Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Me and Arbitron

Last week our family completed an Arbitron ratings survey for local radio. It was quite a little process. First, came a letter of interest along with a crisp new dollar bill promising a future monetary token of appreciation should we agree to participate. Then came a phone call wherein I agreed to do it. I asked the caller how much would we receive, and she said “about the cost of a cup of coffee.” Not that I’m that desperate for money. I’m just interested in marketing. A few days later, we received packets with the surveys for each family member. And there was again a crisp dollar for each of us. Another phone call to make sure we got them. Another letter reminding us of the date to begin our diary entries. Phone call to remind us to start. Letter to remind us to mail them back. And I think another phone call, but I could have lost count.

Now, I only listen to the radio in the car. Same with husband as he makes the short commute to work. High school senior son doesn’t listen to the radio at all. And in fact, he decries the awful music selections we have in Montgomery. He has a 10 CD player and listens to his own favorite music. According to a story in the New York Times, “The Youngsters Aren’t Listening as Much,” Larry Rosin, the president of Edison Media Research, credits the trend with competition from all sorts of other media and that radio is largely ignoring the 12-24 demographic group of which my son is a member. He’s almost 18.

One last thing Arbiton, you know that dollar doesn’t buy a cup of coffee in my neighborhood. Not even at McDonald’s.


Mary said...

One time a paper company (can't remember which one at the moment) sent me notification that I had been selected to finish a survey about paper use and that in return for the completed survey they would send $10. I filled it out, sent it in and never really thought I'd ever see the $10, but a couple of months later I got a letter with a crispy $10 bill in it! I was so surprised. I thought that if they did follow through, surely it would be $10 off paper samples or something like that. It was a nice surprise!

Sheila said...

Hi Mary. Yes, I love to fall into those little opportunities to give my opinion which are even more fun if they actually pay more than Arbitron did. My husband has participated in some focus groups and received $50-$75 for his time. That's a little better. He always asks telemarketers who call wanting him to do a survey, "How much does it pay?" "Nothing," they say. "Goodbye," he says.

Tim said...

Even if a dollar could pay for a cup of coffee at McD's, would you want to get it there?

I've participate in opinion surveys before, and some have paid well, others paid next to nothing. It all depends on how bored I am at the time of the survey, which in the past few years, I've no time be "bored". I leave that up to teenagers. ;)

Sheila said...

Tim, I actually like the changes McDonald's made to their coffee. So, I wouldn't mind getting a cup there. The other food available--that's a problem.

You'll probably read about my experiences after I have them, but I did luck into a very juicy opportunity along the survey lines. You might have seen all of these "secret shopper" money-making deals advertised on-line. Well, I'm gonna be a real secret shopper. A store I buy from on-line and locally sent me an email asking if I'd be interested and I said, "You bet." I'll write about how it goes.