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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

The Tribe Discovers the Advantages of Online Survey Research

 
Last week, the FEI tribe learned the advantages and disadvantages of two possible methods for contacting potential survey respondents. This week, Marka and the tribe discuss the effectiveness of online surveys. Remember, fire = print.

Spring had come to Mount Olympus. The lilacs were blooming and the gods were waking from their winter slumbers. At FEI headquarters, Zoot’s short-pant toga allowed his unfortunately pale legs to re-appear as well. Always focused on business, Marka refused to let the warm weather—or Zoot’s ghost-white calves—distract her from the task at hand.

“O-line surveys can be a versatile, inexpensive and convenient means to gather relevant data,” Marka began.

“How exactly can we use the O-web to distribute and conduct a survey of important fire markets?” Org asked.

Counting the ways off on her fingers, Marka replied, “We can send the survey via broadcast e-mail, embed a questionnaire in FEI’s Website, create and place a banner ad that offers respondents an incentive to fill out a survey, or distribute the survey via sOcial media. Like any research contact method, however, there are benefits and drawbacks to the online survey method.”

She then scribbled the following on the whiteboard:

Advantage: Online Research is Inexpensive

“On average, an e-mail survey costs between 20-50 percent less than a typical survey,” Marka pointed out.

“OK, end of discussion. Let’s all go home to our loved ones,” Numo interjected. “Online surveying is clearly the most cost-effective choice—and, therefore, likely the best one.”

“Hold on, Numo. There is also a significant problem with using the O-web for research,” Marka said an she wrote more on the whiteboard.

Disadvantage: Most Online Survey Results will be Based on Small, Skewed Samples

“Though it may seem as if almost everyone is ‘wired’ nowadays, 33 percent of Olympian households still lack Internet access,” Marka continued. “A survey that excludes those without Internet access will be somewhat skewed, as it will inevitably leave out many people in lower-income brackets and/or developing countries. There are ways around this problem, however, which include setting up temporary Internet centers in malls and other public areas to ensure individuals who lack access have a fair chance to respond.”

“Of course, initiatives like that would add to the survey’s cost,” Numo noted drily.

“Very true,” Marka said. “Next week we’ll look at more advantages and disadvantages of online surveys.”

Today’s FIRE! Point
Online research can be a versatile, inexpensive and convenient means for your printing company to gather relevant data that will allow you to make important business decisions. A supreme advantage of online research is its low cost—on average, an e-mail survey costs between 20-50 percent less than a survey done through other methods.

A major drawback to surveying online, however, is that 33 percent of U.S. households still lack Internet access. A survey that excludes those without online access will be somewhat skewed, as it will inevitably leave out many people in lower-income brackets and/or developing countries. There are ways around this problem, however, including setting up temporary Internet centers in malls and other public areas to ensure individuals who lack Web access have a fair chance to respond.
 
FIRE! in Action
MART Modulates its Survey Method to More Effectively Reach Different Markets

When surveying respondents who reside in rural regions, the market research company employs several strategies that take into account the generally lower literacy rate of these areas. These methods include using pictorial scales, color associations and other visual indicators in place of text questions. This innovative strategy has helped MART become one of the world’s the leading research teams specializing in rural markets.

Next week: Marka discusses additional advantages and disadvantages of online survey research.
 

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