Spinning the Omnibus Poll results
- Hi Gang,
As promised, here are my interpretations of the 2001 Omnibus Poll results.
Feel free to take issue with anything I write.
First, let me thank all of you who took the time to vote. It wouldn't be
much fun if no one came out to play! Second, at least 100 members voted.
How did I come up with this number? Well, the first section totals 100 and
the last section ($ spent) totals 102. These are the 2 sections were
answers are mutually exclusive and should actually give the same totals,
that is if all voters answered both sections. A 2% error rate is very
comfortable (as if it made any real difference but I like to pretend). 100
is a nice round number which makes generating % values simple.
This represents a very impressive response rate of 17%. In some quarters
this would be considered statistically significant but we won't debate that
here. Let's just see what we can invent, I mean, infer from the votes....
POLL QUESTION: Time once again to delve into the
habits of Z_Scale members. Please
vote for all choices that apply. Happy
CHOICES AND RESULTS
Section 1. modeling scale
- My primary modeling scale is Z., 80 votes.
- My primary modeling scale is other than Z., 20 votes.
80% of our voters are primarily Z scalers. I suspect that the remaining 20%
are Nn3 modelers. This would suggest that the remaining votes are a good
indication of "Z" scale interests.
- I consider myself 1st a collector., 11 votes.
- I consider myself 1st a runner., 59 votes.
- I run trains and also collect., 53 votes.
I'm not surprised by the 'unusual' tally of votes in this section. The
items were not well defined and are definitely confusing. I would
personally vote for both the second and third items which is probably what
happened here in a few instances. So it is reasonable to take the 11 votes
for 'collector' as being the most reliable. That would suggest that a total
of 89% of respondents can be considered 'runners' rather than 'warehousers'
for Z products. No offense to our collector friends. If we extrapolate this
result to the full group we can conclude that the members of Z_Scale have a
preference for 'running' their trains. Manufacturers may take this
characteristic into consideration when developping new products for this
market segment. Locomotives and cars should be produced that will satisfy
the runner market segment. Manufacturers would then be expected to produce
excellent running locos (such as AZL products) and choose car body styles
that can be purchased in large multiples with a variety of road names and
numbers, much like the strategy of Pennzee for example.
Section 3. Where do you run your trains?
- I have a home layout., 74 votes.
- I have a Z module., 18 votes.
- I have a portable layout., 35 votes.
Here again it is possible to vote for 1, 2 or all 3 items depending on the
individual circumstances. Each item can be considered as a valid % of the
total voters. 74% have home layouts. 18% have modules and 35% have a
portable layout. This means that at least 35 of our voters can physically
take their "Z" to a train show or exhibit on an individual basis and that 18
can join forces at a module meet. This is great news. With a little
encouragement if these members took their portable or modular layouts to at
least 1 train show during the year we'd have a huge impact in terms of
national visibility. Imagine what progress we might make with the public if
"Z" were present at 35 to 50 events in 2002!
Section 4. What side of the Pond strikes your fancy?
- I prefer European prototype., 49 votes.
- I prefer US prototype., 54 votes.
Normally this section should reflect the totals from sections 1 and section
11. The total is 103. Maybe there were 102 voters after all? Or then
again, maybe some voters like both and voted for both selections. Probably.
Anyway, it is obvious that our preferences are evenly split. My
hypothesis is that this is a right-brain, left-brain thing as well as a more
limited motive power choice for US prototype in the marketplace. For
example, I run US prototype based on personal experience and collect
European for its simple beauty and charm.
Section 5. What hooked you?
- I use M�rklin couplers., 77 votes.
- I use Micro-Trains couplers., 44 votes.
Okay, I admit that this result surprised me a bit. I thought that MTL would
get more votes. This must mean that Micro-Trains sells a good deal of
M�rklin equiped rolling stock. Then again, knowing how hard it is to
convert M�rklin passenger cars to MTL couplers, I only bothered with the two
end couplers on the train. I wouldn't even consider modifying M�rklin
European prototype cars. That reminds me: I wish that MTL would offer
replacement passenger car trucks with couplers for the M�rklin passenger
cars. Are you listening George, Eric? Oh and make them short shank to get
them to couple as close as possible. Thanks. ;-)
Section 6. Club membership
- I belong to a model railroad club., 20 votes.
