For many years, surveys have been a quick and efficient way of understanding a target market and generating data that sheds lights on the current state of affairs. Having recently attending a Censuswide webinar on the best way to conduct a survey, it got me thinking about how relevant the modern survey is and how it can effectively be used as part of a campaign?
Consumer surveys, business surveys, C-level surveys – you name it, there’s a survey for it. These are effective ways to generate coverage in your target media and start wider conversations with journalists around the industry issue raised.
There are also plenty of good survey houses out there, such as Censuswide and Vanson Bourne, that can help you finesse your questions and assist with pulling out the most exciting facts from your research.
However, the traditional survey of 1,000 consumers just doesn’t cut it with the press anymore. You now need 2,000 consumers, minimum, to get a journalist’s attention, and even that sample size can be too thin. For example, what if you did a survey on UK consumers and your results showed that there was a particular prevalence for something in the South East of England? With a sample size of 2,000 respondents, you’re only looking at roughly 300 people in the South East at most, out of a total population of 9.1 million - not even 0.01 per cent of the population.
Of course, you increase the number of respondents to 5,000 consumers, 10,000 consumers, or perhaps even more, but not everyone has the budget to allow them to launch a survey on such a scale.
Are surveys and consumer research becoming extinct?
The short answer is no.
While a little overdone, surveys still have a place in the journalist landscape and, as previously mentioned, are a great way of understanding the landscape of a particular topic or industry. However, companies need to get better at identifying and using the data they have at their disposal.
At Resonance, we believe the more data you can use to tell your story, the better. Like with all industries that are undergoing business transformation, the more data you have and can analyse, the better insights and results you can deliver.
Rather than settling for the bare minimum, there’s a number of different options that businesses can look to in order to obtain larger data quantities which are bound to pique the interest of journalists.
The research of the future
Firstly, look to your own business data. Whether that’s a customer satisfaction survey you did, or a technology awareness questionnaire, businesses accumulate large quantities of data all the time. Using this information can provide a cheaper alternative to surveys, and can prove more successful, as it’s a great demonstration of owned data and your data analysis prowess.
Another option is to look at the data that is publicly available. There’s a wide range of public datasets that businesses can look at – or request through Freedom of Information Act applications – and use to their advantage, they just need to identify the opportunities and work out why the dataset can help them tell their story.
One good example of this is Resonance’s work NHS Digital’s prescription data. Resonance used the Exasol analytic database to analyse millions of rows of data to work out where different prescriptions were being given out across the country, and we created a heatmap to demonstrate hotspots where antibiotic prescribing was highest. Not only did this enable us to secure a number of national hits for our client, but it helped drive real MQLs and generate multiple leads!
At the end of the day, journalists still like a good statistic to add into their articles, but the standards are changing. Journalists aren’t going to be impressed with a standard survey they’ve seen a hundred times before. The more data points you can collect and analyse, and the more unique insight you can bring, the greater chance you have to secure the coveted top-tier articles that you’re seeking.
Find out how Resonance can help you make your data work harder with one of our data PR campaigns here.