Turning Involvement Devices into Dollars
Oct. 6, 2005: Vol. 1, Issue #37
IN THE NEWS
As scrutiny of heart-device makers intensifies, one tactic that is coming into question involves companies making payments to doctors who use their products and fill out surveys about them.To get such payments, doctors must fill out a so-called postmarketing survey about new heart defibrillators and pacemakers. In one such survey, Guidant Corp. of Indianapolis has offered money to doctors to describe potential improvements the manufacturer could make in its heart products, said doctors who are on the company's advisory board.
--Thomas M. Burton
"Guidant Draws Fire for Doctor Survey Payments"
The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 27, 2005
The program did generate feedback. But internal Guidant documents and e-mail messages provided to The New York Times suggest that the initiative also had another apparent goal--increasing sales of the company's most sophisticated and expensive heart devices. Those devices are advanced pacemakers called cardiac resynchronization therapy devices, or C.R.T.s. They cost about $29,000 each.
"Implant Program for Heart Device Was a Sales Spur"
The New York Times, Sept. 27, 2005
In direct marketing, a survey is known as an "involvement device"--a technique that grabs a reader's attention.
If you can interrupt a person long enough to look at the first question of a survey--and give an answer--it's the first step toward a commitment. Like eating peanuts, it is nearly impossible to quit after the first question.
A survey represents an investment in time. Few people will go to the trouble of completing a survey and then throw it away. The vast majority of survey completers want their answers seen and will send them back to the organization.
In more than 20 years of studying direct mail and amassing a vast archive of samples, I have seen the technique of surveys used across many disciplines--magazine subscriptions, travel and all kinds of fundraising efforts.
- American Civil Liberties Union
- American Express
- AmeriNet Inc.
- Belardi Ostroy LLC
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Common Cause
- Democratic National Committee
- Lindblad Expeditions
- National Parks Conservation Association
- People Magazine
- Republican National Committee
- The New York Times
- The Wall Street Journal