How one buyer (me) handles impersonal market research requests

In my day to day work, I occasionally get requests to fill in surveys. These come from market research companies hired by the suppliers I use. I can understand the value these companies get from the business insight gathered. I feel more and more though that they don’t understand my needs, and they fail to convey theirs.

The last time this happened, I responded to the email and got nothing back, so this time, I sent the response, and made it available for you to read it. Perhaps this will grab their attention. In the end, they may benefit from some publicity.

Here is their message, with my response following:

Win an iPad mini


We at Cobalt Sky – an independent market research agency – recently emailed you, inviting you to take part in a short survey, on behalf of RS, about the electrical, electronic and industrial products that you buy for the organisation you work for.

The survey closes on 2nd November 2014, so you still have time to take part and tell RS about your recent experiences of buying electrical, electronic and industrial products, whether they’re from RS or any other supplier.

And, if you take part before 2nd November you’ll have a chance of winning one of two iPad Minis.

Please click HERE to take part in the survey (link removed)

(Please click here for prize draw terms and conditions.) (link removed)

This survey fully complies with the Data Protection Act and Market Research Society guidelines. Your responses are stored anonymously and securely and no sales call will ever result from your taking part.

If you have any concerns or questions about this research, please contact (email removed) or visit our website at

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Kind regards

Cobalt Sky


Here is my response:

Dear Cobalt Sky,

I do not see the value in helping you with your research. You are asking me to provide information of value to your customer. This creates a debt situation, where I do you a favour (by performing a service, or supplying the information you need). You then try to repay the debt immediately but you don’t offer anything of substance. You simply wave a ticket for an empty chance of winning something of value in competition with all other people that you poll.

May I suggest that this in fact is discouraging, by means of not addressing my need for fairness, and there are a number of other ways for you to achieve your needs without creating this dissonance.

As I mentioned earlier, by me doing this for you, you enter into a debt situation. However, I don’t know you, and therefore don’t see the need to help you.

One option is to pay me for this information. I feel that £10 would be a fair exchange. Your client is paying for your work, whilst I get nothing.

Another option is that you openly ask me for help up front, and acknowledge that this is a favour. You could also help me to help you, by being transparent about your needs of earning money for your business owners and employees. You could also acknowledge, that we are strangers, and that you won’t be able to find a way to repay me the favour I do for you. You then could show me ways how you pay forward all the favours strangers do for you, by the work that the capital you gain helps the local community that you live in. Have you ensured that the employees of your company have their future secured? Are they able to pay for their mortgages and bills? Are they able to buy food for their families without feeling the pinch? Are you confident that their children will have funds for education, or to buy homes when the time comes?

Knowing all this would compel me to happily give you all the assistance you need without you having to resort to cheap attempts to fool my intelligence. I respect you as another human being like myself, and would appreciate a response to this message, with a name this time.



What do you think? Was this harsh, or fair? You decide for yourself.

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