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.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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