US consumers can be bought

9 April 2013

NEW YORK: A majority of US consumers would be willing to take part in focus groups, product demonstrations and similar exercises for a small financial inducement.

The Time Is Money study from Parago, an incentives and engagement company, surveyed 1,672 adults in the US about their willingness and price expectations for participating in a range of marketing scenarios. These included getting a quote online, listening to an in-person sales pitch and taking a mobile survey.

Among the cost thresholds established by the study were that just over half of men (53%) and women (56%) would complete a two-hour focus group for $25. If that sum is doubled to $50, then 75% of women and 70% of men would do the same.

Some consumers would do so more cheaply: half of respondents would participate in anything from a ten minute survey to a two-hour focus group for $25 or less. Fully 90% they would participate in a product demonstration for $15.

Online, a $25 reward will achieve the same level of consumer participation in a survey requesting personal information versus a survey that did not request such data.

The personal approach is important. More people would participate for free in an in-person sales pitch (65%) than on the phone (48%)

Sales quotes for products or services are best done in person and away from the home, as 62% of respondents don't let strangers in their home and 44% prefer dealing with people to online interactions.

Overall, millennials are the most willing group when it comes to participating in such activities, and boomers are the least likely.

"Every consumer has a price, which is good news for marketers," said Rodney Mason, CMO of Parago.

He observed that marketers can spend millions on media for recruiting to change behavior.

"Given these findings," he said, "we conclude that many would be better off reallocating a portion of their budgets to direct behavioral rewards for higher conversions on total spend."

Data sourced from Parago; additional content by Warc staff