ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathryn Korostoff
Kathryn Korostoff taught market research best practices at Ask Your Target Market, and is the president of Research Rockstar, delivering market research training and support services. She can be reached at KKorostoff AT ResearchRockstar DOT com.
Sometimes, More Is Better: How to Use AYTM’s Combobox Feature

Sometimes, More Is Better: How to Use AYTM’s Combobox Feature

The AYTM Combobox Feature (also known as a ‘Dropdown List’) is a survey design feature that allows for long lists. Normally, without a Combobox, AYTM limits lists to a maximum of seven items. And in most cases this is appropriate; we want to make sure the survey participant has a good experience, and keeping lists short is a key part of accomplishing this goal. Read more

This is a Test of your Online Survey Critiquing  Skills. This is Only a Test. Part 2

This is a Test of your Online Survey Critiquing Skills. This is Only a Test. Part 2

Sometimes it is easier to spot someone else’s mistakes than to spot your own. Maybe this is why so many awful drivers seem to be zealous “back seat drivers.”

The same applies to survey design. Sometimes you are so close to your own survey designs that you don’t see the possible potholes until you hit them. So to help you learn how to write greats surveys, here are a few sample survey questions. Each one has at least one error. Can you find them? Read more

Doing the Right Thing: Uncovering Social Responsibility with Online Surveys

Doing the Right Thing: Uncovering Social Responsibility with Online Surveys

Have you ever looked at the label on a “Newman’s Own” product? You may have noticed, prominently displayed, the words: “All Profits For Charity”. Why do they do that? Because of social responsibility and, perhaps more significantly, the image of social responsibility. Read more

Effectively Presenting Online Survey Results: You are the star!

Effectively Presenting Online Survey Results: You are the star!

Think for a moment about your all-time favorite movie. For me, it is the Wizard of Oz. I was 7 years old when I first saw it. I sat in my living room with neighborhood friends, propped up on a pile of pillows. The music started, the lamps were turned off, and my sense of time just disappeared. Two hours later the lights came on and I was thrust back into the real world against my will… What a ride! Read more

Are Your Target Customers Like this Duck? Measuring Price Sensitivity

Are Your Target Customers Like this Duck? Measuring Price Sensitivity

Are your customers cheap? Are they like Scrooge McDuck, squeezing every penny until it screams for mercy? Or are they brand loyalists or status seekers, and therefore less concerned with price? Gauging price sensitivity is a very common goal in market research, and naturally online survey projects have an important role here. Read more

Online Survey Budgets

Online Survey Budgets

To do market research at all — and certainly to do it well — takes money. In most cases you’ll be using an online survey platform such as Ask Your Target Market (AYTM), so you’ll have some data collection costs. And even if you’re using an in-house customer list, you may be offering incentives to your respondents. Read more

Importance In Online Surveys: Is it Important?

Importance In Online Surveys: Is it Important?

You have seen it a hundred times. A survey question that asks you about importance. How important is feature X when shopping for a camera? How important is price when buying a car? You get the idea.

Importance seems pretty simple.

But is it? Read more

Rank Order Questions in Online Surveys:  A Question of Priority

Rank Order Questions in Online Surveys: A Question of Priority

Imagine you are surveying a customer list about possible new product improvements. You could simply display a list of possible options and ask them to select all they would like to see offered in the next twelve months. Simple, right? But what if they select many of them? How would you know which ones are really of the most interest? Read more

Market Research Associations for Career Planning: Sometimes it’s who you know

Market Research Associations for Career Planning: Sometimes it’s who you know

Are you interested in a market research career, or perhaps looking to further your current one? Then it may be time to join a professional association.

Just as travel agents can tell you all the best places (and the places to avoid) in an unfamiliar city, there are times when it’s extremely helpful to have the guidance of someone who’s already been where you’re going. That’s where associations enter the picture, and they offer some truly key benefits: Read more

Satisfaction vs. Loyalty: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Satisfaction vs. Loyalty: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

One of the more common goals in online surveys is to understand the customer experience. Basically, we’d like to know two things:

• Are our customers happy?
• Are they going to come back and buy more stuff from us?

We could use fancier words, but that’s really the bottom line. Read more

Key Findings from Online Survey Results: Peeling the Onion

Key Findings from Online Survey Results: Peeling the Onion

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your online survey project. You’ve gathered a lot of data, and your analysis has uncovered a wealth of potentially useful information, perhaps enough to fill a book. Naturally you’d like to share this harvest with your clients, be they internal or external, but how do you pare it down to the key findings? Read more

Evaluating the Competition Through Online Surveys

Evaluating the Competition Through Online Surveys

There’s an old saying, made famous from “The Godfather” movies; “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” While we may not think of our competitors as our enemies, we definitely need to know what they’re up to if we want to stay in the game. Their strengths, weaknesses and key activities are all key pieces of information, and online surveys are an excellent tool for gathering them. Read more

Helping the Cream to Rise: Picking Variables to Focus On When Analyzing Online Survey Results

Helping the Cream to Rise: Picking Variables to Focus On When Analyzing Online Survey Results

Whenever you’re doing a survey project, you’re going to have objectives. Otherwise why would you do the survey? You might be testing one or more hypotheses, looking for surprise discoveries, or hoping to confirm what you think you already know. But the process is reminiscent of the way cream is separated from the milk — it rises to the top. Given a little effort and time, the process of data analysis works the same way, and you as the researcher can help the useful information rise — if you go about it correctly. Read more

“Let there be Content!”

