Market knowledge is incredibly valuable, something that is demonstrated by the many different emails about surveys that we’ve recently received. Although EDN feels that an executive summary (not the full results!) of their important Mind of the Engineer study is sufficient incentive, and Embedded Market Forecasters/COTS Journal/RTC magazine offer a summary of the results of their survey on the future of embedded systems development, others are a little more generous in their approach.

Beacon Technology Partners waved the chance of winning one of 100 $50 vouchers for their worldwide EDA study. Nice, but only – that’s lazy! If I’m going to use the money to pre-order Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I want it shipped as fast as possible, and the 2-4 day shipment to Europe is going to eat up 60% of the voucher.

Merrill Reseach has decided that Paypal is the best approach, offering $20 through Paypal for a wireless design survey, then offering $30 for completing a questionnaire on “design-in practices”. Apparently not everyone in the world uses Ebay, so for some people maybe Paypal is not perfect.

Electronic News has taken a completely different approach to bribery. They are offering “free samples of new electronic components”. Just fill in the questionnaire about your need for samples, and they you’ll be able to access free samples through their sample club. Whenever you get a sample, you need to fill in another questionnaire about the device. Interesting idea, but are engineers really going to do the paperwork, when they can get the samples direct from a distributor or the manufacturer?

Clearly surveys are becoming more and more expensive: the supposed low cost of email marketing does not apply when you want to do research! Although publishers can share results (after all they are doing the survey so they can fill the magazine with the analysis), anyone doing commercial research is likely to have to resort to offering costly incentives. Whether you are paying out one hundred $50 vouchers or offering cash via Paypal, the costs of each response are high – over $50 per response for many research projects. If you want to understand the market, and get ideas for how you might be able to reduce costs – or why the responses are worth so much – why not have a chat with Napier?