Measuring influence is a common practice in both consumer and B2B marketing research. Understanding the dynamics of the purchase process is critical to both effective messaging as well as the overall design of your sales programs. With that said from the perspective of questionnaire creation there are a few ways to create and capture influence data and highlight its role in purchase decision.
The first example is from a consumer survey measuring level of influence in the purchase decision for wireless providers. It is scaled from 100% decision authority (“It’s completely your decision”) to no authority at all using a four point-scale. The inclusion of a “don’t know” option allows the respondent the ability to opt-out of the thought process. One can see how this type of question can be used as an initiator for branch logic. The subsequent questions for those who are driving purchase decisions will likely be different than follow up questions for those with little or no influence.
The same basic philosophy can be applied to the B2B marketing process. The business purchase decision tends to involve a longer process often requiring input from several stakeholders. The sample below is an example out of the IT training decision process. This is a categorical-based question with not as much detail as the consumer example above. Logic programming is embedded as respondents that have little or no input are branched to question 41 while those who are final decision makers are passed through to the next question.
Measuring a respondent’s level of influence in the buying decision calculus is the first step in understanding how your products are purchased. This consumer insight is vital in developing effective messaging to educate purchasers, and those that influence them. It also provides benchmark data for use in creating sales programs that are attuned to the market.