Measuring Responses via Surveys – April 17, 2008

When we market for a particular buying segment, most of the time, we can research what motivates them to buy. Perhaps it is a staple, like greed or fear. Or it can be having an air of prestige. A portion of a copywriter’s time is spent researching what motivates a particular prospect to buy. Another portion is spent translating features into benefits, or building attention-grabbing headlines. After the research is complete, the copywriter will churn out “hopefully” attention-grabbing copy.

But there might be factors that aren’t being considered. This is where surveys come in handy. But before we create a survey, there has to be a carrot, in order to entice the consumer to take it. Suppose you get an email, asking you to take a survey. And let’s suppose the survey is reasonable in length. Instead of a 200-question survey, it only asks 10 questions. Would you take it? If you are like me, the answer is “no.” I have better things to do. My time is valuable. But what if you offered me a magazine subscription, to a magazine I’m interested in. Or you offered me a free box of candy. Then I would probably be enticed to take this survey. So let’s think about the reward, or treat, you will give the survey taker.

Next you need to think of questions that are relevant. When I was a Six Sigma black belt with Motorola, one job I had was to create short surveys, in order to measure the effectiveness of:

  1. Software releases to our international engineering community.
  2. Training programs geared for our international engineering community.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t offer a carrot. But I did observe patterns, based upon how many survey responses I received. If I received a good measure of response, especially from engineers who worked 70 plus hours per week, then this is an effective indicator, that I had a successful survey.

Remember to ask a few free form questions. Let me give a couple of examples. What did you like the most about the training program? What did you like the least about the training program? Or I might ask them about training materials, or technical manuals, I created. What can be done with these free form questions and answers? What you might discover there are a significant number of responses, where another category question can be created. And if we are doing marketing research, this might be another motivator, causing that particular target group to make purchases.

Randy Kemp


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