Cash Surveys. Do I fit the profile?

Survey companies are looking for good, solid consumers and people with common problems and concerns.  They want Mr. or Mrs. John Q. Consumer to answer their surveys because these are the people buying products and services.  Sometimes people with certain ethnic or racial background will find it easier to be selected to complete a survey because they are less represented among survey takers than, let’s say, a white middle class retired woman of age 60.  If you are a white, middle- or lower-class retired woman of age 60 be prepared to be rejected from a lot of surveys because your demographic is either over-represented in the population of survey takers, or your opinion is considered less desirable from a consumer standpoint.

There are, of course, specialized surveys that will particularly be directed at people outside of the average demographic.  For example, someone who is about to retire may be an ideal candidate for a survey on retirement savings.  Someone with cancer may be ideal for a particular medical trial.  But the bread and butter consumer surveys are looking for bread and butter consumers to respond to them. The ideal survey taker, the one who wants to make a supplemental income from paid surveys, will fit the demographic of a middle-income consumer with a wide variety of interests and needs. 

It will help to be of Latino or other ethnic origin in many cases because these are growing consumer categories, at least in the U.S., and marketers are very interested in learning how to respond to the needs of this population.  Often there are not enough people representing these groups in the pool of survey takers.  So, someone with an ethnic background may see a lot more survey activity than others with demographics that are more commonly represented by the average survey taker.

If you fall out of the “normal” consumer demographic it does not mean that your opinion is not needed, it just means that you will need to be quicker to take new surveys as they come up before the quota is met for your demographic, and you must be prepared to be rejected more frequently from survey consideration.

If you have sworn off consumer spending until the economy gets better, you may also find yourself being rejected from consumer survey panels.  Companies want an eager spender evaluating their products.  Likewise, if you are a professional marketer or advertiser, you will probably be weeded out of many consumer surveys because of your knowledge and background. 

Some surveys ask a series of questions at the beginning of the survey to identify demographics.  Sometimes one’s profession helps because the survey company is looking for certain expertise; other times, it may disqualify.  Age, gender, interests, problems and other factors that are surveyed up front may help to assess whether you’ll be chosen to move forward with responding to the majority of the survey.

If your spouse and kids are willing to participate, some survey companies will send even more surveys your way.  Often marketers are interested in the perspective of someone from a younger age group.  Some surveys are gender-specific.  Probably the average survey taker is a female who is either stay at home or works part time outside the home and is over 40 in age.  By allowing questionnaires to be sent to your spouse and children the survey company increases the demographic coverage for their surveys.

Important Questions You Must Ask and Answer Before You Do Surveys

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