What are the best incentives for Millennials? In the past (way past) a dollar bill in the envelope compelled people to complete a survey. That seems to be the going rate for a survey today – though that’s just not for Millennials. As we’ve talked about in our video series, Millennials tend to focus quality of life on life experiences, opportunities seized, and captured moments, rather than monetary ladder-climbing or luxury cars they can buy. But with lifestyle differences are Amazon gift cards, drawings, Starbucks gift cards, or travel drawings better than a cash reward? Does it matter?
We think it matters for online research, which happens to be the most popular way to reach out to Millennials, since research’s effectiveness is being traumatized by mercenary non-Millennials who do it all for the money. Yeah, the people you want to avoid.
In our personal experience with Millennials in online qualitative projects, we have found the best, most quality responses to a call for research are backed by a gift card incentive–and a caveat that their opinion matters. As a moderator, I like to talk to research participants about the emotional benefit of research, since I feel like it elicits more detailed and honest responses. Then typically at the end of a project, I get responses from the Millennial participants unrelated to the subject at hand: that they had fun! That they enjoyed the experience and would want to do it again.
There is a double-edge to incentives with Millennials: in theory, Millennials are supposed to value the experience of participating in the research, sharing their opinions and experiences, and need nothing else to make participating in research a part of their favorite and important activities. However, Millennials have been raised to expect a reward for submitting their opinions. They have come to expect companies to hand them a monetary reward for taking time out of their regular day, and are therefore turned off to research that does not offer an incentive or reward of some kind.
So if you are looking to research Millennials–like really talk to them and really figure them out, take it from a Millennial that though a dollar can go a long way (to buy half of a pack of gum), we find greater value in gift cards, sweepstakes for experiences, and knowing that our opinion will go towards the greater good. Who knows: maybe giving Millennials a higher-value incentive will help them understand the great value of the research itself.