Ever read survey results and say:
“What am I supposed to do with this information?”
“How is this relevant, helpful, or strategically significant?”
We started developing our own in-house survey research capacity over a decade ago when we realized that survey research had become a commodity product. Lots of vendors were pumping out polls. Ask a question and they gave you an answer but too often:
- The questions were asked poorly and did not extract the information needed.
- The order of the questions made the data irrelevant.
- Questions were included that offered nothing of value.
- The targeted demographics were wrong.
- Analysis of the data was standardized and virtually useless.
Failure to truly understand the goals and needs of individual projects led to data that was missing or simply missed the point.
Today, with hundreds of survey research projects completed and ongoing for leading businesses, universities, and institutions around the world, we are still stunned by misuse and incompetence in polling. Technology, methods, and techniques keep advancing but there is no substitution for experience and focus. Work with experts who will take the time to understand what you need to know and why. What is the real question we are trying to answer? What will the data be used for and what are the unique aspects of this situation?
A survey research vendor that lets you send over questions and sends you back answers is wasting your time. Survey research is an extremely powerful tool with a myriad of uses including diagnostic, strategic, and media/PR applications when used properly. Survey research is one tool in the belt. Not understanding how it fits in your broader strategy will make it an exercise in futility.