Companies are hungry for information about what consumers want. It used to be that they would hire a focus group vendor, gather a group of people, and have a moderator ask them questions —all while spying on the group through a one-way mirror. That still goes on but there’s a new way companies are getting the insights they seek and it’s a money-making opportunity for YOU. Namely video reviews. I touched on this in Episode 29 and got so much positive feedback that we’re going deeper. A company called DScout pioneered the process. DScout stands for digital scout and with me today is Cam Balzer, VP of marketing for DScout. Welcome, Cam!
Cam, describe what Digital Scouts do for Dscout and your clients?
• Dscout sends people—we call them scouts—on “missions”… sets of activities that researchers are interested in learning more about.
• Scouts complete these missions with their iPhones or Androids by taking a few moments to capture a photo or video and answering a few questions, turning their opinions, ideas and aha moments into a catalyst for change. Plus they get rewarded. To be a scout, all you have to do is get dscout on your mobile device and start applying to studies today! You can find us in the App Store or on Google Play.
• For researchers, these missions give tremendous insight into how people use products and services that they can turn into improvements to their company’s products or into new products or services
How did DScout get the idea for doing consumer research this way?
• Dscout was launched about 6 years ago just as smartphones were getting more popular and powerful… with cameras in every pocket
• An innovation and research consulting group in Chicago called Gravity Tank saw the opportunity to use all those cameras as a research tool to study people’s everyday experience as it happens instead of in artificial settings like focus groups
• Product and Technology companies loved the idea and it’s grown and evolved from there.
Give us a case study. Describe a scouting job that’s available on DScout as we speak and what the scouts are required to do for the assignment.
• Sure. the Opportunities change frequently…
• but one that’s live today is headlined “Calling all TV Surfers.”
• We’re looking for scouts to show us how they watch their favorite TV shows and movies! What is convenient and what are pain points about the way they watch?
• In the application we’ll ask some questions about the services you use and how you use them. And then to upload a video of yourself answering one of those questions.
• Then in the mission, we’ll ask you to record several moments where you’re watching tv or using your tv service.
How sophisticated do these videos need to be?
• Basically selfie style. slightly more thoughtful versions of the videos you might record for snapchat or instagram stories.
• From 30 seconds to a minute, sometimes 2 minutes, while you’re doing something: narrating it and showing us
• Usually ask you take a few minutes to compose their thoughts before recording.
• we really care about what you think, so we want to make sure your message comes through. and a thoughtful video in an application can improve someone’s chances of getting chosen for the paid mission.
Ah, so people have to apply for missions. What percentage of people are typically chosen?
• really depends on the study and how broad the audience is. Sometimes we’re looking for very specific kinds of people and if you fit the criteria, you’re in. broader activities can be more competitive… but maybe one in five or ten on average
• But the applications are pretty quick to complete so people typically apply for as many as they can
The scouting assignment you described has 2 parts. What are they, to give people an even more concrete idea of what the job takes?
• Usually you’ll get a warm up section where we ask your general thoughts or for background info about an activity or need or opinion
• Then you’ll typically be asked to capture a series of moments on a topic: 2 times It might be documenting all the steps in a process…. Doing your laundry or shopping for a specific item for example. Or show us your unboxing experience of a new product.
• Or we’ll ask you to inventory items: maybe frozen foods in your freezer or your favorite workout clothing
• Finally, we’ll often ask you to reflect on the moments you captured and the broader topic overall. How do you feel about your tv streaming in general.
• All stuff that’s pretty easy to do in your everyday life
About how long does it take to complete a DScout assignment?
• Varies quite a bit:
• some missions might only have one part, that could be completed in 15 minutes.
• other missions might have multiple parts requiring 1-2 hours of your time over the course of 1-2 weeks, all at times that are convenient to you.
• the payment is pretty proportionate to the amount of time or effort we think a mission will take. If you have to go out of your way to do the task, the compensation will typically be larger
• The streaming study will probably take an hour or hour and a half over the course of 5 days
OK, tell me what everybody wants to know: how much does the ___-minute assignment above pay?
• If your application is accepted and you complete the required steps in the allotted time, you’ll earn $40
How do scouts receive their pay, by the way?
• We pay scouts via paypal within 2 weeks of completing the mission.
I’ve seen testimonials from your scouts who say they enjoy this work for more than just the money. What’s the other draw?
• Our best scouts just really enjoy sharing their ideas and experiences, for a variety of reasons:
? scouts sometimes get the opportunity to try a prototype or get a new product in their home to unbox and try. People have even got a brand new, pre-release internet connected fridge.
? They like that they can influence the way companies solve problems. They like sharing their understanding of what’s important in a solution.
• And two of the coolest reasons we’ve heard from scouts:
? ** They like learning new things about themselves
? *** They like being pushed out of their comfort zone to do new things — may be uncomfortable at first but leads to feeling of accomplishment (record video in a store, sketch a product idea)
Who are some of the clients that a scout might work for through you?
• Clients are reluctant to reveal themselves so they can gather “pure” responses from scouts
• But we’ve got some over their logos on our site: range from Sperry to Square to Sonos to Salesforce
But back to the money. Share a success story. How much money are some of your most successful scouts making on DScout?
• we’ve had some scouts earn in several thousand dollars
• More typically, people can earn several hundred in six months or a year
How on earth can people make that much money $30 and $40 dollars at a time?
• The key is that many of these assignments take just 5 to 10 minutes A DAY over 3,4 days or a week.
• And scouts earning a lot more are getting into bigger, longer studies and doing a lot of them
• Either way, the best part is that you do them as you go about your normal life. In fact, you SHOULD do them as you go about your normal life, because that’s what our client companies want to see: real opinions from real people.
How long has DScout been around and what are your stats so far?
• We’ve been offering these scouting opportunities since 2012
• We’ve had over a hundred thousand scouts use dscout,
• they’ve completed more than 12,000 missions.
• We’ve paid those scouts a total of more than $2.5 million.
Are your currently looking for new scouts? If so, how do people sign up?
• YES. Always new studies being run.
• Download the app and simply enter your email and create a password to get started. You’ll then see all the projects that you might qualify for and you’re free to apply to as many as you like.
• Just keep in mind that researchers are looking for articulate, honest, thoughtful responses to the videos, so it’s best to pick projects that interest you