I don't blame you! I recall a discussion way back that deplored the poor
reception that "Z" scale had received from established railroad clubs. No
matter, we'll just have to start our own groups - modular or otherwise just
like the protogroup that is forming in the US Pacific Northwest. It's hard
to join groups as a lone "Z" scale modeler. That's one of the fundamental
reasons that this group was established...to provide the fellowship between
"Z" scalers that is extremely hard to find in the "real" model railroading
Next time I'll ask how many belong to a "Z" club or group in addition to the
Section 7. Party anyone?
- I would like to attend a Z themed train meet in USA or Canada., 46 votes.
As a corollary to the preceding question, I was curious to see how many
members would be interested in a gathering in North America. 46 is a
healthy number and I would welcome meeting every one of you. How about Ft.
Lauderdale, FL next July? That will be the major party for the summer but
there are other possibilities for a "Z" meet...Emaus, PA, Seattle, WA ,
Portland, OR or Dallas - Houston, TX . If you plan on getting together,
please inform the group at least 6 - 8 weeks in advance so that those who
can make it have enough forwarning to make plans. Last year, the Emmaus, PA
event wasn't mentioned on the list until it was much too late to make plans.
Let's open things up to the "Z" community via Z_Scale.
Section 8. Any Volunteers?
- I am registered as a Z ambassador., 9 votes.
Wow, 9 Z Ambassadors. This is Great. The next thing we can think about is
developping "Z" specific promotional materials such as hand-outs and
information packets that you can use at train shows and meets. I will try
to put together a "Promo" folder on Z_Scale with texts and pdf files that
you can print out and photocopy for use at public shows and meets. I don't
expect to prepare all the materials myself. Your help will be most
appreciated. Full byline credit will be given for all contributions. This
could be the beginning of a "Z" Primer for newcomers to "Z" and to the
Section 9. What are we reading?
- I subscribe to multiscale model railroad magazine., 42 votes.
- I am a member of a M�rklin Club., 28 votes.
- I subscribe to ZClub92., 17 votes.
- I subscribe to Ztrack Magazine., 56 votes.
This section should be an eye-opener for the publishers. I infer that our
members prefer "Z" specific magazines to the general railroading
alternatives. Although Ztrack has the highest number of subscribers among
our voters, Rob Kluz still needs to reach another 44% of the membership.
Hey, Rob, how about a special incentive to Z_Scale members like a 10% rebate
on the annual subscription rate? Just a thought ;-)
Section 10. Web enabled?
- I have a personal website., 30 votes.
This is a good starting point. We'll see how the number changes by the end
of 2002. My hope is that evey one of these personal sites provides a
prominent link to Z_Scale and that the owners of these sites take the time
to add their URL to the "Bookmarks" section.
Section 11. Where does all the money go?
- This year I spent $0-$250 on Z., 12 votes.
- This year I spent $251-$500 on Z., 18 votes.
- This year I spent $501-$750 on Z., 18 votes.
- This year I spent $751-$1000 on Z., 14 votes.
- This year I spent more than $1000 on Z., 40 votes.
Hoowee! Look at all the $ being spent on "Z" scale. This has got to be
encouraging to our manufacturers. My magic calculator came up with a rough
figure of $119,500 spent by our voters. (I counted $2k for the 40 big
spenders which is probably very conservative.)
The average amount spent by the voters is $1,172 USD which comes to $683,376
spent by the 583 members of the group. In my experience the amount of money
'invested' in the hobby grows in direct proportion to the number of years in
the hobby. Once the layout is built the amount might, I said might, drop to
hover around an annual outlay for new locos, rolling stock and other 'must
have' items. I'll leave it to you to reflect more on this section. If I
were a certain manufacturer, I would try to provide a complete solution for
the new modeler that would help to confirm the newcomer in "Z" and continue
to provide items that would accelerate the progression to more sophisticated
modeling and committment to the hobby. Hey, here's an idea for NTS2002...we
could organize a manufacturers panel to debate the development of "Z" with
audience participation ;-) It would make a heck of an article for someone's
magazine, don't you agree?
That's it for this year's Great Omnibus Poll. I hope that you have enjoyed
my reading of the results. You are entirely free to disagree. Let the
All the best for 2002 (got it right this time),
Jeffrey R. MacHan
Chief Imagineer - Val Ease Central RR
NMRA NTS2001 "Best of Show"
Z_Scale SIG Coordinator & Moderator:
Columnist - Ztrack Magazine:
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