Monday, October 02, 2006

opinion fatigue--response rates lower than 10%!!

Recently, the Potter household has been inundated with phone calls from opinion pollsters. Okay, innundated is not accurate...we may have had three in the past week. But, I know with election season just around the corner the matter will only get worse. Usually I am sympathetic to the plight of the telephone researcher...after all, research is my business and I recognize that survey research can tell us quite a bit about opinions & attitudes. Plus, when it comes to marketing research, I believe that at the heart of it all is a desire to make products/services that more closely match the needs and wants of consumers. So, I cooperate and answer their questions.

But...when the calls keep coming, I stop being all that sympathetic.

Apparently, I'm not alone, according to a group of top ad executives who got together to discuss what they called 'opinion fatigue', according to an online article by Advertising Age.

Apparently, people's lack of willingness to participate in surveys is resulting in response rates (i.e., the percentage of people who DO take part) to drop below 10% in many cases! And, oftentimes those people are 'professional respondents' who have a make a hobby (career?) out of searching for incentive prizes/payments to participate in opinion research.

With that being the case, makes you wonder the validity of the opinions marketers (and politicians?) are making their decisions on. As one consultant said in the AA article, "We're perpetuating a fraud."

Oh, and to see what IU Ph.D. Sam Bradley (now on the advertising faculty at Texas Tech) has to say about the Ad Age article, check out his blog.

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