With the availability of Survey Monkey, and other social media platforms making easy-to-create surveys available to users, you may be wondering if you can manage market researchfor your organization by relying on the quick and easy marketing tools available online.
DIY survey tools have been around for a few years now, and what we’ve noticed is that while these tools may offer quick snapshots for easy questions, they are no substitute for comprehensive market research studies. Part of the issue, is survey questions aren’t written up properly, and the responses based on poorly written survey questions can be irrelevant. This can end up wasting time and energy, which is a bummer, but not the end of the world. The bigger problem is if strategic decisions are made using faulty data.
This isn’t to say that DIY survey tools don’t have a place within organizations. There is little doubt that they can be helpful if done properly. Mostly, we want to caution organizations to avoid thinking that what can be captured through quick surveys is a replacement for working with nationwide market research firms that are experienced in writing up surveys and recruiting participants to engage with the surveys.
Lookout for these 3 pitfalls when considering DIY surveys: no expertise with writing up survey questions; biased or irrelevant data; and, analysis.
No Expertise—Even though it is easy to create a survey and blast it out to a broad audience, doesn’t mean you should.Writing survey questions is a learned skill that is part science, and part art. Word choice, phrasing, order, and length are all given careful consideration from research consultants when developing surveys. A lot of thought goes into each of these areas, because the quality of the data depends upon it.
Pro Tip: Limit DIY surveys to simple Yes/No questions and leave more comprehensive surveys to the professionals.
Biased Data—If a survey is poorly written, it’s almost guaranteed that the quality of the results will be affected. Without carefully worded surveys, it’s easy to inadvertently influence how respondents answer survey questions. Another pitfall that may bias data is oversimplifying questions that require more nuanced answers.
Pro Tip: Don’t write survey questions that limit answers to Yes/No if there is a middle ground that needs exploration. Consider embedding a numeric scale to better capture feedback.
Analysis—If your survey has garnered hundreds, or thousands, of responses, you need a systematic way of analyzing the results so that it is useful. While many DIY platforms have superficial ways to sort the data, through charts and graphs, it still requires expertise to interpret the data to find deeper insights.
Pro Tip: Unless you’re working with a professional market researcher, be careful of reading too much into the results. Pay extra attention to confirmation bias and interpreting the results in ways you want to hear.
Market Research can be an invaluable tool for organizations wanting to gain deeper insights as to the ‘why’, ‘what’, and ‘how’ that drives consumers’ behavior. Quantitative research, such as surveys, polls, and questionnaires can be powerful tools to help answer some of these questions. Although there are DIY options available, to get the most from your research, consider working with market research agencies and nationwide recruiting firms.