Scouting The Illusive Hipsters And Other Subcultural Participants

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 in Weekly Blogs | No Comments

Photos from Paste Magazine

In the world of market research, we are frequently challenged with the task of recruiting participants who represent somewhat obscure subcultures. The term subculture is so broad it’s almost impossible to grasp. Within the United States there are thousands of qualifying subcultures. From huge subcultures such as the Christian community, to the minutia – annual new members of Skull and Bones.

So how do we handle the challenge of recruiting participants from a subculture like Hipsters?

Hipsters, by nature, or at lease common knowledge, perceive themselves to be different than previous generations leaving them indifferent to many of those values. They tend to wear skinny jeans, ride bikes rather than drive a car, have full beards (men), and drink craft beer and lots & lots of coffee. They lean toward organic foods over processed foods and spend a lot of time on intellectual endeavors. In short, they express very little interest in participating in something so banal as market research.

The TV series Portlandia, has taken pot shots (no pun intended) at the hipster culture in Oregon for seven seasons. During this time, Denver has become a hot hipster home in its own right. According to “The Hipsterfication of Denver” in a recent issue of 5280 Magazine, Denver is home to a large population of this group. Boulder, Colorado is a leader of Hipsterdom ranking number 3 in CBS’s 2015 ranking.

So the question arises, how do we find and recruit subculture respondents who are averse to being seen as part of the “system?” Similar kinds of challenges arise with other subculture groups, not just in Denver, but throughout the United States. One way to do so is to re-frame the concept of recruiting. Most facility operators have databases they draw upon to fill the qualitative and sensory studies. However, an existing database does not mean the provider can deliver exceptional candidates for an invitation to the table, either conference or dinner. At INGATHER we have re-framed the concept of recruiting – just building databases.

We scout for participants. The difference is similar to that found in the executive search industry. There are headhunting firms that draw off their database. It’s a WYSIWYG situation. What you see is what you get. The more serious firms “scout” talent. They take the extra effort of going beyond their database to find the top candidates for a position.

INGATHER utilizes the scouting methodology. The result: highly satisfied clients who write to tell us how please they were with the quality of participants we bring to the project. Here’s one we received last week.

“The client was extremely pleased with the quality of the respondents!  They also LOVED that your staff made recommendations on who to pay and send away based on their initial contact with people and the “feeling” they got from a few on first impression.  For qualitative research especially that makes such a difference!  We loved that everyone was on time and your staff did such a great job!”

Author’s name is withheld pending authorization.


By Bob Chapin


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