Friday, April 30, 2010

QuestionPro is Looking for Applications Developers!

QuestionPro is expanding our team of highly passionate and dedicated professionals.

Interested in joining?

We currently have an opening for a Java Developer.

Check out the listing here:

Pass it on if you know of others who may be interested!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Marketing’s Boll Weevil?

Romi Mahajan · President - KKM Group
KKM Group is an Advisory company focused solely on Strategy and Marketing in the Technology, Media, Agency, and Luxury Goods sectors.

Those interested in US history will remember the devastating impact the Boll Weevil had on the cotton-based Southern-Economy in the early 20th century. In the thirty years from the Weevil’s appearance in the US to the height of its spread, 600,000 square miles of territory were infested, wreaking havoc on the monoculture in the Agrarian South and prompting one of the largest shifts of population in the history of this country.

The city of Enterprise, Alabama, however, erected a Monument to this pest in 1919 since it, in their perception, heralded an era of Economic Prosperity. The Boll Weevil infestation is thought to be the precipitating force behind the South’s creation of a more complex, diverse economy.

Shocks to the system, while painful to endure, can engender positive change.

So what is Marketing’s Boll Weevil? The Internet? Measurement? Recession?

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Marketing’s Acupressure Problem

Peanut-Buttered Marketing has little hope for success. Marketing that stems from the “meridian” philosophy of early Chinese medicine is the only real way to go. In Acupuncture and Acupressure, certain nodal points in the body are located as “meridians” that when stimulated have far-reaching effects throughout the body. Marketers need to know the acupressure points in their ecosystem if they hope to ever show the results they claim they can. Spreading marketing evenly, while understandable, is by and large a failing proposition.

Consider the following problem: Let’s say you are CMO of a company that wants to get Developers to write applications for your new Mobile operating system. You want to incite action and participation from Developers by getting them to change their perceptions of your company and your competitors. Where would you spend the bulk of your marketing efforts? Well, clearly, you’d spend resources in Silicon Valley, the well-known “headwaters” of perception in the world of technology and home to Apple Corporation, maker of the iPhone and incumbent perception-leader in its space. It would be foolish to spend equal amounts in the Valley and in, say, Los Angeles though the latter is a bigger market.

Continue Reading...

Romi Mahajan is President of KKM Group, an Advisory company focused solely on Strategy and Marketing in the Technology, Media, Agency, and Luxury Goods sectors.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Survey Analytics - Mobile App - Available for Download

Apple has approved the Survey Analytics Mobile app - for download:

We will be posting instructions soon on how to configure you SA account and survey to use with the App.

Stay tuned.....

India 3.0

India 3.0 is here.

India 1.0 was all about cost and the 24 hour workday. India 2.0 was about large project efficiencies. India 3.0 is about global talent management.

In speaking with Srivats Srinivasan, CEO of Nayamode, a marketing services company based in Redmond, WA, I crystallized my thoughts about the changing order of what I call “Advantage Priorities.” [Full disclosure: I am an Advisor to the company.]

The term Advantage Priorities refers to the method of enumeration of the relative advantages that different facets of your Business Model confer to your company. India 1.0 was about the advantage of cost savings and of a perpetually productive workforce. India 2.0 was about the advantages that large, skilled, non-payroll virtual teams can add to efficiencies. India 3.0 is about the ability companies have to leverage a robust and dynamic global talent pool to provide the right talent for the right project, while simultaneously upgrading projects and skill-sets.

Continue Reading...

Romi Mahajan is President of KKM Group, an Advisory company focused solely on Strategy and Marketing in the Technology, Media, Agency, and Luxury Goods sectors.

The Enduring CPM and its Discontents

The Internet is a breeding ground for unlimited punditry, and the pundits are almost always wrong – as in the area of Internet advertising in which self-proclaimed seers declare the demise of the CPM, the fundamental unit of measurement in Internet Advertising.

The world has changed, they say, and advertisers/marketers want action and engagement, not just impressions. In this “theory,” the CPM is dead, but the CPC, CPL, and CPA are alive and kicking.

Continue Reading...

Romi Mahajan is President of KKM Group, an Advisory company focused solely on Strategy and Marketing in the Technology, Media, Agency, and Luxury Goods sectors.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Is Your Doctor Smarter Than Your Average Employee?

Do you think your average surgeon is smarter than your average retail employee or restaurant staff member? We think so. Which is why it’s such a mystery that managers expect hourly employees to automatically treat customers in ways which so many doctors cannot.
You’re sitting in the doctor’s office and you’re scared to death. Maybe you’re the patient or maybe it’s a loved one, but your anxiety level is high. Your meet with the physician, who gathers information, presents a diagnosis and then talks about your treatment options.

Doctors are human, and sometimes their diagnoses and treatments of patients (who are their customers) don’t go as hoped. What’s interesting – and important for any of us who deal with customers of our own – is that the likelihood that a patient decides to sue his or her physician when this occurs has nothing to do with the quality of medical care provided.

A surprising predictor. One of my most interesting take-aways from Malcom Gladwell’s book, blink, was his review of a study involving how doctors interact with their patients and – in particular – how those interactions predict lawsuits.

Instead of clinician quality, the likelihood of a patient suing his doctor has a lot more to do with the types of conversations and relationships between doctor and physician leading up to the point where something goes wrong. In blink, Gladwell writes that they found:

  • No correlation between quality of care provided and likelihood of a malpractice suit.

