.
- Cash out the points you’ve accumulated for coupons and discounts on certain products/services.
That pretty much is what paid online surveys are and how they work.
Not only do you earn some extra money with them, these surveys also give you a chance to air your opinions about certain products and services that you use on a daily basis.
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