Online surveys are great (I’m a fan of Greenfield and of course Pinecone Research) but they don’t mean the same payday as a real life focus group or in-person survey. In one of my marketing classes at Hopkins, the professor brought in a friend of his who was in the business of market research and she discussed where she held her focus groups. As it turns out, which makes perfect sense if you think about it, you simply find companies who deal in the collection and management of folks you can call on to participate in surveys and focus groups. I’m not entirely sure what the payout is but it seems handsome and it’s a good way to try out new products and get out of the house every once and a while.
As I scoured the web, one resource that kept appearing was a site called Greenbook, which helps anyone find market research companies. On the right hand side there is a listing of all the states and when you click on it it gives you a listing of all the market research companies and facilities in that state. In Maryland there were 18 different listings and by visiting the company’s website you’re often able to sign up to become a participant.
You won’t become rich doing this and often companies will have a limit as to how often you can participate in a market research survey or focus group but for a little extra cash (and they often will pay cold hard cash) it’s not a bad idea to consider getting on these lists.