Some Survey Companies Now Reward Consumers for Their Input

Survey companies have been a feature of our society for many decades and both their role and their method of operation have changed considerably over the years. As then, their prime purpose is still to determine public opinion and the earliest of these exercises were focused mainly on attempts to predict the outcome of elections by questioning voters about their intentions. However, by determining voters’ hopes and needs instead, this enabled candidates to amend their policies. It was just a small step to apply the same principle to products and services, marking the birth of the science of market research.

When survey companies first began to offer this service to manufacturers, retailers, and service providers in order to establish the purchasing habits and preferences of consumers, these exercises were conducted as face-to-face interviews that were usually undertaken in large shopping centres. Later, as telephone ownership grew, the phone interview became a popular alternative for many market researchers.

It is, however, all too easy to hang up the phone or to sidestep an interviewer on foot, often making it difficult for survey companies to collect sufficient data to ensure a statistically significant result. For a while, the novelty factor associated with the Internet, websites, and email served to encourage a little more participation but it soon became clear that consumers often had more appealing ways to spend their time on the information superhighway than filling out marketing questionnaires.

The solution adopted by a number of the world’s more resourceful survey companies was to encourage consumer participation with the offer of rewards for those who were willing to complete an online questionnaire. While the type of rewards on offer tends to vary to some extent, most often they take the form of a discount voucher for goods or services which, unfortunately, may or may not be of direct interest to a given potential participant. One reward that has proved to show consistent appeal, however, is the offer of free airtime for each online questionnaire completed.

The brainchild of Kantar, the world’s largest data-insights and consulting company, MobiWorkX is unique among survey companies with its offer of airtime top-ups and recharge codes to those who participate in its market-research exercises. MobiWorkX is actually an online platform set up to serve selected countries in Africa and the Middle East. Consumers in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and 6 other countries are invited to become members of an online panel and to receive marketing questionnaires that are relevant to their age, marital status, family size, income, and other personal factors. Unlike many of the rewards offered by other survey companies, airtime is a commodity of value to most consumers. It is available to MobiWorkX panel members as top-ups for pay-as-you-go users while contract holders are sent recharge codes by SMS. As an alternative, members may also be rewarded with G-Codes which may be exchanged for a vast range of attractive gifts, each of which can be obtained in exchange for an appropriate number of G-Codes. From time to time, events such as joining the panel, referring a friend, or completing a questionnaire could also earn you an entry into one of the regular prize draws.