The Tribe Discovers Two Effective Survey Contact Methods

Last week, the FEI tribe learned why surveys can be important market research tools. This week, Marka and the tribe discuss the advantages and disadvantages of two possible methods for contacting potential survey respondents. Remember, fire = print.

“Now that we’ve determined our survey’s content and form, how should we contact our potential respondents?” Marka asked.

“Why does that matter?” Zoot replied.

“In marketing, the means by which we communicate with our target market matters,” Marka explained. “Some prospects will respond to an O-mailer, some to a broadcast mail, and some to a social media post. Contacting potential survey respondents is similar in this respect. Our survey response rates will likely be dependent on the vehicle used to contact potential respondents. We may want to try a combination of contact methods to determine which are most effective.”

“Cost should also be considered,” added Numo. “Some methods—like online surveys—will have lower distribution costs than others.”

“Very true,” Marka said. “Here are two survey contact methods we might consider.” Marka approached the whiteboard and began scribbling.

Mail Questionnaire

“The mail questionnaire is a good way to reach people who would not give personal interviews or whose responses might be biased or distorted by the interviewers,” Marka explained.

“Cons?” Org asked.

“The response rate is often low,” Marka said. “Several studies have found that response rates for mailed surveys average between 28-31 percent, compared to 39 pecent with phone surveys.”

Numo rubbed his thumb and forefinger together.

“Our fingers will get sore from preparing the mailings?” Zoot asked.

“Cost,” Numo clarified. “Admittedly, though, there are many ways to achieve postal savings on our mailed surveys through drop-shipping programs, address verification software and other tactics.”

Marka scribbled more:

Telephone Interview

“Phone interviewing is a good method for gathering information quickly,” Marka noted. “Another advantage of phone interviewing is that the interviewer can clarify or give further explanation on questions as needed. As was just pointed out, phone surveys tend to have higher response rates than mailed ones.”

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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