Survey Beware

Clients often ask if they need to survey potential customers and existing ones to improve their marketing.
Since surveys have become so common it’s important to be sensitive to survey burnout and to be aware of the pros and cons of electronic surveys that are the least expensive and quickest.

A recent study at Lehigh University discovered that people are more likely to lie in electronic emails than other kinds of communications, such as written. It showed that less than 10% were truthful in emails and about 40% were honest in the written format.

So although this study wasn’t a survey and tested MBA students with fake money, it brings good critical thinking to the forefront regarding customer surveys and how they might be conducted better. Perhaps a sampling at least should be taken from written, electronic, and face-to-face to confirm your findings if critical to your business.

With any type of research always review the pros and cons; consider your target’s age, and other variables to ensure that you are gathering the best information you can. Keeping in mind research is never a sure thing and should be used for directional purposes with further testing sometimes. Be sure to drill down deep and get to know your customers and resist putting them into broad categories such as Soccer Moms, which is offensive to some and a very mixed bag of women.

Some great resources to prepare yourself for conducting your own research and/or surveys can be found at, http://www.mra-net.org and http://www.qrca.org.
An easy survey sample with tips is located at the following address: http://www.keene.edu/crc/forms/designingsurveysthatcount.pdf.

What some fail to realize is even when you hire a firm, you must do some homework in order to gain the information you are seeking and that you must take ownership immediately of what and how research is conducted since no one knows your business better than you do.