When you sign up for market research and enter the validation process, you may be asked a number of questions relating to your everyday life. This is because we need to recruit the most relevant participants for our clients’ market research studies so that they can generate fair results.
The brands we work with often have very specific criteria when recruiting for their projects to ensure that they get the insights they need. However, we understand that it can seem a little strange to be asked more ‘personal’ questions before taking part in a market research study. Officially, this is known as ‘special category data’, which the GDPR says is more sensitive and, as such, needs more protection. This includes things like race, ethnic origin, religion, or genetics. To process this data, we adhere to strict conditions as part of the GDPR law.
This blog post will take you through some of the most common things we ask and why we ask them, ensuring we always abide by GDPR rules.
What is your financial situation?
When validating you for market research, we may ask about your yearly income, disposable income, and any debt you currently have. Of course, you are not obligated to answer this, but this information can be vital because it allows our clients to really understand their customers. Rest assured, your answers are used purely for market research purposes and will not be passed on to a third party.
We may also ask for your bank details for studies where payment is delivered by BACs so you can get paid for your time. Don’t worry, though – it is perfectly safe to give your account number and sort code as this information can only be used to pay money INTO your account. You could also get your incentive in the form of an Amazon voucher, depending on the methodology.
On occasions, you may be asked about your financial situation will help us to match you to our client’s criteria and to ensure that we are representing a certain audience fairly. Once again, you don’t have to answer this but if you don’t, we may not be able to take you forward for the research study. We will always give you a breakdown of the type of information we are storing, how long it will be stored for, as well as details of any third parties, and a clear indication of how they will process data.
What is your political affiliation?
Again, when you sign up for market research and move through the validation process, we may ask for your political affiliation. This can seem a little odd, however, we do this because our client needs to reflect their demographic as closely as possible or else the opinions could become irrelevant. To give an example, if a brand knows that their eco-friendly product is purchased by people who support the Green Party, which has strong environmental values, interviewing people who don’t support this party would not give a good insight into what their target audience really think.
What is your sexual orientation?
We may ask for your sexual orientation or your opinion on LGBTQ+ and feminist issues to ensure an equal representation is acquired for the market research study. Everyone should have a voice in market research to get their opinions heard.
How would you describe your ethnicity?
We believe that diversity within market research is really important. Making sure that everyone is equally represented is vital to any market research study in order to produce the best outcomes, whilst conducting research with respondents who have a wide range of different backgrounds also ensures brands don’t make avoidable mistakes.
Who is living in your current household?
We may ask you who you live with and what their occupations are (if applicable). This is to assess whether you are part of the demographic our client is looking to recruit. For example, a brand may want to conduct a market research study with parents whose kids still live at home with them.
What are your purchasing habits?
This question is asked to find out whether you are a customer of the brand we are working for to ensure an equal representation. Often, this information won’t be provided on your market research invitation so that we can recruit both customers and non-customers for our client. With this question, honesty is always the best policy as you don’t always need to be an existing customer to take part in the research.
As well as this, the brand may be conducting research on their competitors to understand their market better as a whole. In which case, this question is asked to assess why you may choose one product over another.
What is your address/where do you live?
Some market research studies involve an in-home interview, which is where a researcher comes to your house to see how you use a particular product within your day-to-day life, asking you questions as you go. So, in this case, we will need to provide an address for the researcher to go to.
Another reason we ask for your address is so that we can represent a particular audience from a particular area. For example, our client may wish to conduct research with 25-35 year olds from Manchester.
What are your social media account details?
We may ask for your social media username (such as your Twitter handle) as it could relate to the inclusion criteria provided by our client. For example, if a brand wanted to conduct market research with people who regularly post on social media, we would need to ask you if you’re active. In order to ensure that all our research is conducted fairly, we ask this question to be able to verify the most active social media users.
Equality in recruitment
All in all, we only ask these questions so that we can get a fair representation of respondents for our clients, who often have very specific criteria. We need to recruit those who use the brand’s product or service and who also fit a particular demographic.GDPR applies to every organisation, including market research and fieldwork agencies, so we always handle data sensitively and transparently. Each individual has certain rights when it comes to sharing data with us, including the right to object, the right to be informed, and the right to erasure, which we always respect. If you have any further information about the questions we may ask once you sign up for market research and the data we acquire, don’t hesitate to contact us.