A little research into the demographics of a market can save researchers more than a little money, and get better research. Take for instance…The State with the most Dentists per capita – If you said Arkansas, you would be right. The City with the most new homes built in the last year – If you said Las Vegas you would be right. The City with the highest incidence of coupon clippers – If you said Buffalo you would be right. The City with the most new Volkswagens sold per capita – If you said Minneapolis you would be right. But how do you know?
Let’s take Las Vegas; bright lights and a City that truly never sleeps. Most focus groups are conducted there in concert with the world class convention center. It’s a great idea. Go where folks from all over the country or even the world converge for days of meetings, walking aisles and of course dining, shows and gambling. But Las Vegas is not usually considered for testing the folks that live there, outside of occasional television show tests for new programming. In fact, in recent interviews with several QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association, 888 – 674 – 7722) researchers, not one had been to Las Vegas other than to conduct research in conjunction with a show or convention.
This is not a promotion for Las Vegas, as the City does enough of that on its own, but let’s look back at those homeowners. Who are they? Retirees – Right – well some yes, but not so fast. The greater metropolitan area is building schools like crazy. So it may not be as you or your client suspected. This is the point. Are we in a location rut?
According to the website of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce:
- More than 5,000 people move to Las Vegas each month
- 69.9% have lived there more than 6 years
- 10% of the residents are over the age of 65
- 62% of the Households have incomes in excess of $35,000
Depending on the topic, Las Vegas might just be a selection for a market in which to conduct a qualitative project involving children, new homeowners, health issues, food, beverages and more.
The other argument for selecting a City is the ability to get a direct airplane flight from the client or moderator residence City. If one lives in a hub city like Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh or other hub town, direct flights are a breeze. Higher airfares to go anywhere direct, especially if there is no competition on the same leg prevail.
Many times a less populated City / area has more diet soft drink drinkers, cancer survivors, remodeling contractors, hog farmers, children ages 8 to 12 per capita than a major city with direct flights. What happened to the old “If it’ll play in Des Moines, it’ll play anywhere?” That is not an endorsement for Des Moines either.