Use Marketing Surveys To Gather Ideas As Well As Data{0}

Researchers are in the business of measuring things. They ask questions and find quantifiable data that might provide relevant and reliable answers. This is intrinsic to the scientific approach and we have it to thank for reams of valuable data and ground-breaking insight. Most businesses would be rudderless without sound data on how their product is received by their market.

When using digital platforms like online survey tools the temptation may be strong to fall back on using a closed set of options from which respondents can select their answers. This allows the final data to be neatly wrapped-up into a predetermined set of options with no erratic or scattered data points. It’s neat and easily comparable. And that is fine. But by only asking after what you can measure you may not be casting your net wide enough.

Attempting to gauge everything by wielding a measuring stick can have its drawbacks. Most notably it leaves us blind to those things we can’t quantify. Just because something can’t be measured, does not mean it does not exist, or is not important. There is no disputing that hard data is invaluable for plotting change over time and keeping track of trends and attitudes in the market. However, often those immeasurable, unquantifiable factors can hold important clues for growth in new directions. Even the most off-kilter suggestion can be a catalyst to creativity. Keeping this in mind will give you a considerable edge when designing questionnaires for market research surveys. Giving respondents the space and opportunity to provide their own assessments of your service or product, regardless of whether those can be quantified or not, could be a valuable resource and a useful by-product of routine surveys.

Surveys are about more than simply collecting data. Essentially they are a conversation you as a business are having with your clients. Make the most of that conversation every time you have it by allowing room for creativity. You could do this by ensuring your survey has at least one open-ended question, meant not to probe after anything in particular but intended instead to simply gather views and opinions. Though not quantifiable, if done effectively, this feedback could have you stumbling on angles, approaches or even products you haven’t previously considered.

By tempering the hard facts with softer data you begin including your market in your creative process and this lateral thinking could have you throwing the doors wide open to innovation. Through advances in survey technology we are continually reinventing how we collect and use data. These processes also allow us to go beyond simply gathering data and instead let us gather ideas, turning marketing into a two-way conversation and enabling your business to be truly responsive.