This article/post is another one I wrote specifically for someone I met on Freelanced. The problem is I wrote it and he used/sold it, but never paid me for it. I learned a valuable lesson the hard way. So, here is the article…
One of the best forms of market research is the survey. It is the best because it is simple, can be inexpensive, and designed to obtain the specific data needed for analysis. Surveys can be employed to ask questions, to identify customer satisfaction, to gauge the introduction of a new product, or simply to collect quantitative data.
An effective survey design is both artistic and scientific, asking the right questions to gather the correct type of data that is needed for research. For example, if charts are an integral part of the research to be reported, questions asked should require numerical answers. On the other hand, if the research to be reported requires customer feedback including comments and observations, the survey must consist of open-ended questions that encourage opinions in the form of written words.
If your report on the research is an annual or repetitive event, make sure the questions are kept consistent to keep interpretations of the questions from changing. In annual reports, consumers like to see comparative data so they can visualize changes. If the questions change, even slightly, the data may be skewed significantly.
To be able to compare marketing trends between demographics in your report, add a category to the survey so those who are completing the surveys must identify what country, region or other category they represent, with the choice of responses in this category based on the demographics to be compared. If this is planned for ahead in the design of the survey, the charts and graphs in the final reports will easily be able to reflect this important differentiation.
To ensure other members of the company are in the loop, especially in the case of a new product that they might be affected by, be sure to get their opinions on what they would like to learn from the survey by suggesting questions to be included. Also get them to sign off on their approval of the basic concepts of the survey before the final draft is started to avoid possible misconceptions later.
Lastly, test the survey out on family members, friends, and co-workers to see how long it takes them to complete it, and then edit the final draft of the survey quite ruthlessly, keeping the questions both simple and direct, since a drop in the response rate is almost guaranteed to happen if the survey consists of more than forty questions or takes longer than 10 minutes to complete.