I just blogged about focus groups not long ago, but after revisiting it I realized I left it hanging a bit. So this is my attempt to explain the concept in a bit more detail.
Before I do that, let me say that I don’t participate in focus groups anymore. Most of my spare time today is spent learning the ropes of blogging and establishing this blog.
I still generate a solid income from referring others to “get paid to” type companies however. That is because one of the niche websites I had developed specifically discusses get paid to programs and recruits affiliates who are interested in making money from it.
That said, some of my ROI (return on time investment) has been the highest with paid surveys. For example, there are not many who travel more than they stay put, therefore the profile of a frequent flier is highly valued by some companies such as airline carriers.
I have attended close to 8 focus groups in the last 3 years sponsored by airline companies. If I remember correctly, the least I have been paid is $200 for an hour, not including the time I so late that I missed the focus group.
I had this funny experience once. I was invited to participate in a frequent fliers focus group conducted by the airline companies. They offered to pay me $150 for an hour plus mileage reimbursement for my commute. I somehow entered the wrong time in my “crack-berry” (no wonder I sold it on Ebay for $20) but when I showed up the review was over.
They finished in 45 minutes! So the people that made it essentially make $150 for 45 minutes, which is really an hourly rate of $200 per hour if you think about it. Now who will pay you $200 an hour? Maybe for smuggling drugs but that’s about it. Oh, and they paid me $150 cash in a nicely sealed envelope just because I made the effort to show up. Nifty!
Focus groups will not come to you right away. You have to prove to survey companies that you are worth their time and money. Once I started doing paid surveys for a few months, I started getting offers to participate in phone surveys and focus groups. That is when I first realized what they were.
These are a lot of fun. You get paid to socialize, make friends and have fun while making money. You sit in groups and discuss topics provided by companies and then provide your opinion.
I thought these were the coolest things. How many times do you get a chance to be part of the team that creates a product for the mass market? Ok you are not exactly part of the development team, but your opinions to shape up products introduced by various companies.
Let me ask you this. How many times have you used something (a kitchen utensil or a vacuum cleaner, etc.) and wished that you had some input in how the product was created? Don’t know about you, but happens to me all the time.
Some focus groups will feed you as well. You get to do a taste test where you get to eat and drink all kinds of new foods and beverages. And check this, in some focus groups, you will also get a preview of TV shows before they release so you can opine on which ones should be aired on TV and at what times. And you get paid for all that. How cool is that?
So hopefully focus groups make a bit more sense now and how they work. Have you been to one or know someone who has?Previous: How CFOs Can Leverage the Internet to Generate Market Liquidity