What are your intentions? In today’s fast paced world it is all too easy to fall into the trap of marching forward without taking time to consider the direction we need to go. Market researchers are certainly not immune to the “hurry up and get it done yesterday” demands of the market. I am not sure if this applies equally to consumer researchers, but it sure seems to be the norm for B2B marketing research.
What does this mean to survey research?
It can lead to hastily created surveys that are fielded without forethought to the actual information goals of the project. This leads to the garbage in, garbage out phenomenon. The survey data analysis may yield results, which although potentially interesting, fail to answer the questions our clients are asking. Employing the basic tenants of project management will help mitigate this problem.
First, we need to sit down with the client and ask them point blank what questions they need answers to. This will allow us to craft a new survey, or use an existing template, designed to effectively meet those information requirements. For example if the problem at hand is one of a new product then we may need to ask respondents how they feel about the product design, potential value propositions or advertising messages, and test potential price points and their impact upon estimated demand.
Secondly, we need to be clear with the client on the realities of the market research process as it relates to time and cost. Having a consumer survey panel in place will shorten both time needed to gather the data and the costs associated with data collection. If a panel is not in place then we can leverage the services of a panel provider such as Federated Sample, Research Now or Luth. These firms can provide sample designed to meet your survey requirements. We must include time in our project plan for analysis. Depending upon the client needs this can be as simple as topline reporting via Cvent’s report tools or more sophisticated analysis via tools such as SPSS. Regardless, setting expectations early for reporting time will minimize headaches once the project is underway.
In summary, as researchers we owe it to ourselves, our clients and our respondents to be clear in our intentions. This will keep us focused on providing results that meet our exceed expectations.