Companies that want to do good while gathering market research are being offered a new way to do that, thanks to the CMO Council and its Pause to Support a Cause. The council this week announced its partnership with online research community Opinions for Good in a program that allows consumers to reward their favorite charities when they take part in market research surveys -- while adding new voices to consumer research.
"We often hear a great frustration from our brand marketers that their research comes from the same pool of people," says Liz Miller, VP-programs and operations at the CMO Council. "One of the big issues is how do we open up new demographics; how do we open up new opportunities to get new voices?"
Through Pause to Support a Cause, Miller says, "We're looking at multiple benefits to multiple constituencies."
With the cause-directed survey model, consumers can donate 25% to 100% of the payments they receive for participating in research to a nonprofit or charity. The effort already has more than 200 nonprofit groups signed up and hundreds of consumers registered.
Miller says the program started about 18 months ago as the council was looking into ways to expand the consumer pool for market research. At the same time, with the economy on a downward slide, a lot of nonprofits were struggling. So when Ed Martin, director of international insights and new methods at Hershey Co., suggested using his CSR partner-marketing model, the council was ready to listen, and Pause to Support a Cause was born.
"We started by seeing if consumers were excited about this and would nonprofits be open to this, opening up part of their donor base [as potential survey participants]," Miller says.
The CMO Council is working nonprofits at all levels, from organizations such as the American Red Cross, Malaria No More, March of Dimes and Unicef on a national and global scale to small efforts locally.
Op4G got involved, Miller says, because "we needed a partner that could facilitate the payments to the nonprofits, so the minute the user sent "complete" on their survey, those dollars went into an account that went directly to that charity.
"We were really lucky to start working with OP4G," she says. "We're able to go to one organization that not only believes what we believe in -- that market research dollars can go to some amazing causes -- but we're also opening up a new demographic and audience for this research. They're not combing the Internet looking for a [coffee shop] card."
According to the CMO Council, almost $20 billion is spent on market research annually, including billions of dollars on incentives. Introducing the cause factor encourages more highly motivated, demographically diverse consumers to get involved. For example, according to Op4G, participants in these online surveys are more likely than the general population to be female and married or sharing a household and less likely to have children. Distributed across 25-to-64 age groups, they are significantly better educated than the general population and more likely to be employed.
As far as household income, Op4G says, panel members are almost eight times more likely to make more than $150,000 per year than the average online panel member in a comparison sample and more than four times more likely to make $100,000 and $150,000 a year; the comparison panelists are more than twice as likely to make less than $50,000 a year.
"In an era where marketers and brands are looking to amplify customer insight, it's really about developing those rich customer insights," Miller says. "We just want to provide them another option to blend another demographic into that insight.