TRU is a market research firm and every year it prepares a keynote presentation for all of the companies that subscribe to its syndicated study on teens and twenty-somethings. I was in charge of producing a video to be the centerpiece of that presentation. The first year I produced the video we did it the way TRU had traditionally done it. We flew to three major markets and interviewed teens and twenty-somethings. This involved travel costs, logistical costs, and recruiting costs.
The following year I moved the production of the video to YouTube and social media in the form of a contest. At the time, I managed Trendwatch, TRU’s Facebook panel of trend-forward teens and twenty-somethings and also managed TRU’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. I created a video announcing the contest, posing questions for potential entrants to answer in their videos. I reached out to our Trendwatch and social media audience to promote the contest. Each year the video had a specific theme and this year the theme was “sustainability.” I reached out to environmental blogs and received a very positive response. I also reached out to YouTube’s editors and they moved the video to the front page of YouTube.
The result was impressive. In a typical year we were able to interview between 25-35 teens from just Chicago, LA, and New York. With YouTube we received over 200 responses from every single continent (except Antarctica) and we did it for roughly 1/4 the cost of the traditional method.
The next year I produced the project again and we had similar success. I have since left TRU, but they have used this method every year since.