Market research · Customer development

How to optimize market research?

Eduardo Fonseca Cloud Provider | Azure & Unity 3d Developer | Senior .NET Software Engineer | MCTS

September 27th, 2015

Hello, we need to optimize our market research to be able to get at least 200 survey valid respondents in less than a week. 

Our valid respondents would be US & CR NGOs and Universities with programs to create social issues awareness oriented to population of 25 years and older

What we have been doing so far is:
  • Create surveys with Surveymonkey
  • Posts asking for help in social networks(Twitter, Facebook, G+, LinkedIn) using relevant hashtags
  • Ask for help to twitter followers
  • Email friends and possible collaborators asking them for help

We are also considering using Surveymonkey respondents though we still do not know if we would be able to afford it.

Frederic Moreau Agile Business Transformer

September 28th, 2015

Eduardo, the market and the people you are targeting seem pretty niche.
You can always push your survey through social networks, but a direct approach would probably be more efficient.

Depending on how many respondents per organization / program you want to collect, I would:
1. Identify 10 to 20 people you want to reach, and check which networks or groups do they belong to.
2. Articulate your "ask" accordingly and define an incentive for them to fulfil your survey -- could be as simple as providing them with the report for free
3. Reach out to this small group of "leaders" -- a phone conversation is way better that an email. 
4. Validate your survey with them
5. Ask for their advice or help to collect your remaining 190 to 180 responses.

-- the above should take you 1 day --

As I don't know your context I cannot guarantee this is the best approach, but what I know is that speed doesn't overcome quality when it comes to market research. You'd better take another week to collect quality responses if you found out that this objective is not realistic, or reduce your objective in terms of volume.

Peter Johnston Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.

September 28th, 2015

What is it they say about putting yourself in someone else's shoes? 
How many surveys do you fill out? How many do you ignore?

And how often do you find your answer doesn't really fit the question, but you can't tell the researcher what the answer really is so you simply pick one?
Or the survey is too long so you give up mentally half way through?
Or it doesn't seem relevant but you've started so you'll finish?

Hopefully I've made my point - people don't give you accurate data in surveys.
Surveys are a lazy person's way of pretending they've done their research when they really haven't. And they can lead you seriously astray. Why?

Survey respondents are not a representative subset of people as a whole. 
They have time on their hands - you've just excluded all the busy people. 
They are swayed by the headline - any content marketer can tell you the importance of testing headlines and how different people respond.
They know you well enough to trust your survey. Like you enough to want to help (or are violently opposed and use the survey to vent).

Surveys are thus used by companies trying to show clients they've done research. Or people who want number validation for what they are trying to do.

That may be all you are trying to do here.
But if you want to get real answers, you need to put more effort in.
Work closely enough to see what people do, rather than what they say (believe me - they are usually different). Understand the programmes they are running and how they are relevant/irrelevant to what you are doing (even desk research will help here).

This is more important in the field you are in. This is not a consumer market where millions of people are buying identical products. There isn't really mass data as this isn't an industrial product, but a whole mass of different projects and services for different needs in different communities.

Eduardo Fonseca Cloud Provider | Azure & Unity 3d Developer | Senior .NET Software Engineer | MCTS

September 28th, 2015

Thanks for the help, it is very useful.
I agree with you Peter in that surveys do not always represent real data, that's part of the reasons we are somewhat reluctant to buying audiences or using incentives. The thing is as part of our training program, we need to optimize our market research process to be able to do it in less than a week. We have contacted some NGOs and Universities, and also tried to publish a small survey to collect relevant data while we were also doing research and scheduling calls, though our process does not seem fast enough for the challenge we were given.

Peter Johnston Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.

September 28th, 2015

There is the nub of the problem - putting the company imperative (we need to be able to do it in less than a week) ahead of the customer one. 

It leads to choosing the wrong methodology and forcing it to fit the circumstance. 
In this case it is Market Research Surveys. These grew out of advertising and are designed to show large volume industrial clients (brands) they got value for their ad dollars, not deliver true customer insight. Otherwise they would have psychology built in to see whether there is a correlation between what customers say they want and what they actually choose, when given options.

Throw the challenge back and suggest an ongoing programme of working closely with customers to deliver insight.