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In the world of market research, there is always potential for the right survey to land into the wrong person’s hands. But how do you know who that is? That depends on your business goals and how well you’ve analyzed your target market. What are their interests? What brands, products or services do they currently use? Are they happy with those products? Etc. There is no telling how deep the rabbit hole can go.

The truth is, you’re not going to hit a home run with every person who participates, but you can minimize the risk of collective unnecessary data. This can be achieved by categorizing the type of survey you’re presenting and understanding the purpose of your data collection (ie. your business goals).

Here, we will explore different purposes for various surveys and how to approach them in a manner that can help get the results you need.

Internal surveys: no two departments are alike

An internal survey is typically done to analyze team members within a company, organization or a community. Most often these surveys are intended for all team members and can cover areas including, employee satisfaction with the company, thoughts on their leaders or team members, areas for improvement and the opportunity to express any other thoughts.

In the context of a medium to large scale company, your survey may be intended for a particular department or unit. This is common if your company or organization handles multiple duties, which are branched out into different sectors. Therefore, it wouldn’t make sense to survey every team member if a particular department is the main focus. Be sure your survey is targeting the right people and decide whether your business goals are relevant to all team members, or just a select few.

On the other hand, a company who wishes to survey all their employees, may take advantage of an online survey provider to help optimize the same survey for different departments. By using skip logics, a survey can be created that satisfies the general employee satisfaction quota, but then present department-specific questions based on information they provided at the beginning of the survey.

Internal surveys: no two departments are alike

Customer surveys

Depending on the status of your company, brand or organization, you may already have a database of existing customers eagerly awaiting to take your survey. This information may have been collected through customers subscribing to email listings, social media followers or in the context of a retail shop, customers you see on a regular basis. If you have this information, then you already have a potential pool of respondents to distribute your survey to. Whether you make a random selection of a few participants who distribute it on a wide scale, is entirely up to you.

If your company or brand is a new entity into the market, then you will probably want to start learning about the kind of people who may wish to buy from you. You can achieve this by analyzing companies similar to yours and understanding the type of demographic they’re attracting.

Be realistic though, as brand loyalty is a complex topic that cannot be fully covered during the early stages of developing your own brand. People who like company X (them), may have completely different reasons for why they may like or dislike company Y (yours), which is something you simply cannot anticipate every single time. So, you’ll eventually have to get your hands dirty and start asking them personally (with a survey, of course).

Even if you’re new, there are avenues to explore. Perhaps reach out to people who have recently visited your website, or, try using distribution methods that have worked for your competition, in order to engage with a certain collective or community.

Research surveys and finding the right sample audience

Depending on the topic of research, finding respondents can either be really easy or extremely difficult. An industry-specific survey could yield a far more accessible pool of participants, if you use the right distribution methods. While a survey designed to cover a broad range of people could be challenging.

Company panels exist to help solve this problem, by taking the legwork out of scoping your audience and selecting participants for you. They will select suitable candidates based on their database of individuals, which they can match according to your desired target market. For a company or organization that is willing to invest in this option, it can greatly reduce the time needed to have the survey process completed.

Research surveys and finding the right sample audience

Some may view this as cheating, but the reality is, finding a selective pool of respondents is very difficult. It is more wasteful to have your survey completed by people that don’t accurately represent your demographic, as opposed to spending money in order to get the right people talking to you. Having an outside organization can help you find the right sample size for your survey, along with establishing a representative sample that reflects the entire demographic of your target audience.

Øyvind's avatar
Øyvind Forsbak
As CTO and co-founder of Orient Software, Øyvind Forsbak oversees all of our organization’s technical matters. Since Orient Software's founding in 2005, Øyvind has guided the company's choices of technology to become a world class developer in .NET and modern JavaScript frameworks.
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