  • A strong correlation with a patient’s impression of how he or she was treated – on a personal level –by the doctor.

  • That those surgeons who had never been sued spent more than 3 minutes longer with each patient than those who had been sued at least twice. (18.3 minutes vs. 15 minutes.)

Even more surprising, one study which Gladwell references involves participants who listened to recordings of conversations between doctors and their patients. The study participants quickly learned to differentiate between doctors whose tone and manner distanced themselves from their patients, or which might have even seemed imperious or condescending, and those who took even a small amount of time to establish a personal connection with their patients in the process of discussing diagnosis and treatment.

The latter group made orienting statements such as “I’ll take a few minutes to examine you, and we can discuss options”. They explained ahead of time that there would be plenty of time for questions; they diffused tension with humor; they made appropriate small talk along the way to put their patient at ease. Whereas the first group of doctors sounded cool and detached, the latter seemed relatively warm and approachable.

Guess which group of doctors was far more likely to have been sued during their careers for malpractice? That’s right – the doctors who failed to make those personal connections. In short, patients have a lot more patience with doctors whom they have been given reasons to like.

What’s even more remarkable is that the study participants could eventually predict with an extremely high degree of accuracy whether or not a doctor had been sued at least once within his or her career simply by listening to a few random moments of recorded interaction with patients. The difference was that pronounced.

How can someone so smart be so dumb? For a doctor, getting sued for malpractice can be devastating. Personally and professionally it can be a serious setback and very difficult to endure.

So, if failure was this predictable, why don’t more doctors protect themselves? Why don’t they make the adjustments in their bedside manners necessary to lower their risk for malpractice suit?

The answer is: because they’re blind to the risk. They lack the context to evaluate their own interactions and the data to understand the consequences of them. Seeing your own actions objectively is incredibly difficult, even for someone as highly educated as a physician.

Good Medicine. Losing a customer in your own organization might seem like a far cry from being sued for malpractice, but the cumulative effects of a steady drain of customer defections can be equally punishing on any company.

There are two lessons that we think you can apply from Gladwell’s chapter on malpractice. First, be sure that you’ve invested the time into talking with customer-facing employees about the importance of their not mistaking a professional tone for a detached one.

Study participants were able to divine whether or not a doctor was at risk for being sued just by listening to a few random moments of recorded patient conversations.  We'll bet you know just as quickly when your employees are putting you at risk with their approach to talking to customers. Getting this right sets the stage for more and better future discussions. And, as Gladwell points out, it does a great deal to build you a base of goodwill when things go wrong.

Second, be sure that you do everything you can to show employees objectively how customers perceive their interactions with employees.  A good start on this is to implement a policy of complete transparency when a customer complaint arises. If your employees can’t see firsthand how customers felt at how they were treated, you can’t expect them to make changes.

About the Author:  Max Israel is the founder of Customerville, a Customer Satisfaction Measurement Solution for Multi-unit Operators that can help you create happier customers and drive sales.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Successful Survey Tips: Reporting Results

Finally, it all comes together: the strategy, the design and the implementation.  You've pulled together a winning survey and now it's time to share the results.  Here are my tips for pulling together a killer presentation that gets your audience to take the actions YOU want them to take.

  • What's the Burning Issue? What was the question you were trying to answer with this survey?  What story will the presentation tell? Keep it short and simple.  A single slide with about a 30 second introduction will do the trick.

  • Focus on what the data means to your audience. How will their work or life change as a result?  Does your data mean different things to different people?  Bring that out in your report.

  • Provide your learnings and conclusions as a 1-2 punch.  On one slide, put what you learned or a conclusion supported by a dramatic picture.  On the second slide, show them the proof.  DO NOT put a table or a chart with lots of little tiny numbers and lines.   See this slide below -- DON'T DO THAT.   I know, it's in Russian, but does it really matter?

  • What action do you want the audience to take and what's the payoff? Create a slide that has an action and a benefit statement on it.  This way, it's clear what action needs to be taken and why.

Surprise your audience by telling the story of your research journey.  Bring them along for the ride and share the enthusiasm you have for what you've learned.

If you really want to know how to present complex data really well with a story, you need to take the time to watch this:
[ted id=92]

This is Hans Rosling giving a live presentation of Data at the TED conference.

Here is the same data presented Differently -- click on the picture and you'll go to the page where you can download the presentation or watch online.

When we present the findings from a survey, we have a HUGE opportunity to engage our audience and build enthusiasm and excitement for what we've done.    It seems a shame to let all our hard work go to waste because we chose to present stone cold numbers instead of a story.

What are YOUR presentation tips?  Do you have a favorite data presentation that you reference all the time -- share it with us here!

Related articles :

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mall Intercept - Field Surveys using the iPad/iPhone

We are in the middle of launching a new module to our enterprise platform on Survey Analytics - iPad / iPhone enabled surveys. We are right now looking to do a pilot/beta with someone to test out our iPad solution for field surveys. Our objective is to elimiate the clipboard! We are already in the process of conducting some pilot projects with a couple of key clients - and we would like to open this up to a larger group. If you are interested in being part of a beta/pilot project for this, please contact me - contact info below.

