What is a Survey and How to Create One in 10 Easy Steps
Lately, all you read about is how it’s necessary to have an understanding of how your marketing affects your data and vice versa. Everything we do is focused on analysis done of previous marketing so, in essence, we are data-driven. All this data together gives us a strong picture of what is working and why and whether or not our goals make sense. To gather such data is a whole job on its own. This data can be in the form of revenue gathered, sales made, expenses incurred or customer feedback.
What is a survey?
A Survey is the gathering of primary data by asking people questions about there knowledge, attitude, preferences and buying behaviors. It may be direct or indirect. In the direct approach the researcher asks direct questions about behavior or thoughts, for example, why don’t you buy this XYZ product? On the other hand, the researcher might use the indirect approach by asking what kind of people buy this XYZ product? From the response of the indirect question the researcher might be able to discover why some consumers might avoid XYZ Product, in fact it may suggest reasons of not being consciously aware or are unwilling to admit it to themselves.
A Survey research is the most widely used method of primary data collection and is often used to obtain many different kinds of information. In different marketing situations, depending on the survey design it may also provide information more quickly and at a lower cost than observational or experimental research.
Why Are Surveys Important?
They are important because they’re the most reliable method to get real feedback from our customers—no matter what platform they use to engage with us (print, digital, apps, newsletter, and website).
How Often Should We Do Surveys?
It depends on the type of survey. it is highly recommended you consider a well thought out survey strategy for your company, particularly when different stakeholders are involved. Proper planning can reduce the risk of customers getting frustrating by receiving too many survey invitations. A good general rule of thumb – if you invite a customer to participate in a survey, wait two months before you invite them again.
10 steps for creating a good survey
The principal goal of survey is to simplify the world around us by giving us key pieces of information. Somewhat ironically, that goal of simplification involves many complicated steps. Join us and we’ll walk through 10 steps in conducting surveys. Keep in mind that they these steps are broad brush strokes. They are easy to describe, but often hard to execute.
1. Know your population
What is a survey population? Survey population also known as a well-defined collection of individuals or objects known to have similar characteristics. In their most basic form, surveys are a tool to represent a broader group. You have to decide that group and your reasons for studying them early on. Are you interested in an entire country, a region or a rare population of certain individuals?
2. Determine a Mode
What is a Survey Channel? Will your survey be face to face, online, mail or telephone? No survey mode is perfect for all scenarios. You have to choose the mode carefully in the light of your needs and resources.
3. Create a Questionnaire
Surveys need questions … Duh … In practice, writing good questions requires painstaking consideration.
4. Test your questionnaire
– So you think you wrote awesome questions, huh? Well, when I sing in the shower, I think I could tour with Elvis Presley. All survey questions should be pretested – either by focus groups, cognitive interviewing, split-ballot experiment, field pre-testing or some other method.
5. Get a Good Sample
Sampling is the magic of surveys. Your sample consists of the people you are trying to interview. A great questionnaire will yield a junk survey with a bad sample.
6. Collect the Data
This is where we find more tricky bits. Collecting data ultimately involves making phone calls, knocking on doors, posting HTML, or mailing paper. Data collection must be rigorous, documented and consistent.
7. Organize and “Clean” the Data
Suppose you did a telephone survey with a CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) System. You just got a dataset that looks like a messy spreadsheet with questions in strange orders, scattered along multiple columns. You also probably have many pieces of information that need to be rescaled and renumbered, precisely and accurately. This is also a good time to calculate response rates – a quality measure consisting of the member of completed interviews divided by the valid sample.
8. Weight the Data
Now, even if you did everything perfectly up to this step, your final sample of respondents probably won’t perfectly match the population. Post-stratification weighting will now help you to correct many known imbalances.
9. Analyze the Data
Ain’t nobody got time for that fancy spreadsheet. Survey analysis is fascinating, addictive and extremely useful. You’ll want to present questions order, wording, and basic descriptive statistics by creating a “topline” report. Then you might want to explore subpopulations with cross-tabs. You might even poke at causal relationships using regression. Graphics are cool, too.
10. Present the Results
If you conducted a good survey, you just spent a lot of money to share valuable information with important people. You now need to communicate your results to your audience in a way that is accessible.
Finally, give someone a high five because you’ve just gone through the process of knowing and creating a survey.
Stay tuned for the next part in which we tell you how to analyze a survey and the different tools you can use to create and analyze your survey.