29 April 2008

Disposable or Rechargeable? That is the Question

"The product/concept can be anything from cars, drinks, electrical goods or even men's underwear! ...He had researched them to the 'nth degree and chose to give us all an Open University lecture on the polarity, make up, voltage and density of the rechargables"

Recently I participated in a market research session in Sydney. For the uninitiated, market research is where a group of consumers (that fit a certain criteria) talk about a product or a concept. The product/concept can be anything from cars, drinks, electrical goods or even men's underwear! (and that one was an interesting session, indeed!). The best thing of all is that you get paid cold hard cash as well as enjoying some food and drink!

The subject matter that we had to talk about related to batteries and the session lasted two hours. Immediately you are probably now thinking 'how can you talk about batteries for that long?'. Well, the truth is we did! (though even I am amazed at how we truly managed this).

For this session there were 4 of us strapping and good looking men. Two others didn't turn up presumably because it was a cold wet night, and they wanted to stay home and watch 'Desperate Housewives' on television while flossing their teeth. Of the four that braved the elements, the ages of our 'gang' ranged from 24 to about 50 years of age.

It really helps when you have a great mediator controlling these sessions. The mediators are independent and encourage open comments about the product. Fortunately for us we had a great one. The sessions always start with a brief introduction from the participants. The usual details are spewed forth - name, family details, pets and hobbies. I decided to mention my blog, which raised a few eyebrows. My view was that there was no harm in shameless promotion!

The session got under way and we had to list the three most important things to us on a daily basis. Invariably all three were non battery related. We then moved onto what we use batteries for. The most common gadget was the remote control. Seriously, where would we be without it? I can still remember the bad old days (only just) where you would have to get out of your armchair to change the television channel. Nowadays, you just stay embedded in your armchair while occasionally raising your left or right arm to change channels. In the other hand is normally a drink or a food item.

After listing all of the devices that we use batteries for, we had to produce one of our favourite battery controlled items. I bought in a small Sony radio that I carry with me on most days. It's a great little device for listening to a radio station or hearing how the cricket or footy is going, or to hear the latest Celine Dion song (only joking!). Fortunately, there were no battery operated devices brought in that you would typically find in an adult shop. I am sure the mediator was relieved about that too!

The topic got onto rechargeable batteries. This is when the session really took off. One of the guys present was an expert on them! He had researched them to the 'nth degree and chose to give us all an Open University lecture on the polarity, make up, voltage and density of the rechargables. Up to this point he had been very quiet.

For the record, he doesn't have a girlfriend. For some reason they seem to leave him on a regular basis. I am quite sure that discussing batteries is not the best bedroom topic in the first instance!

For the next 10 minutes we were truly entertained by his knowledge and passion. We all learnt lots of facts that I am sure could be a great ice breaker at the next nerds convention. As for myself, I do not have a ticket to that event.

Finally, the session came to an end and we were all thanked and paid for our time.

At the end of the night I walked away with increased battery knowledge, whilst braving the wind and rain. I was still stunned to realise that there are people in this world that have a true penchant for all things battery related! Thankfully, I am not one of them.





2 comments:

Abbey said...

How much do you get paid for this two hours?

I use only rechargeables, mainly cameras, clocks and occasionally wireless mouse ... dont know how that goes with your research though...oh thats A's double A's for remotes (dont have em or lost em) and cordless phones...

sounds like a different night

pcsolotto said...

I agree with you about these. Well someday Ill create a blog to compete you! lolz.