Sep 10, 2015 Categories: Public Relations & Marketing Tags: Business Development, Strategy

How many AKS-Survey-Blog-Postsurvey-based statistics do you come across in a day? Likely, it’s more than you realize. Surveys have been used since long before the availability of services like Survey Monkey, and can be valuable when used to evoke discussion, uncover groundbreaking statistics, provide proof for your hypothesis about an issue, or give your company a leg up over competition on industry expertise.

So, let’s conduct some surveys! Not so fast. Surveys can also end up costing your company resources and delivering little to no value if done without proper planning. Here are some common assumptions about surveys that require some consideration before committing to conducting surveys.

If your competitors are doing surveys on an issue, you should too.

If your competitors have already watered the grass, installing sprinklers will just flood the lawn (and cost your company time and money). Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of a popular topic, it is more valuable to analyze your competitors’ surveys, looking for gaps, new angles or audiences that could be approached with a survey of your own. Little value will come from announcing your version of statistics that have already been revealed.

The survey will say X.

Creating the questions without a clear goal is a big survey misstep, but so is defining one result. The strategy behind the questions and the target audience should be established before creating the survey. Questions should be tailored to provide direct and concrete insight into a particular topic of interest. However, the nature of a survey means you may get answers you were not expecting. Your company should be prepared for unexpected conclusions.

Ask as many questions as possible, and keep them open-ended for more honest opinions.

It is important to be mindful of your participants’ time, as they are most likely taking the survey voluntarily. Don’t ask too many questions, and provide clear direction for responses. Having participants write in answers, or giving them too many options to choose from, can make it hard for your company to deduce anything valuable and can drain resources when analyzing responses. Be consistent with wording and don’t leave room for confusion.


Once the survey is done, all you have to do is share the data.

Analyzing the survey’s responses, and determining how to present any new insight to the media and the public is as important as the data itself, if not more. Audiences interested in your company’s expertise will want to verify any conclusions made from the survey, so ensure that potential headlines match the hard data. False conclusions can hurt a company’s reputation, but bold new insights can boost your company’s expertise to a whole new level.

If you need data, you should conduct a survey.

Depending on the data you need (qualitative or quantitative), and what it’s for, a survey may be the answer. However, there are alternatives that deserve consideration before being cast aside. Other options can include focus groups, interviews or conversations, reviewing and repurposing existing institutional data. Often, these sources of content can be just as good as a survey for a vehicle to share insights and generate interest in your company.

-Alaina Shulman

Image via Wikimedia Commons