With the SA-Mobile module, conducting real-time mall-intercepts is a breeze. With the iPad (3G or WiFI) enabled handled devices - you can conduct field surveys, mall intercepts in real-time. The custom SA-Mobile iPhone/iPad application allows you to setup a survey for data-collection in the real-world without sacrificing time.

  • Real-Time Reporting

  • Location Awareness - Automatic Segmentation

  • Instant Feedback - Globally

  • Off-The-Shelf Hardware - Apple iPhone/iPad

  • Custom iPhone/iPad App

  • Custom User Interface for handheld devices

Here is a video and help file:

The objective (from our standpoint) for the pilot would be:

  • Validate that the solution that we are coming up with indeed is useful and adds value

  • Find holes in the process/solution so we can go live with a bigger bang

  • Put together a case study on advantages/cost savings/opportunity etc.

Some target uses:

  • Personal mall intercept survey - Mall
    intercept surveys are widely used and (theoretically) able to reach a
    large segment of the population. In any given two-week period, about 2/3
    of U.S. households shop one or more times at a mall. According to a
    CASRO membership survey, about 25% of all marketing research and 64% of
    personal interviews are conducted at malls.

  • Interview & on-site surveys - Rapidly
    develop and deploy complex and multilingual surveys on a variety of
    mobile devices. Interviewers engage people at the point of experience to
    ensure that the insights collected are timely and accurate.

  • Post Class/Training Evaluation - Pass a
    survey around for feedback on training sessions right after the session

Here is a quick video:

[vodpod id=Video.3459685&w=425&h=350&fv=%40videoPlayer%3D78953094001%26amp%3BplayerID%3D76485591001%26amp%3Bdomain%3Dembed%26amp%3BdynamicStreaming%3Dtrue]

We'd obviously offer this solution to you free of cost for the pilot phase. Our iPhone/iPad app is under the app review cycle with Apple and our expectation is that this will available for general download/install in the next 2 weeks.

If you'd like to participate in the pilot - and have a project in mind in the next 2-6 weeks please feel free to get in touch with me. My contact info is below:

vivek [dot] bhaskaran [at]

Additional Links:

Successful Survey Tips: How to Get "All of It" From Your Surveys

Successful surveys don't just happen.  They are a function of doing some very logical simple things really, really well.  The first element is knowing what you want to know; defining objectives, laying out what decisions you're making and planning out the infrastructure of the survey.  Another element of the series is actually writing the questions and making it easy for the respondent to participate. Next, we're going to focus on leaving our respondent happy and preparing ourselves for analyzing the data.

My favorite part of this clip is actually the very end when Mr. Miyagi informs Daniel that he will be using his new technique to paint the WHOLE fence.  Daniel says "All of it?" and the camera sssslllloooowwwllly pans around the garden.  All you hear in the background is Mr. Miyagi saying "up....down....up....down"

Yes.  All of it.  If we really want to get all the benefit from the work that we had done in defining our objectives and creating engaging questions, than the very least we can do is finish the job and get as much information and future cooperation from our respondents.    This next set of tips is designed to reduce the amount of work for you and also reducing the need to go back to your respondents for information you might have missed.

  • Segment your sample.  If you are using an existing customer list, pre segment your sample using the “custom variable” feature in QuestionPro.  You have the ability to use as many as 255 custom variables.  If you already know specific demographics about your respondents, then this is the ideal place to program them in.  In addition to that, you can place up to 5 custom variables in an e-mail invitation to personalize it to each respondent.  You can also compare as many as 10 segments at a time by the specific questions that you ask.

  • Pre-test your survey. The easiest way to test your survey is to literally give it internally to your company or a trusted group of respondents.  Be sure to tell your test group who the audience or the respondents are and to act is if they were the target respondent when answering the questions.  Look for two specific types of feedback; first check for clarity of the questions.  Did the respondent perceive the question as it was intended?  Next check the test data and see if you can make the decision that was the core of your objective.  If you don’t have enough information to make the decision, then you will have to go back and tweak the questions.

  • Use a Thank You. QuestionPro gives you a variety of ways to say “Thank You” to your respondents.  There is, of course, a Thank You page.  This is actually a wonderful piece of promotional real estate where you can give your customers a “downloadable” thank you gift.  Another use of the Thank You page is to send your respondents to another page on your web site where they can get more information about the topic that they’ve been surveyed about – maybe even a blog post where they can provide more feedback.  You can also send your respondents a Thank You e-mail in addition to a thank you page.  I would recommend using BOTH the Thank You page AND a Thank You e-mail especially if you are providing a downloadable gift.

What are some of the ways that you get the most out of your surveys?  And what tips do you have for rewarding respondents and/or saying thanks?

Related articles:

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Successful Survey Tips: Catch Great Responses

This is the second post in a series of successful survey tips.  The previous article was all about preparing ourselves and inviting the respondent to participate.  In today's lesson Mr. Myiagi and Daniel try to catch a fly with chop sticks.  How appropriate is THAT?!  When you think about some of the lousy surveys you've taken (and maybe even given) in your life, you can see how the process could actually look like the video here:

  • Specific questions that yield specific answers. Ask just enough questions to make your decision – no more.  There is such a thing as question-creep.  Stay focused on your objective and collecting just the data that you need to make your decision.  It’s tempting to collect more information while you’re in the process of getting feedback, but there is also the risk of going off on a tangent that tires the respondent and reduces your completion rate.

