Why think “Qual” when buying Sample?

Quant articles | MIS - 06/04/2020

Why think “Qual” when buying Sample?


A lot of you might be thinking “we all think of quality when buying sample – what’s this guy going on about?”

Well of course we all think or at least take into consideration the quality of the sample we’re buying. What I mean here, is think like “qualitative researchers” …

When buying recruitment services from a field company, the incentive is very rarely a point of negotiation. Why? Very simple; in Qual research, it is common knowledge that to get the target you’re after to show up and take part you must pay them the right price.

Try getting a 1 hour Focus group with 10 respondents who have a HHi of over £100k/year and offering an incentive of £20… Tough, impossible?

That same incentive value, you would probably easily get people with a HHI of < £20k / year. 

Obviously, the reward needs to match the target. Then the fee you pay the recruiter is another story. That will vary depending on how easily the recruiter can reach that specific demographic.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “why is he stating the obvious?”

Though it seems obvious, in the above example, it doesn’t seem to be as obvious in the Quant/Sample world.

Recently, I’ve had our Head of Business come to me, saying we were losing all High HHI projects to competition because our prices were too high.

Looking into it, I could not understand how a 15-minute survey targeted to only people with a HHI > £80k / year could be sold at a CPI of £1.50 and how a buyer could not question the credibility of the sample?

Take the suppliers cost out of the CPI and you’re left with, maximum, £0.80 worth of incentive for the respondent.

Regardless of how this is presented to respondents (in upfront cash or points), people can count (at least I hope so for the sake of the insights they’re providing!) and therefore can calculate what is being offered to them for their time : £0.80 for 15 minutes, or in other words £3.20 per the hour.


I have to question why in Qual research the incentivisation of respondents and how it is calculated is so important and yet not in Quant? Do we believe that because quantitative is based on numbers, we can neglect the quality of the individuals? I wouldn’t think so…

How credible are the insights you’re gathering at that price? And who are these high earners willing to do research at £3.20 / hour?

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    MIS Group
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