Delivering the Right Reward
According to industry reports, over half of market research respondents participate in studies with the aim of receiving rewards or prizes. Given that consumers are being rewarded across various aspects of their life from credit card purchases to travel, this comes as no surprise. Consumers are growing increasingly used to being in control and are becoming more demanding in their interactions, a point that strongly feeds into the mindset when assessing research incentives.
As the consumer becomes more discerning, it is important for market researchers to ask a number of questions when devising incentive schemes, such as:
- What are the top preferences of the target audience across the different age groups and geographic regions, etc.?
- Which platform is the audience participating in the research- mobile, online, in-person, telephone, mail, etc.?
- Does the audience consist of frequent or infrequent participants?
When selecting the incentive, it is important to avoid biasing the results of the research. For instance, some incentives may be more attractive to a certain group of people, thus introducing a demographic bias. Similarly, offering incentives that are potentially too generous may encourage respondents to participate even if they knowingly do not meet the criteria (to learn more about the importance of screening questions, refer to our previous article on - "The Importance of Screeners").
Generally speaking, cash remains the preferred incentive of choice for consumers. However, cash rewards pose significant transactional and logistical issues for market research companies. Offering cash incentives may be easier in the case of say, face-to-face interviews that are conducted on a small scale, however when conducted on a different platform and on a larger scale, offering cash incentives may become too complicated.
The frequency of participation should also be taken into consideration. Studies that require frequent participation should develop an incentive scheme that is attractive in the long-run and encourages regular participation (this could be in the form of a points system). Studies requiring single or infrequent participation may consider prize draws or potentially virtual cards.
As consumers become more discerning in how they spend their time, developing an attractive incentive scheme is crucial to boosting engagement. Ultimately, incentive programs should be tailored in accordance with the purpose of the study, the platform as well as what resonates most with the target audience.