  • Place the most important questions first – keep them short and easy to answer. Keep as many of your questions closed and quick and easy to answer.  This assures that even those that may drop out of the survey have given you the data that you need to make your decision.

  • Use specific numeric ranges whenever possible.  Because you’re trying to make a decision, you want to use specific numeric ranges such as 0-5, 6-10, more than 10 – instead of “never, sometimes, always”.

  • Keep your rating scales consistent within the survey.  If you’ve chosen to use a 7-point scale, stick with it.  It will help your respondent answer quickly and easily AND will make your results consistent and easy to tabulate.

  • Use engaging, conversational language – Use the same language as your audience.  If your brand is “fun” and “casual” don’t be afraid to use fun and casual language in your survey.  For example. “Which of the following best describes your experience with product X? (a) It’s the best thing since sliced bread …

  • Use open-ended questions strategically.  Open-ended responses are a double edged sword.  One the one hand, they give you the opportunity to tune into how the respondent thinks and feels about your product in their own words.  Open-ended responses are a goldmine of future copywriting language that you can use to emotionally involve your target audience by connecting with them in their own words.  On the other hand, they are often skipped over, trigger the respondent to leave the survey without finishing, and add significant cost to the analysis because they can be cumbersome to code. So, use open-ended questions only in those areas where you need to understand the deeper, emotional reasons for their answer to a closed-ended question.  For example, “Why do you say that?”  or “What is the one feature you would like to see in product X?”

What tips do you have to share about developing good and engaging questions?

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Northwest MRA - Spring Training Event

Late notice - but if you are in Market Research (and you are in the Northwest/California) - you might want to join the Northwest MRA in their Spring Educational Event at Napa Valley.
Cost : $125

Chris Robson from Parametric Marketing will be speaking in the event - he has a penchant for provocative thinking - and I suspect will be something along the lines of what Kathryn Korostoff talked about in her piece in the MRA Blog - Why DIY Research is Good for Everyone. I had the good fortune of meeting Chris Robson and Scott Liang from Parametric Marketing and I know they have some very provocative things to say about the Market Research business.

Side note : Why do professional market researchers call it "DIY Research" - I'd rather prefer "Self-Service Research"

Vivek Bhaskaran
President and CEO - Survey Analytics
As head of privately held Survey Analytics, Vivek is responsible for all aspects of strategy and direction.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Successful Survey Tips: Setting Your Survey Up For Success

I've been thinking about the "zen" of doing a successful survey.  As with many things, it's taking the time to perfect specific techniques that ultimately leads to not only high response rates, but high quality feedback that actually means something.

I've pulled together a series of  successful survey tips that I'll be sharing with you over the next few days.  Take those in and why not add your own successful survey tips.  When the series closes, I'll include your tips and put out a best practices list!

As I was thinking about this series, it dawned on me that none of these tips are actually new.  Yet, it's our skill at implementing each of these elements that ultimately determines our success.  The next thing that popped into my mind was the "Wax on, Wax off" scene from the "Karate Kid" and how the learning to do basic mundane actions can yield winning results.  Enjoy.

  • Focus on what decision you’re making. This is a twist on setting a survey objective.  Often the reason we do surveys or gather feedback is to collect data so that we can make a decision.  State the decision that you are making and include the criteria of the decision.  For example, “Should we launch product X?”  You might say that if more than 100 people are very likely to purchase product X at price Y, then you will go forward.  This puts a laser focus on the questions that you will include in the survey.

  • Use an invitation with well written subject that grabs the respondent’s attention.  It’s no secret that respondents are focused on what’s important to THEM and not you.  Write your invitation in a way that points out the potential benefits to the respondents in filling out the survey.  The invitation is actually a PR opportunity for you to communicate to your respondents that you are engaged in creating a product or service that will benefit them.  It’s an opportunity to differentiate your organization from others and highlight some potential improvements that your competition may not be offering it.  Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.

  • Use an introduction that makes the respondent feel important. Just because you’ve sent an invitation doesn’t mean that you should ignore the introduction to the survey.  Today’s respondents want to know what you’re up to.  Use the introduction to the survey as an opportunity to make them part of your team and include them in the development of something new and beneficial that will bring them value.  This will put them in a mindset to provide honest and valuable feedback.

What are your successful survey tips BEFORE the survey even starts?

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Consumer Market Trends During a Recession

Today I'm sharing the Trendspotting presentation on what consumers are really up to for the final quarter of 2009.  As you might expect, consumers have cut back in many areas.  Not only that, but you'll see some conflicting data.  For example, consumers have cut back on their cell phone use and plans and yet the use of mobile devices has actually grown.

When I look at the report, what strikes me is that there is what I'd call a "reset" in consumer behavior.  When money was perceived to be plentiful (and I say perceived because so many consumers were living beyond their means), consumers were purchasing for the sake of purchasing, rather than simply purchasing to fulfill real needs and real demand.

[slideshare id=2273688&doc=recessioncrossindustryresearchreportslides-091019032000-phpapp01]

One thing that we might all be forgetting is that the money is out there.  It's just being used differently.  The key to those of us who are creating offerings is to put our efforts into understanding what is really important to consumers today.  In what ways can we re-focus our offerings to better match consumer needs?

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Monday, April 12, 2010

What Type of Survey is Best?

So, someone in your office says, “We should do a survey?”

