Digging Down Beneath the Topline

ballot box | Image by: taotyIn this time of political craziness, marketers involved in supporting candidates and causes greatly benefit from timely marketing research. Surveys and public opinion polls are flying around everywhere and are being quoted almost daily in the media. Top line numbers such as percent likely to vote for candidate X are useful, but the real meat lies beneath the top line.

Research can provide guidance into the mindset of customers, prospects, or voters as in this case. In most political contests there are those firmly entrenched in either camp (for or against) and then there are those in the middle. It is this group that receives the attention and marketing dollars. Using research to understand the thought process of the ‘undecided’ is critical to knowing how to frame the argument. From a consumer or B2B marketing viewpoint, the ‘undecided’ could be viewed as those who have yet to enter the brand category.

If you are planning to design a survey to measure the political winds, or for marketing and business reasons for that matter, then your survey flow should allow you to obtain the most salient reasons why an ‘undecided’ would vote for your cause or person, or adopt your product or service. Avoid the temptation to accept only the top level argument.

This is where questions based on sequential logic can drill down to the second and third level issues. For example, if a participant responds negatively to a question he or she can be served a sub-question asking them to elaborate further on their reasoning. Subsequent survey data analysis can be conducted to identify areas of similarity and difference between sub-groups, e.g. those for, against, or undecided.

Survey research can be used to re-frame the argument, be it thoughts against a candidate, issue, company or product. In order to find the issues that resonate we have to incorporate in our survey design questions that allow us to dig down below surface issues. We also have to be prepared to look deeper through our analysis to find the nuggets that can be used to shift the argument.
 

Photo credit: taoty / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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