What Researchers Can Learn from Marketers to Boost Respondent Engagement

What Researchers Can Learn from Marketers to Boost Respondent Engagement

What Researchers Can Learn from Marketers to Boost Respondent Engagement

Sure, it’s often research insights that inform marketing strategies, but quite honestly, with low respondent engagement a thorn in the industry’s side for as long as anyone can remember, it’s time for a new approach. After all, engagement has become such a problem that it’s affecting the entire respondent supply chain. The solution: we need to start acting like marketers while thinking like researchers. Here’s how.

Optimizing the Respondent Experience

To act like marketers means that we as a research industry need to re-engineer all of our respondent interactions around the idea of boosting engagement. Consider the success of Facebook, Zynga, PayPal, and iBotta, for example. They’re all fundamentally data-driven marketing companies that are powered by engagement. To optimize the consumer experience, they leverage these core behavioral drivers:

  1. Social – the innate human desire to connect with others
  2. Fun – the drive to entertain ourselves using gamification and game theory
  3. Rewards – a material embodiment of accomplishment, usually delivered via some kind of financial incentive

We can (and should) leverage these drivers, as well, to optimize recruitment, retention, attention, quality, and ROI. But keep in mind these three drivers aren’t mutually exclusive. A successful engagement strategy incorporates a mix of all three as one may be a bigger motivator for some people than others.

Boosting Respondent Engagement with Rewards

As a rewards platform, our part in the respondent engagement experience lies in optimizing the financial incentive. We believe the best way to do that is to provide choice – not all consumers are driven by the same financial incentive. For example, a gift card is appropriate for some, others would rather have a reward akin to cash and still, others might like the flexibility of a reloadable Visa. It’s all about giving people choice so they can pick the reward that’s most appropriate for them.

But we also need to look beyond the experience today to consider what rewarding looks like in the future as well. We’re in the era of the side hustle and the gig economy, in addition to the fact that many people are reexamining their lives as an outcome of the pandemic. Choice and flexibility will continue to be essential, yet the question is, “How can we continue to deliver a more engaging respondent experience in a way that has long-term value as daily life and consumers themselves are changing?”

Perhaps the answer is to link currently siloed rewards. For example, you participate in a focus group with a certain research company then a survey with another and a secret shop with yet another – could all those rewards be combined into one account? Would that have a real impact for consumers? 

The Business Case for Engagement

Just as companies, like ours, in the rewards space will be tasked with optimizing our part of the engagement experience for today and tomorrow, others across the respondent supply chain will as well whether its panels functioning more like social networks, research methods incorporating social components or using gamification to improve retention.

Specifically, the business case for engagement has impacts that include:

  • Reduced costs – The higher the engagement rate the higher the retention rate for respondents which reduces the cost of churn and acquisition.
  • Improved research quality – When respondents are more engaged, they are more likely to provide higher quality data which will increase the value of marketing research overall.

Yet, perhaps what’s most important in leveraging the successes of these data-driven marketing companies is that it’s fundamental to our industry as a whole because without consumer participation we can’t succeed as researchers.

Catch up with us & contact Virtual Incentives today to partner with us in boosting respondent engagement!