First, there should be clarity on the survey goals.  A survey is a snapshot of public awareness levels and attitudes in the present moment.

Random Sample – Public Opinion/Attitude Survey

When an agency needs reliable, projectable data about the attitudes and opinions of its citizens, or a select group of its citizens, it is essential to conduct a valid, random sample survey.  Telephone interview surveys are considerably more common than in-person interviews because they are far less expensive to conduct and tend to be widely accepted as an information-gathering tool.  There is a margin of error, based upon the size of the sample (generally, a minimum sample of 200 is the industry standard for reliable data about any population segment).  Overall, random sample telephone interview surveys provide reasonably accurate information about the population from which the sample is drawn.

While there is a statistical margin of error (the sample of 200 provides an error range of +/- 7% with a 95% confidence), this type of survey is the most democratic process there is, and the most reliable, for learning about the opinions of an entire community.

A random sample survey is not appropriate for educating people about an issue or trying to assess what people will do at some future point (i.e., “Will you vote for this bond issue?”).  But, the results do provide a reasonably accurate portrait of the person’s opinions in the present moment (i.e., a person’s feelings or attitudes about the issues relating to the need for approving a bond).   Questions asked in the past and present tense provide a reasonable degree of accuracy about a person’s usage and habit patterns.

Self-Selected Survey – Newspapers, mail, Internet, written questionnaires

When an agency has a political need to create a survey process that allows anyone who is interested to respond, it can do a self-selected process.  A written survey can be distributed in public locations, such as the City Hall or Library, mailed directly, e-mailed or published in the city newsletter or the local newspaper.

When reporting data from a self-selected survey, it is important to begin with the understanding and the language, “Of those who chose to respond…..”  Most often, those who volunteer to respond to a self-selected survey have a strong opinion (frequently negative) about the issue being discussed.

A self-selected survey, however, can be an excellent public relations tool and a good way of giving information to the public.  But, extreme caution must be exercised in drawing any conclusion about what the public, in general, thinks based upon the results from a survey when the respondents are volunteers.

About the Author: Carolyn Browne Associates (CBA) has been a successful consulting firm in the Seattle area for over 25 years and specializes in community involvement programs, marketing research, facilitation, promotion and community education projects for a broad range of public agencies and private clients. Carolyn Browne Tamler, principal of CBA, has managed comprehensive programs with special focus on city planning, public transit, environmental issues and public works projects. She is also a fine researcher and freelance writer.  You can also learn more at

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Q and A from 10-Point Checklist for Questionnaire Design Webinar held April 7th, 2010

QuestionPro and SurveyAnalytics recently presented with Kathryn Korostoff of Research Rockstar on the topic: 10-Point Checklist for Questionnaire Design.

We had over 105 attendees who logged in from all over the world and had a very warm reception.

For those who missed it you can download slides, recordings, or pod-cast at the following:

Many of the attendees presented us with interesting questions that we wanted to share with everyone. Please note that these answers are from our perspective and depending on the circumstances will not always apply to all research projects.

Q1: When sending an email via email how can we avoid having it being marked as SPAM?

A. On QuestionPro and Survey Analytics, we have a Spam Index. We run your uploaded email lists through a series of filters and preset algorithms to objectively determine the quality of your list. The possible values are:

  1. Good - No Major Issues Found

  2. Fair - Some Issues Found

  3. Poor - List is highly SPAM suspect. Issues Found. QuestionPro WILL NOT accept email delivery for this list without manual approval from our support staff.

  4. Restricted - Not Acceptable - This list will not be accepted by QuestionPro

Q1a: How can I guarantee that emails sent out will not be marked as spam by my company's mail servers?

A. General rule of thumb if planning to use your own company email, we recommend sending emails in batches of ten. Usually anything higher than that would result in being flagged for SPAM.

We cannot guarantee that your company's mail servers will accept emails from us (for your survey) - Different companies have different algorithms and policies as to what is considered as SPAM and what is not. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR INTERNAL IT STAFF as ask them about their ANTI-SPAM policies.

Additional Help Links on SPAM:

Q2: Where can you get sample to do a research study?

A. There are many online panel research companies that you can find online.

The surveys can be programmed to integrate with third party panel / sample providers.

Usually, panel management programs will distribute the survey URL that you provide them. They will want to pass in variables that they use to track respondents, into our system, so that we can forward these variables back to them after respondents complete the survey.

We have already integrated the following panels with QuestionPro.

  • Authentic Response.

  • e-Rewards.

  • Generation Voice

  • Greenfield

  • GMI.

  • Peanutlabs.

  • Precision Research

  • Rewards Central

  • Survey Sampling International (SSI)

  • United Sample

You just need to select the panel that you are using in the drop down menu and save the changes, the redirection links are updated automatically in the system

Q3. How much does sample cost?

A. This depends on the type of sample you need to do your study. In general, the lower the incidence the higher the sample will cost. Please contact a panel provider for pricing quote.

Q4: Do you have any best practice recommendations on surveys that use multiple pages or questions on just one page?

A. Although this question may apply more towards paper surveys, I wanted to tackle this from a perspective of an online survey. I would experiment with formatting your survey in way that would keep your respondents engaged in your survey.

