LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — From soda to smart phones, laundry detergent, even washing machines, more than 90 percent of the products we use on a daily basis have some form of market research behind it.
Angela Lorinchak heads Jackson Adept Research in Encino, where they run focus groups to help companies test products, services and ad campaigns.
Volunteers often sit around a table, and as they share opinions, microphones pick up their voices and researchers watch their every gesture from the other side of a one-way glass.
“Oftentimes you have people that are developing ideas, developing products, and they’re behind closed doors all the time, so involved, so entrenched in what they’re doing,” said Lorinchak. “To get that consumer view, to get that consumer opinion, oftentimes changes the whole scope of the project.”
She says clients want to hear from real people, sometimes about the usability of their product. Occasionally, she says, researchers even pay to go into people’s homes.
New studies pop up all the time, so there is a constant need for new volunteers to help with recruitment, and clients will compensate them as a token of appreciation.
For a focus group that lasts two hours, the average pay is about $100 and comes on a prepaid Visa.
But for dads like Kevin Youngquist — a father of five — every little bit helps. So when he heard a local company was offering cash for consumer opinions, he went for it.
“What a great opportunity to share mine and get paid for it, so it was just a sweet deal,” he said.
He says he gets called in a few times a year, and while it’s not steady income, “it’s a lot of fun to just have that fun money to splurge on date night.”
And while no volunteer is right for all focus groups, most of us are right for at least one.
“As long as you’re willing to speak with a group of people, you’re articulate, you’re outgoing, you have an opinion to give, you’re a perfect respondent,” said Lorinchak.