Focus groups are indispensable for creating targeted, profitable products and ad campaigns.
Rounding up large numbers of well-qualified participants, however, isn’t easy — nor is
convincing them and their friends to come back. In an age when consumers can easily provide their opinions online, bringing them in for a meeting takes a well-designed, conveniently delivered incentive.
As EML client 20|20 Research has discovered, instant-issue gift cards perfectly fit the bill. 20|20, a market research firm with focus group facilities in Nashville, TN, Charlotte, NC and Miami, FL, has been using prepaid cards to bring in more than 30,000 participants per year, many of whom return and refer friends and relatives for future campaigns. Their current program has allowed them to eliminate administrative headaches, reduce fraud and cost-effectively provide better service to their clients and survey respondents.
Rounding Up Respondents
20|20 is a market research powerhouse, serving a variety of industries including food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Working with both end-user clients and research agencies, they are tasked with providing focus group participants from specific demographics. From mothers who buy diapers to middle-aged men who consume alcoholic beverages to seniors who need diabetic testing supplies, a large and diverse audience needs to understand the same message from 20|20: They will be quickly and conveniently rewarded for their valued opinions.
“Respondents are like clients to me, and they need to have a nice experience,” says Kathryn Harlan, CEO at 20|20 Research. “We’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money cultivating a body of participants who are familiar with our brand and what we do.”
Streamlining Incentive Delivery with Instant-Issue Gift Cards
To create that ideal experience, 20|20 needed a fast, flexible payment solution that would allow respondents to walk away with money in hand. Checks proved too slow and too susceptible to fraud, and their first few prepaid solutions produced more administrative hassles than they were worth. Participants who were promised same-day payment often had to wait days to receive their gift cards, which didn’t reflect well upon 20|20 or its clients.
20|20 solved these problems by implementing EML’s open-loop gift cards and CardSpot®, a browser-based application that allows cards to be loaded and disbursed at the point of sale. Now, within minutes of completing their surveys, participants can leave 20|20’s offices with prepaid, branded debit cards redeemable at any retail location that accepts MasterCard®.
“With CardSpot and the reliability of EML’s payment system, my day-to-day headaches are gone,” says Harlan.
Serving Clients with a Trusted Brand
Ultimately, the combination of EML open-loop gift cards and CardSpot has allowed 20|20 to focus less on behind-the-scenes payment details and more on providing great service to their clients and survey respondents.
“We’re in the business of taking care of our clients, and the payment system needs to work without me thinking about it,” says Harlan. “Now we’re at a place where I don ’t hear complaints, cards are coming out loaded as they’re supposed to be, and day-to-day it’s a non-issue. EML has reduced our internal workloads, they’re easy to work with, and their outside-the-box thinking gave us the solution we needed.”