Examples include adding/not adding page breaks, different question types, pictures, applying logic, etc. With my experience most surveys usually start out with easy questions, then move towards harder questions in the middle of the survey, and ending the survey with easy question types again.  You may also include a progress bar, which helps your respondent gauge how much longer your survey will take.

Progress Bar:

Q5: What practices can you engage in to best protect anonymity?

A. Speaking from our point of view, one of the challenges researchers face is the requirement for two directly conflicting issues

  1. The ability to track who has responded to the survey and who has not -- for sending out reminder emails, giving out prizes or compensation etc.


  1. For human subjects protocols or other privacy reasons, ensuring that email identifications not be linked to the response data.

From a technical standpoint, if we need to track who has taken the survey and who has not, the survey researcher also implicitly has the ability to track the response for each individual.

To overcome this issue, the Respondent Anonymity Assurance has been introduced. QuestionPro asserts that once RAA is enabled on a survey, although computer generated identification numbers for individuals will be generated, the survey researcher will not have access to both the respondent's email address as well as the response data at the same time.

For more information please visit:

Q6: We recently have sent out two B2B surveys.  The first went to 1200 people through email with a link to the website.  We have only had 8 responses.  How can we get more people to take the survey?

A. We would suggest looking into how to sent your emails first. Did you send it via our own company email or did you use a survey software tool? Going back to our answers in Q1 and Q1a, it may be that using our company email would result in having it marked as SPAM. See answers above for our solution. If you sent the survey from QuestionPro or SurveyAnalytics email management system, the next step is to send a reminder email of those who have not responded to your email. The general rule is generally no more than 3 contacts via email max: 1 email + 2 reminder emails afterwards.

Here is how to do reminder emails:

Q7: What are some follow-up strategies you recommend?

A. To follow up on surveys you are currently fielding we would recommend the following:

  1. Review your current results: Are you meeting your quotas/specs set out prior to fielding the survey? If not, this is the time to look at your current sample list and target specific sample to reach your quotas.

  2. Review the amount of sample you have left. Is it enough to help you reach your quotas?

  3. Review all the ways you sent our your survey. Did you send it in an email? Did you post it to your website? Social network sites, etc?

  4. Send out Reminder emails. The great thing about QuestionPro and SurveyAnalytics is that we only target the non-responders and leave those who have taken the survey alone.

  5. If you have the budget perhaps you may want to add other survey gathering options such as phone surveys, intercepts, etc. to help increase completion rates. is a great resource to implement other options.

  6. Rethink your quotas. Given the amount of time a study has been fielded, it may be time to recalculate your incidence rates and readjust quotas to meet your budget.

Q8: For B-B online surveys, what's best day of week, time of day to send the survey request out (invite sent out via email)

A. I wish we could say that Tuesday at 12:00 PM PST is the perfect time to B2B customers. Unfortunately we do not live in that world. Some say it really depends on which industry or location you are targeting, and others say there’s no time like the present. With my experience I have found the best strategy is to pair up your online survey with a strategy to follow up with your survey + incentive to complete your survey. It can be a reminder email or a phone call. Either way, following up is key to reaching your quotas especially for B2B market research.

Q9. Do you think questionnaires are the best source of information from your target population/audience?

A. From the online survey software standpoint, it is a very powerful and inexpensive way to gather and collect data for analysis in real time.  The sooner you gather information the faster you or your clients can react to the opinions of your target audience. It’s standard to pair survey research with other forms of research such as focus groups, one-on-one interviews, on-line diaries, etc. Each research project is unique and it depends on your target audience which forms of research would be most applicable.
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Monday, April 5, 2010

Long Surveys are here to stay - Its the economy stupid!

Vivek BhaskaranPresident and CEO - Survey AnalyticsAs head of privately held Survey Analytics, Vivek is responsible for all aspects of strategy and direction.

It's become fashionable to say - "researchers who administer long surveys have their head up their you know what" -- Hell, I've said it in the past. The Future of Insight blog predicts that it's definitely NOT part of the future. Sandra Rathod and Andrea la Bruna concluded in 2004 (Yes that is 6 Years ago) - that respondents "check out" after 15-20 mins. Our buddies from Survey Sampling say that again a couple of months ago.

So, I thought WHAT IS THE DEAL here. Two questions -

a) are we still administering long surveys?
b) If so - why?

As it turns out, I actually have access to some real data. As part of the group of services and companies I am a part of, we cumulatively conduct about 2 million surveys a month across thousands of clients. So, I thought, I'd mine the data for some insight into how long are the survey exactly.

In March we conducted 1.96 Million surveys. Median Question Length: 35.

Now, lets think about it - In the age of 140 Character Tweets, we are asking 2 million users to fill out a 35 question survey?

Now - lets think about some of the reasons. From our vantage point, there are 4 audiences for surveys:

a) Market Research
b) Customer Satisfaction
c) Public Opinion / Social Science Research
e) Employee Satisfaction

Of the 4 broad categories, Market Research has traditionally been the culprit. We know, Customer Satisfaction has pretty much undergone the transformation from overtly long surveys to "One Question" - aka Net Promoter Score - so the issue of long running Customer Sat surveys are out of the question. Even if you are not using Net Promoter, most companies I know use a variant of the Net Promoter -- Secure Customer Index, or ACSI Index -- all of which are very short - 3 questions max.
I also happen to know empirically that public opinion, social science research and employee sat. studies account for less than 20% of our customer base - so - in effect they are a non-participant here -- at least in no significant way.

