Ask the Right Questions on your Marketing Survey

data driven marketing coming from a laptop.

Today’s marketing is all about collecting as much qualitative data as possible. Data driven marketing is in increasing demand for organizations of all sizes who want to more calculated approaches to their customer base and the ability to effectively measure their performance. This is even applicable to marketing channels previously thought incapable of achieving meaningful data collection, like events.

Data-driving marketing allows you to present more insightful reporting on your ROI, as well as valuable customer intel and market research. Instead of relying on anecdotal evidence to make decisions, companies hire market research companies to conduct in-depth research, often including surveys to existing or potential customers. Sometimes, this kind of research is done in house. These researchers often require the temporary use of tablets to collect the information, so we see these marketers on a regular basis.

We’ve found that not all surveys are created equal. There are several tips that experienced market researchers can provide to craft your questions in a way that will retrieve the most valuable data. Here’s what we’ve learned about how they set up their surveys to collect this information:

Begin with useful screening questions

This is essential in order to later segment the data into different categories, allowing you to draw inferences from the information you collect. Segmentation is critical to taking your data that extra step to make it more meaningful, find trends and make decisions based off of your findings.

Leave no room for ambiguity

Be as specific as possible so as to eliminate any uncertainty on how an individual should respond. When people are unsure, they make assumptions, and those assumptions will lead to inaccurate data.

Don’t pose multiple questions at once

K.I.S.S. aka “keep it simple, stupid” or “keep it simple, sweetheart” if you’re feeling nice. Only ask one question at a time, because your respondent is only allowed one answer and their responses may differ for each item you’ve chosen to include in your question. When you see yourself inserting the word “and” to connect two thoughts in your question, you may be making this mistake.

Keep the light stuff at the top

Ask all of your easy questions first. If you pose a though-provoking question too early in the survey, the respondent could be scared off. If they’ve already invested time and answered a number of easy questions, they are more likely to stick with you until the end.

Remain neutral in your wording

If you use biased language, you’re going to get biased responses. Keep your language neutral – an easy way to do so is to avoid using adjectives in your questions unless absolutely necessary, and keep them in the answers where you’re trying to collect opinions.

Give wider ranges than Yes/No

Sometimes Yes/No is OK, when a matter is absolutely black-and-white. But often times, there is an area of grey and you don’t want to overlook this when collecting data about your services or goods. When a respondent is forced to choose between one or the other, they may select “no” when the answer is “sometimes,” and that can greatly skew the accuracy of your data.

Include open-ended questions

On the topic of broadening response types, be sure to include some open-ended questions as you may find the most valuable information resides within these answers. Not everyone will take the time to provide insightful feedback for you, but even in a few sentences they may provide you thoughts you could have never anticipated. This “qualitative” strategy will provide rich data that highlights the respondent’s motivations and opinions for their other responses.

Always test your survey

Before you set your survey for prime-time, be sure to test it with a small group first in order to catch any unintentional mishaps, with wording that is causing inaccurate responses or questions that pose no beneficial information. This will allow you to make the survey more concise and effective.

Looking for more tips on how to create the best, most fruitful survey? Visit Kissmetrics for a few tips on how to collect your customers’ “deepest desires,” or if you’re new at this, look at CVENT who has provided several baseline market research questions.

We have helped countless marketing organizations in Canada by providing the hardware to conduct these surveys. If you have further questions on renting iPads, Android and Windows tablets, or even smartphones for data collection, feel free to contact us.