How Surveys are Conducted

There are many different ways to conduct surveys. POWER MARKETING RESEARCH has extensive experience in all of them.

TELEPHONE SURVEYS— are conducted by trained, professional interviewers who call prospective respondents one at a time from a list of telephone numbers that have been generated according to demographic and other requirements. Telephone surveys have the advantage of being able to be completed in a short time frame. There is also better control over who responds to the survey than with other survey methods. The main disadvantage of telephone surveys is that unwillingness to participate is fairly high. (PMR recommends sending a postcard or letter to potential telephone survey participants so they know when and why they are being contacted.)

MAIL SURVEYS— usually consist of questionnaires sent through the mail to a list of potential participants. Typically a mail survey will include a pre-paid return envelope for returning the survey questionnaire. The main advantages of mail surveys is that sensitive questions (such as financial or health-related questions) can be more easily addressed, and more information can be gathered than in a shorter telephone survey. A disadvantage to mail surveys is that the overall project time is longer. Also, it is not always possible to determine who filled out the questionnaire and if that person meets the demographic requirements of the survey, such as age or gender.

ONLINE SURVEYS— normally involve respondents visiting a website in order to submit their data. Often, an invitation to participate is sent via e-mail to potential respondents, who are directed to visit the appropriate Web where they will take the survey. The main advantages of online surveys are that they are relatively inexpensive and are quick to set up and implement. Additionally, online surveys can be used to gather opinions about images (i.e., a new logo) or other media content, such as audio or video.

There are some disadvantages to online surveys, however. They may require specialized software that not everyone will have on their computer. Also, firewalls and other security devices can block access. But one of the biggest disadvantages of online surveys is that the data field is limited to those who have access to the Internet and are comfortable using it. There is still a large portion of the public, most significantly senior citizens and lower-income families, who do not use the Internet on a regular basis. If your survey needs to include these groups, you might consider the more traditional approach of telephone or mail surveys.

Developing a Survey

The first step in developing a survey is to determine a clear set of goals. Power Marketing Research can help you decide what your goals should be and how you can best meet them. Then we can advise in the choice of methodology — telephone, mail, online, or a combination of all three. We can help to make sure your survey avoids some of the most common pitfalls, such as over-length and question bias. We can write the questionnaire as well as test it for robustness. A poorly designed survey will often end up being a waste of time and money.

Power Marketing Research can provide the insights you need into your markets through measurement of customer satisfaction and identification of product strengths and weaknesses. Our insightful, concise analysis uses progressive methods to help you turn research into results. We'll interpret the results of the survey and turn the data into action items, providing the answers you need to chart the course ahead.