This leads us to Market Research. Traditional Market Research consists of 4 players in the value chain:

a) Client - Pays the bills. Has the problem. Has a checkbook. Think - BP, P&G etc.
b) MR Agency - Big agencies traditionally outsource parts of the work to smaller ones. Think GFK, Kantar, IPSOS and then over 14,000 smaller MR firms that service them.
b) Sample Provider -- Provides the list of participants to the survey. SSI, e-Rewards, PeanutLabs etc.
d) Technology Providers / Data Collector - QuestionPro, SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, Survey Analytics, Vovici, Confirmit etc.

So - lets think about this purely from one axis - Length of the Survey.

Client:Market Research studies generally have budget on a temporal basis - they can do X projects in a year and have budgeted for that. So, its natural to cram as many questions into each project - natural bloat. There is no significant cost differential between running a 20 question survey vs. a 40 question survey vs. an 80 question survey. The incremental cost are not 2x or 4x.

MR Agency / Sub Agency / Consultant:Typically - there is a base cost for conducting research - then MR agencies, as with most service oriented businesses, are fundamentally dependent on time. Everyone knows the agency business ultimately is an arbitrage - Pay X and charge Y - for time. The more complicated and lengthy a project it - its better for business. Duh! - So there is no compelling reason for any agency to try and shorten the size of the study - unless they felt the study was too large for success. So, in effect there is absolutely no financially compelling reason why ANY MR Agency would advise a client to shorten the study, break the study into multiple parts. It would have the direct effect of simply reduce their billings.

Sample Provider:
OK - this entity in the value chain is probably hurt the most - however, since all panel providers are priced based on the length of the survey, they are (in theory) covered. The two axis that determine price for any sample provider is a) incidence -- what kind of respondents are you looking for, and b) completion rates -- directly a function of survey length. I have talked in great length to many sample providers on how much they HATE long surveys and non-interactive surveys. I understand -- this is core to their business. They are about the only entity that actually cares about the respondent. However keep in mind, that relationship is not a typical Vendor-Client relationship.  Lost revenue on incorrectly priced projects as well as the bad taste that respondents have, vis-a-vis  the panel provider, are compelling enough reasons for most panel providers to hate studies that are long. However, since they have factored in time - this should be reflected in price they quote. But then competition kicks in and we all have to do what we need to do to get a deal done!

Technology Providers / Data Collector:I obviously can attest to this part personally. Frankly, we don't really care. The cost of storing more data (more questions) is insignificant. When we started our business, it used to matter. But once you achieve scale, it really does not matter. So, technically we are ambivalent to this -- from a pure economic standpoint - it does not cost us much more to run a 30 question survey vs. a 10 question survey. Since it does not cost us (or for that matter any other technology service provider) more, we are not at a position to charge more. So, in effect we are enabling this phenomenon. I'll admit to that. I know some tech. providers and in some of our own services, we charge on a per completed response basis - again - this has absolutely no effect on the number of questions/length of the survey.

So, when we net it out, there is actually no one who actually, from a strict economic standpoint, cares about the length of the survey. It does not even scale linearly -- in fact if you model it out, its usually exponentially inverse. Its cheaper to run longer surveys (on a per question basis.)

Customer Sat. studies used to be overtly long and terrifying - until Bain, McKinsey and BCG told all the CEO's of the world that the only thing they should care about is the single question on "How likely are you to recommend?" - Will Kantar, IPSOS post a "You shall not ask more than 20 questions at a time" rule? I doubt it. Long surveys are here to stay - and we all like it - that is unless someone asks us to take one!

Friday, April 2, 2010

How to Develop Survey Questions That Help You Make Good Decisions

I've been involved in a back and forth with a client around creating survey questions that measure the effectiveness of a team. I was most concerned about the nature and the quality of the questions that we would ask.  We all know the old saying "Garbage in. Garbage out."  And this is certainly true as it relates to constructing good survey questions.

QuestionPro already gives us many options and question types to choose from.  But if you're not asking the right questions, you're not going to get actionable results.

The most basic reason we conduct surveys is to help us make decisions.   In fact, surveys aren't just used for marketing decisions.  They are often most useful for making improvements in our operations.

How to Know If Your Question Will Yield Actionable Results?

The best way to test your questions for good results is to literally run your survey internally as a test and ask people to answer the questions.  Then look at your results.

Gather a small team in the room and set your objective as reviewing the test results for specific action items.

For example:

"We received a score of 6.7 out of 10 as a response to "Overall, how would you rate the training you received?"  Our objective is to raise this score to an 8 out of 10.  What are some specific action items we could do to improve this score?"

Chances are your team may take in this information and come up with more questions such as:

  • Which aspects of the training were rated low?

  • Which aspects were rated high?

  • What specific parts of the training drive the respondents' experience?  Is it the trainer, the materials, the exercises, the venue?

If your group is tasked with coming up with specific changes to drive improvement, and they are asking these kinds of questions -- then the original survey question is too broad.

The good news is that the questions you're asking yourselves in order to come up with actions that will drive your score up are the key to creating more specific questions that will help you take action.

Focus on What Decision You're Making And The Objectives

What is the objective of your survey and what decisions will you make with the results?  Are you looking for ways to improve your training process and system so that your trainees retain more information?   In that case, you can focus the question on your respondents' ability to actually do a specific task.