“Let there be Content!”

Anyone who’s responsible for a blog, social networking site or a newsletter knows that content is king. But trying to come up with fresh, relevant content can be really challenging. It would be great if we could pull a Harry Potter and just wave a magic wand, but so far we can’t… or can we? Read more

The Survey Forest for the Data Trees

The Survey Forest for the Data Trees

There’s an old expression most of us have heard about not being able to see the forest for the trees, meaning that one is looking so carefully at the details that they can’t see the big picture — sound familiar? Read more

Small Scales, Big Scales – Getting A Clear Picture

Small Scales, Big Scales – Getting A Clear Picture

One of the first things a new student of photography learns is the trade-offs of resolution. Large format cameras take high resolution pictures, but they are expensive, heavy and awkward, and high-res images are slow to transmit electronically. Digital has changed much in the art, but the trade-offs are still there. And believe it or not, similar trade-off’s face a market researcher designing an online survey. “Resolution”, in our case, is measured in points on a scale. Read more

Was It Good For You? How to Know if Your Online Survey Project Was a Success

Was It Good For You? How to Know if Your Online Survey Project Was a Success

Chances are, you aren’t doing online surreys for your own personal use. You likely plan to share the results with colleagues or clients. Maybe your manager, channel partners, or outside investors.

So how do you know that all that it was good for them? Or, to be more precise, what makes a market research study a success? Read more

Hitchhiking is Illegal: When Too Many People Get Involved In Your Online Survey Project

Hitchhiking is Illegal: When Too Many People Get Involved In Your Online Survey Project

In those cases where online survey projects go wrong, it is commonly because too many people got involved in the survey design process. Perhaps it started with a small team making rational, focused decisions. But then word gets out that you’re planning to do a survey project, and it seems everybody wants to add “just” two or three questions to the questionnaire: “As long as you’re talking to our customers, can you ask them about their retail preferences?” or, “Can you find out if they’ve seen the new ad we ran?” Read more

This is a Test of your Online Survey Critiquing Skills. This is Only a Test.

This is a Test of your Online Survey Critiquing Skills. This is Only a Test.

Consider this the equivalent of the written test you must undergo to get your driver’s license. Treat this series of questions as a mock test in acquiring your survey design license!

Below are 3 example questions. Can you spot the errors? Read more

Brand Awareness: The Music in Marketing

Brand Awareness: The Music in Marketing

“Hey, don’t I know you? Aren’t you…”

For most people, being recognized by a stranger can be unsettling. For a pop singer or a company that’s been investing in marketing, though, that’s music to the ear. It’s called brand awareness, and it drives sales. Read more

Surveying Product Needs: Avoiding the Researcher Bias Trap

Surveying Product Needs: Avoiding the Researcher Bias Trap

I don’t know about you, but as I go through my day, I see things that really make me wonder. Pink hair with blue highlights, beards that could house a nest of sparrows, leather tights with 5-inch heels… I have to ask myself “Why?” Clearly those fashion statements are fulfilling a customer need, but only those customers could (if I dared ask) tell me why. I might have my own opinions, but it’s not about me. So let’s analyze that. Read more

The Open-ended Question

The Open-ended Question

Pop quiz: What’s a common open-ended question you hear and say a dozen times a day, and don’t even realize it?

How about, “How are you?”

Basically, it’s a question without prompts or obvious expectations, and no list of pre-scripted answer options. It’s a wild card. In response to, “How are you?” Katharine Hepburn once quipped; “I’m alright, unless you want the details.”

You just never know what reply you’ll get. Read more

Are You Ready? Making Sure Online Survey Answer Options Are Complete

Are You Ready? Making Sure Online Survey Answer Options Are Complete

When designing online surveys, it is extremely important to ensure that the answer options we offer make sense. A common mistake is providing insufficient answer options. Let’s go through a few scenarios to demonstrate this pitfall. Read more

So You Want to Work in Market Research?

So You Want to Work in Market Research?

Let’s say you’re thinking about a career change. Further, let’s suppose you just can’t get enough of asking questions, you love taking surveys, and the idea of playing Sherlock Holmes with all that consumer data absolutely makes your pulse race. If that’s the case, market research could be the place for you! Before you quit your day job and launch this new chapter in your life, though, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind. Read more