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As a marketing major, Mitchell Gaylord found himself interested in how large brands create advertisements.
When he discovered Focus Pointe Global, he was excited to be able to experience the testing process firsthand.
“Being able to get that inside look was really valuable and it was also just a cool experience as the consumer,” Gaylord said. “You see so many different commercials every day, so just being able to get that inside look is something that I really enjoyed. Being able to give my own personal feedback into something that might potentially move forward to the advertisement process, that was pretty cool.”
Focus Pointe Global helps students and Philadelphia residents make extra money by participating in studies and surveys. These include taste tests, focus groups and concept tests, like examining parents’ feelings towards public schools versus charter schools.
Charlotte Daley, the vice president of brand communication at Focus Pointe Global, has worked with the company for 12 years and started as a graphic designer. It is very easy for students to get involved and sign up for these studies, she said.
To register with the company, students can go to www.focusgroup.com to sign up. From there, Daley said, students will complete a personal profile to determine which studies they qualify for.
Testers can participate in all kinds of studies sponsored by major brands, Daley added, including taste testings for pizza and other food items, electronics testings for smartphones, headsets, virtual reality devices, package testing and more.
Gaylord participated in an advertisement study for a popular gum and mint product in Spring 2017.
He said he and about 30 other participants were shown storyboards of potential commercial ideas and concept videos. The group received a remote clicker and answered questions about how different ideas made them feel and what they liked about certain concepts.
Gaylord said he enjoyed being able to share his opinion about advertisements and the fact that he was able to provide accurate feedback about an advertising concept that could be implemented in the future.
“If somebody is going to be involved in these focus groups, just have an open mind,” he added. “Be conscious of what your answer is because the company wants something valuable and something true.”
All of the information participants provide is kept confidential, Daley added. The company does not share personal information, and only uses it to match participants with studies they qualify for.
“If we’re doing a cat food study, we’re going to look in your profile and see whether you have a cat,” Daley said. “Also, we never share actual personal information with the clients. It’s all done through ID numbers. They don’t ever get your actual information.”
For Philadelphians, the focus groups and product tests take place at two locations: Logan Square, on 18th and Arch streets, and Bala Cynwyd, on East City Avenue near Kings Grant Drive. The only requirement is participants sign up with the company and meet the qualifications for a particular study.
In addition to the surveys and focus groups being a fun way to meet new people and network, Tori Haughey, a social media coordinator for Focus Pointe Global, said they are perfect for students because the surveys are flexible for busy schedules. The surveys and focus groups take place the time, during daytime hours, evenings and even weekends.
Getting paid to express your opinions is one of the draws to participating in the surveys, Haughey said.
“You made a difference by giving your feedback on user products so clients can make adjustments and see if it’s going to be feasible in the marketplace,” she added.