With that in mind, you can create a more focused question such as:

"After completing the training, I can process an online order easily"

This question is focused on the area of online order processing.  If you get a low rating, your team will know to focus on that specific area for improvement.

Managing Survey Length

The downside of focused questions is that they tend to proliferate and make your survey too long.   This is why it's critical to be clear about how you will use the survey to help you make decisions.  It's worth the time and effort to discuss and come to agreement on what decision you are making and what information you will need to make that decision.  That alone, will eliminate those "nice to know" questions that yield interesting results, but really don't help you make improvements.

Developing a Survey Strategy

If you're using your survey results to make decisions, and you don't want to overwhelm your respondents with a long survey.  The best thing to do is develop a survey plan.

  1. Identify the decision that you are making

  2. Identify the data you will need to support your decision

  3. Develop survey objectives around your decision

  4. Create ALL the questions that will give you the information that you need.

  5. Break those questions out into separate surveys that your respondents can take at different stages of the process.

Focusing your surveys on decisions and actionable steps that you can take will not only yield better results, it will make your team more efficient and your respondents more responsive because they can see their feedback in action.

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Social Media Lessons from the Cleveland Indians

A social media deck or a social media COMMUNITY?

It's your choice.

The Cleveland Indians are the latest pro sports team to leap media. Their leap is called the Tribe Social Deck.  I find the story painful.

The  pain arises from the obvious disconnect.  The disconnect comes from building a deck not a community. The deck's disconnect starts with:

*  Providing free wi-fi access as a special perk for ...wait for the number...10 seats in 60,000+ - seat stadium.
Ever hear of 3G networks, iphones, blackberrys, 3G cards for laptops?

* Invitation only access.

* Locating the 10 seats in the farthest reaches of left field. That is the same left field reached only a few times this year by Cleveland Indian hitters.

This is the equivalent of a sacrifice fly with the bases empty, you're down by 4 and there are two outs. You sacrifice the community for a  carefully controlled result. Yes, you executed the sacrifice fly. Yes, you invited 10 anonymous sit in left-field...for one game.

Here's some ideas to instead build a social media community among your fans and their fans. That becomes a self-sustaining, momentum building, run-scoring machine with home runs and singles.

Find The Story.

What is it? The Cleveland Indians franchise have a wonderful story to share. Today’s chapter may be bland. However, they are 4-2 at home. There’s a start.

Who are the people behind this team at home? The players, coaches, the grounds crew, the concessionaires, yes, even the management. Their stories combine to create the experiences for your fans, the ones who buy the tickets and attend the games.

Find the story for each person in your organization who creates that experience.

Find The Fans

Who are the individual fans? This should be easy to find:

  • only a few thousand come to the park.

  • You have  google alerts to help you find them on the web.

Find Their Stories.

Their passion for the Indians, their experience at the game, what the Indians mean (or could mean) in their their story. Find them. Share them. Their numbers are legion.

Sure, the detractors have the day right now. But, lying dormant now are all the fans looking for a reason to cheer and connect.

Share their stories.

Connect their stories. Connect the stories from your fans and those who work to create the team. Collectively they are THE Story.

Go where your fans are.

Sit in their section. Eat, drink and be merry with them in their section. It’s their team. Help them celebrate it or provide temporary counseling.

Bring them home.

Bring the fans in the stand into the clubhouse, the owner’s suite, even the dugout. Yes. That’s right. The power of social media is found in the personal, 1-to-1 connections, made possible by its reach. These personal connections serve as sound baffles that serve to negate the out-of-phase sound waves from the rear of the loudspeaker or detractors.

Bring the team home. What if...players, coaches, yes, even executives went to the homes of their fans?

What kind of interest, buzz, and loyalty would be found if the Cleveland Indians invited fans to the owner’s suite? Or let them sit in the dugout during an inning or two? Risky? Sure. They might spill their drink. But, the fans would forgive them.

Or the owner of the Cleveland Indians visited the home of their fans, watched the game from either their seats or their living room? Ok, maybe not the owner. What about team members, maybe the ones on DL.

Talk about offering content to share in generating word-of-mouth? A game with the owner? An inning in the dugout? Priceless. Seriously.

Combine all their stories onto a site, with a page each for each game/inning/fan - story you create.

Give them resources.

Why limit wi-fi access to one area of the stadium? If an individual can buy a wi-fi hub for their home, can’t you buy a wi-fi or two hundred with the help of a sponsor like say...Sprint, or Verizon?

Would FLIP partner with you and give away a few cameras? And then share the images together on a single site?

Twitter. Create a page and hashtag for your fans to live tweet a game. Host them on a single page for each game. See Customers and staff of BestBuy, together on one site tweeting with each other. Why not let fans and members of the organization do the same?

Facebook. Ok. You’re there. 150,000 fans. Great. Now what?

Give them a memory. Aka, give them a team. Ever team rebuilds. Some rebuild quickly. Remember...1 year into a rebuilding program means a year out of a rebuilding program.

I’m not a fan of baseball. And this is but a quick list of ideas.  But I could be a fan of a community doing things like this. And in that community would come:

1. More ideas
2. More resources to execute those ideas.
3. Excitement, conversation, and ticket sales.

I'm willing to bet there are a lot of Indians fans wanting to help their team if they are asked. Ask them.
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