Market sampling is a vital element of devising an effective marketing campaign. Its purpose is to secure a rough assessment of a target audience by engaging a portion of that audience. Engaging the whole audience would be a pain, and the time and resources consumed would negate any growth. Sampling grants a good look at a group without the hassle of asking everyone in it how they feel – it’s easier on you, and more importantly, easier on your wallet.
Convenience sampling is a non-probabilistic market research technique. This is an important distinction to consider when evaluating the techniques that will best suit your needs:
- Probabilistic: Techniques that are “probabilistic” automatically give individuals similar odds of being selected, and that probability is never zero. It’s “random” in the statistical sense – the subjects have the same non-zero likelihood of being chosen, but the selections are not predetermined.
- Non-Probabilistic: In non-probabilistic techniques, one or both of the following might be true: the probability of selection isn’t known, and the probability will be zero for some individuals. This means that some candidates have a 45% chance of selection, while others have 12%, and some have 0%.
Selecting every third person in a row of candidates wouldn’t be probabilistic. The pattern is obvious and the next candidates can predict whether or not they will be selected. Assigning each candidate a unique number and choosing random numbers from a pool is probabilistic – they each have the same chance, but the results can’t be anticipated.
Convenience sampling is non-probabilistic because candidates are chosen based on proximity or ease of accessibility. It’s so popular because candidates are readily available, and it’s quick, economical, and easy to engage them.