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With the increase in online surveys many companies now choose to conduct their own survey research instead of commissioning a third party agency. Data collection tools like Survey Monkey and Ask Your Target Market make this a very cost effective activity by offering easy to use survey design options, help finding respondents and basic analysis of the results.

However, I find it is very difficult for these DIY survey companies to provide detailed analysis of the findings using an automated system. Once your survey is closed you can typically take a look at the high level results and download some very dubious looking charts. Although this may deliver a few top line stats it does not generate the insight required to make sense of the results and implement changes across the organisation.   

Here is my three step guide to help you maximise insight from your market research surveys. 

#1 Think about the analysis when designing your survey

I see lots of questionnaires designed which cover some really interesting topics – but the way the questions are asked often means there is little information to get out of it. Ask yourself ‘What is this going to tell me?’, ‘What decisions can we make off the back of this survey?’, ‘Will we be confident in the results?’.

Consider a range of questioning techniques, not just multiple choice answer options. Likert & rating scale questions work well for comparing survey attributes and drag & drop questions can help get a sense of importance. Open-ended questions can also add depth and meaning to quantitative results.

Also use a sample size calculators to work out the margin of error your results might have.

#2 Familiarise yourself with key market research analysis techniques

Tables and crosstabulations – these compare how different groups of respondents answered the same question. Make sure you include a handful of demographic questions to allow you to conduct this sub group analysis. Look out for significant differences in the results and make sure these are included in the final report.

Key driver analysis – allows you to identify the most important drivers of a particular attribute (i.e. customer satisfaction). Make sure you include a bank of likert scale statements to use as the independent variables. These are typically key touchpoints in the customer experience and covering areas to do with price, service and brand. Once you identify the 2 or 3 most important touchpoints in your business you can prioritise these for action.

Segmentation (cluster analysis) – identifies distinct groups of respondents based on their shared attitudes, behaviours and demographics. When it comes to marketing there is no one size fits all approach so this technique allows for a more targeted approach to engaging your customers.

Text analytics – traditionally open-text comments from survey questions have been coded manually. If your survey has more than 1,000 respondents I would recommend using automated text analytics. This allows comments to be classified into themes using word counts and word association.  It also calculates the sentiment associated with each comment – i.e. how positively or negatively each theme was talked about. The comments can be further analysed at a sub group level i.e. comparing the comments of males vs. females.

#3 Consult a survey analysis professional

Although it is possible to save money at the front end (survey design & distribution) I strongly recommend assigning some budget to commission a survey analysis professional to manage the insight-generation process. Based on the questions asked in the survey and the number of respondents they will be able to recommend the most appropriate analysis techniques to get the most out of your survey. This can typically cost as little as £500 so is a worthwhile investment.



The only reason to conduct a survey is to take action. The information alone is nice to have but the results need to be implemented to keep you ahead of the game.



For more information about survey analysis please contact:-

Scott Owens CMRS Dip (MRS) BA (Hons)

Owner/Managing Director

Robust Insight Limited

Regent's Court, Princess Street, Hull, HU2 8BA

Website: www.robust-insight.co.uk

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 01469 640558

Mob: 07825 269235

Skype ID: scott1895